Mint Condition

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Quick question! What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mine?

Mint + Chip.

Why?

‘Cause it’s double the coolness factor. Frozen in temperature and cooling in flavor. It’s next-level sensory overload. All of your senses are tested:

You SEE the bright green color
You SMELL that crisp scent of mint
You FEEL that cold, refreshing cream melt in your mouth as you bite into those chocolate chunks
You TASTE that creamy delicious mint packed with that bittersweet chocolate

And well, HEAR? If you’ve ever sat next to me while enjoying said ice cream (or pretty much any food I thoroughly enjoy), you’re sure to hear lots of “MMM” sounds. Sorry not sorry.

This year we started a garden on our balcony. It’s taken off and has done considerably well. Even with the sudden drop and rise of temperatures all summer long, most of our plants have been pretty happy. Our mint plant, which we originally planted next to thyme and lavender, took off immediately and spread throughout the entire planter within a week! That was an amateur mistake on my own part ’cause I knew that mint likes to take over EVERYTHING. And she did. So we uprooted her and placed her in her own good-sized planter where she was able to stretch and relax without bothering her next-door neighbors.

Having an abundance of mint isn’t a bad thing, either. I decided to harvest a few bunches and steep them into heavy cream as a base for this amazing ice cream recipe I found through David Lebovitz’ book, The Perfect Scoop.

The recipe was originally written for a Chocolate Malt Ice Cream flavor, so I made some adjustments to the recipe, and omitted the cocoa powder, replacing it with a snack-sized box of crushed Whoppers candy and chocolate sandwich cookies like OREO’S. I also added more heavy cream (using one of my local favorites from Sunshine Dairy). The resulting flavor is intensely rich, creamy and so silky smooth. Try it.

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Malted Mint Whopper Cookie Ice Cream
Yields 1 quart
Recipe via The Perfect Scoop

INGREDIENTS
3 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup malted milk powder

METHOD
Heat 1.5 cups heavy cream with the mint in a medium-sized saucepan. Once brought to a boil, whisk vigorously and lower heat to a low simmer, continuing to whisk. Remove pan from the heat and strain into a large bowl the rest of the heavy cream into a large bowl, combining the steeped minty cream together.

Gently warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the yolks and temper the eggs by slowly adding the warmed milk to the  yolks, continuously whisking and scraping the now tempered egg yolk/milk mixture back in the pan.

Using a rubber spatula continue to stir and scrape the combined mixture over medium heat, making sure not to “cook” or “curdle” the eggs. Once the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spatula, immediately remove from the heat and pour through a strainer and into a shallow pan or bowl. Add the vanilla extract and malt powder. Cool the mixture by placing it into the refrigerator till chilled, overnight is preferred.

Once ready to churn, operate your ice cream maker and add the crushed Whopper candy and cookies toward the last five minutes of the churning process. Place the ice cream in the freezer to further freeze. Enjoy! (Or have a quick milkshake. Your call.)

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Sprinkle Me

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Suga suga…

Cookies and ice cream are probably the best pairing next to cheese and wine. My favorite store-bought cookie as a child were the Mother’s Circus Animal Cookie Parade. I’d dig through the bag and just eat the frosted- and sprinkle-clad, buttery shortbread cookies, discarding the rest. For A Streetcar Named Devour’s 4th Birthday (GASP! It’s already been 4 years?!) I wanted to create a spin on an old-school favorite and make an ice cream that tasted like those pretty pink-and-white cookies.

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This recipe includes real frosted vanilla cake bites (leftover birthday cake cut into bite-sized pieces) with a great vanilla ice cream base recipe from David Lebovitz’ must-have book, The Perfect Scoop, and, of course, sprinkles. And lots of ‘em.
Happy Birthday, Streetcar!

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Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Yields: About 1 quart
Adapted slightly from The Perfect Scoop

INGREDIENTS
1 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups leftover cake, cut into bite-size pieces and frozen thoroughly** (If you don’t have any leftover cake on hand, go to the bakery section of your local grocery store and you’re sure to find birthday cupcakes and small cakes available.)
1/4 cup Jimmy sprinkles

METHOD
Heat the milk, salt, and sugar into a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for about 1 hour.

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, frozen cake bites, and sprinkles. Refrigerate overnight to chill thoroughly.

**Cook’s note: It’s important to freeze your cake pieces beforehand, so that the pieces don’t soften once incorporated into the ice cream base. I like to first freeze the cake slices (and securely wrap them in plastic wrap) for about 3 hours, then cut them into the bite-size pieces, then return them to the freezer (again wrapped in plastic) before adding to the ice cream. 

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