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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Backyard Mint Ice Cream Cooking View

Guys, this is big news. And by big, I mean actually utterly unimportant to anyone but me.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you may be aware of my lifelong dislike for mint. As a kid (and still as an adult), I found practically every dessert or sweet combining mint and chocolate to be pretty offensive.  Similar to nuts mixed into a brownie or chocolate chip cookie (WHY?!)  Mint ice cream in particular just seemed wrong to me.

Despite these strong feelings, I have grown mint in my garden for many years because I do enjoy the smell of fresh mint. Once or twice I added it to a pitcher of citrus water for a party and found it to be tolerable and maybe even nice. Then I realized mojitos are actually pretty awesome, and that was when I realized that no, I don’t dislike all mint. I dislike the artificial flavor that masquerades as “mint” in so many desserts and candies.  Suddenly it became clear – mint ice cream made with the fresh herb straight from the garden is a completely different thing.  I decided to give it a try and you know what? It’s kind of incredible.

The sweet cream base with the bright herbal notes of the mint is a winning combination.  Ben looked at me as if I had grown a third head when I explained that I was not adding chocolate to the ice cream, at least not this time. I wanted to try it in its pure form before going there.  I like it so much that I find it hard to imagine adding chocolate, and it surprises me to think that I will most definitely make this again and again. If you have this unstoppable, hardy weed-like herb growing at your place, I highly recommend giving this a try!

Backyard Mint Ice Cream
Yield: about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1½ oz. (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
  • A large handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly torn*
Cooking View

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons of the milk, the cream, salt, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the pan to the heat and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the cream cheese until smooth.

  • Transfer the mixture to a container with the torn mint leaves. Chill thoroughly on an ice bath or in the refrigerator. Let the mint leaves steep 4-12 hours.

  • Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the mint leaves. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a storage container and freeze until ready to serve.

  • *Use whatever variety of mint you prefer. I think mine is a type of spearmint, though I’m not completely sure. Peppermint would also be good, or you can play around with other fresh herbs as well.

Source

  • Amanda

    I know you’re a David Lebowitz fan. Did you ever make his Fresh Mint Ice Cream? I’m curious how they compare. My husband is a mint lover and really liked that one. I may have to try this one, too!

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    we’ve made this one before and I was definitely a fan – unfortunately my husband prefers the artificial mint extract flavor :)

  • atlmichelle

    So glad you overcame your dislike for mint. I’m right there with you with fake versus the real flavor of mint. Mojitos are my favorite! It also applies to strawberry for me. I can’t stand the fake strawberry flavor in many products.

  • http://www.acouplecooks.com Alex

    Well, this is perfect :)

  • annieseats

    I haven’t made his. I’m tending to prefer Jeni’s method these days, so I doubt I will. I think the bit of cream cheese in her ice cream base goes especially nicely with the herbal tones of the mint here.

  • jaye

    Do you use the ice maker attachment to the kitchen aid mixer? I am planning on buying an ice cream maker but want one that works quickly and is not too big when I need to store it. Thanks

  • Angela

    Welcome to the mint side. Bwahahaha!

  • Tracy

    I actually love mint, I cant wait to try this!

  • annieseats

    Yes, and I love it. You can always check the Annie’s equipment section in the sidebar to see what items I’m using. Here’s a link if you need: http://astore.amazon.com/annseat-20/detail/B0002IES80

  • JoAnne Jenkins

    A large handful of mint – is that one handful, or both hands? Tiny girl hands or big guy hands? Packed or loose? Arrgh – my ocd is out of control!

  • annieseats

    Haha! Don’t over think it – I think it would be hard to mess this up. I pulled a few decent sprigs – probably 3 or 4, and used all the leaves from those which was a handful for my (small) hand.

  • http://livingthegourmet.blogspot.com/ Lady Gourmet

    Thank sounds absolutely wonderful; so much better than store bought. Blessings, Catherine.

  • Stephanie

    Making this next! I made your pina colada ice cream the other day to rave reviews! Thanks for always being my go-to spot. :)

  • Francesca @ Love.Bake.Read

    Fresh mint ice cream is fabulous! I agree with Ben on the whole chocolate bit. Burst of mint, deep rich flavor of chocolate. I think you can tell I loved the artificial mint chocolate chip ice cream as a kid. :)

  • Katie King

    My favorite ice cream is peppermint, so this is totally up my alley! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes – I’ve been reading your blog for probably 3-4 years but almost never comment.

  • thechimes

    ahhh so now i can use all that damn mint that keeps choking out my other plants. :)

  • annieseats

    Yes indeed!

  • annieseats

    Well, I’m glad you decided to comment today :) Thanks for being such a loyal reader! It is much appreciated.

  • Angie Frazzini Gazdziak

    Annie likes mint??? Everything I know is a lie!! :-)

  • annieseats

    I know, right?! Who am I?

  • Elizabeth from Indy

    My mouth dropped open when I saw that you posted a recipe for mint ice cream! I emailed you years ago about a recipe for it and you kindly replied with some suggestions of other places to look as you were not a fan. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try! Welcome to the minty side of life! :) BTW…I’m that way with bananas….love real bananas, HATE fake banana flavoring.

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I do remember your disdain for mint! Mostly because the.boy is a chocolate+mint addict so I’m always looking for recipes to pawn off on him and you mentioned in one of yours that you don’t particularly care for the combo. But if this ice cream won even you over then it must be a winner. Also, it’s Jeni’s. So it has to be superb.

  • Suzannah

    Thank you for this! I’ve been looking for recipes to use up my bumper crop of mint, but I mean, how many mojitos can you really drink? (Don’t answer that.) The other ice cream recipes I’ve seen have used a custard base, which intimidates me. I’m adding some dark chocolate and really looking forward to this!

  • Jess @ Floptimism

    I was the same way with mint-chocolate until I went to a really wonderful restaurant that made fresh mint ice cream (from the mint in their garden) and served it over a thin homemade brownie. It was the first time I realized that chocolate-mint was not only bearable, but actually really delicious! It’s all the artificial stuff that I can’t handle. I’ll have to bookmark this recipe and try it for myself sometime.

  • tara

    Here in ohio we have chocolate mint and pineapple mint. I bet both would also be great in this ice cream!

  • Rosanna

    I share your hatred of mint and chocolate. Why ruin a good dessert? However, I do love mojitos and I’ve had mint sorbet that was pretty refreshing, so I might have to try making this. But, I won’t be adding chocolate. My husband will also shake his head in disbelief.

  • Zella

    I know this will sound crazy… but have you thought about trying to make a basil ice cream? A local ice cream shop in my area (Santa Cruz, CA) called the Penny Ice Creamery makes a basil ice cream that a friend convinced me to try. It is incredibly delicious! Similar to the freshness of mint, but even better. Maybe worth trying at home since you probably have tons of fresh basil in the garden now!

  • annieseats

    Not crazy at all! This recipe would work perfectly for that, just replacing the mint with the basil. I am not sure I would make it unless I had a sundae in mind because, though I’m sure it would be good, I’m not sure I would want to eat that much basil ice cream. But, I’m thinking you could make some pretty fab combos with it.