On grey Seattle days that have all of us clutching coffee cups and donning rain jackets, it's easy to forget that we've already enjoyed a good taste of summer in the city this spring. This month started out as one of the driest and warmest on record, with multiple days stretching well into the 80’s, enough for a few of us to achieve our first sunburns of the year. Here at Theo, we’re dreaming of the sunny months ahead and all the joys that come with the blue skies of summer, not the least of which is, of course, ice cream.
If you own an ice cream maker, you already know that making ice cream at home is simple, satisfying, and tastier than anything you can buy. It doesn’t get any fresher than licking it, soft and melting, straight out of the bowl the second it’s ready (or maybe even a bit sooner). If you have the desire and the time, you can even make ice cream without a machine (see below).
To help inspire your summer ice cream endeavors, we’re sharing an easy and delectable recipe celebrating mint. With its refreshing flavor and abundance in our gardens, mint is an ideal partner for homemade ice cream.
To make mint chocolate stracciatella, we used the same combination of mint found in our 70% dark mint bar: spearmint and peppermint. Spearmint, recognizable by its large, bright, lime-colored leaves, is the variety most commonly found in backyard gardens. Its flavor is somewhat grassy and herbal. Peppermint, with its small, purplish leaves, is less abundant but has the refreshing, nostalgic flavor of a candy cane or peppermint patty. If you don’t have access to fresh peppermint, you can certainly make this ice cream with spearmint alone, but the flavor won't be as vibrant or complex.
What’s mint ice cream without chocolate? We finish this recipe by drizzling a melted Theo 70% dark chocolate bar into the batch at the end of churning. The chocolate freezes on contact with the ice cream and is broken into small pieces by the machine or by hand-stirring. This results in crispy little chocolate bits scattered throughout the ice cream, a delightful texture the Italians call stracciatella. We think you'll agree that the result is far superior to any mint chocolate chip you can buy.
Make, share, and enjoy in the sun, if at all possible!
Mint Chocolate Stracciatella
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped spearmint leaves
1-2 tbs finely chopped peppermint leaves
3 oz (one bar) Theo 70% dark chocolate, melted
Combine milk, one cup of cream, and sugar in a pot and bring to a bare simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add mint leaves, cover the pot, and steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining cup of cream into a bowl and set in an ice bath (either in a larger bowl or the kitchen sink). After 30 minutes, pour the mint mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into the remaining cup of cream in the ice bath. Press the mint solids to release as much flavor as possible.
Stir over the ice bath until cold, then cover and store in the fridge for at least several hours or overnight.
When ready to churn, you have two options:
1. Pour the base mixture into an ice cream machine and process until it is the texture of soft serve, drizzling in chocolate at the end and allowing the machine to stir until well distributed (Depending on your machine, you may need to stop churning occasionally and help distribute the chocolate by hand if it is not mixing properly).
2. Place the ice cream base in the freezer, removing every 30 minutes or so to whisk vigorously, making sure to scrape the frozen ice cream around the edge of the bowl into the liquid mixture in the middle. Continue this process until the ice cream is the texture of soft serve throughout, about 3 hours. When the ice cream is ready, drizzle in the melted chocolate and stir to incorporate, returning to the freezer to set.
Your mint chocolate stracciatella can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the freezer to harden.