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Mint Chip Ice Cream | Happy Birthday Roy!

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HI! Ohmygah does it feel like it’s been a while. This weekend we celebrated Roy’s 25th birthday with dinner, a movie on our new and rather unnecessary 4K tv (!), bowling, party hats, ice cream cake and banana pancakes because I’ve always wanted to live a morning like Jack Johnson.

Oh, and can I also talk a bit about this thing that happened called a champagne shower–wait and I’m really not talking about the LMFAO song but I guess I kind of am? We frequent a KBBQ spot in Little Tokyo called Manna, which gives you the option to be sprayed with a few bottles of champagne on your birthday. We’ve seen countless people do this over the years and always joked about it ourselves but somehow a chain of events led to him and two of his friends sitting in the middle of the restaurant, holding a candle stuck in a piece of jello, and getting drenched in champagne while “Happy Birthday” blasted loudly in the background. Everyone in the restaurant stares and laughs at you. Everyone. But hey, I guess now Roy can check that off his list!

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Now, on to the thing that’s been taking over my food life in the past few weeks! Ice cream!!!! P.s. I didn’t even realize yesterday was National Ice Cream Day so is this great timing or what. Ok I’m going to start by saying that 1) this mint chip ice cream is quite possibly one of the best mint chip ice creams ever and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you guys but b) this ice cream cake was rather no bueno (we’ll get to that in a little).

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But super super seriously, I was so wow’d by this ice cream. Please do not look down on the ice cream after I said the ice cream cake was a fail because this ice cream is AMAZING. I did a lot of research prior to choosing a recipe, trying to decide between a mint chip flavored with extract or mint leaf. Everyone had a different opinion. Some people thought going the natural route produced an ice cream with a weaker mint flavor and an unpleasant grassiness. I read another article from someone who couldn’t stand the extract method. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed extract mint chip and the one time I tried the herb version, I was not a fan. But to be honest, this stuff right here is a game changer. It’s got that freshness to it that you can’t find with an extract, but keeps all the mint flavor we love about mint chip ice cream. I mean, I did steep just about two giant bundles of mint leaves! It’s sure gonna taste like mint. The ice cream even turns out a very pale green color too from the leaves! Which can of course be brightened with a little blue food coloring if you want.

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So, about turning this awesome mint chip ice cream into a cake… It didn’t go very well. The ice cream started to melt and the oreo crust was way too thick, but Roy was the best sport and said he loved it anyways and it made me feel a bit better about the whole fiasco 🙂 but that’s mainly the reason why I’m only sharing the ice cream recipe! Maybe I’ll figure out the whole ice cream thing in the future, but for now I’ll be sticking to ice cream and cake, served separately.

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One of Roy’s favorite parts about his birthday weekend was dinner at Chi Spacca. I don’t even know where to begin with telling you how amazing the food here was. Do the pictures help??? It’s a small sister restaurant to Mozza, and caters to all the meat lovers out there, which is definitely Roy. We ate affettati misti (basically Italian lunch meats–BUT SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT), a salad with the most delicious tomatoes I have ever tasted, lamb ribs, and a whole chicken. Plus a cherry crostata and melon and cantaloupe gelato. Oh man.

What stood out for me was their not-so-typical foccacia bread. Our waitress told us that one of their chefs, Nancy Silverton, tried this specific type of foccacia bread in Italy years ago. She came back to the states and tried to recreate it but couldn’t get the recipe just right. She took two more trips back to Italy, and learned how to perfect the foccacia with help from the little restaurant below her hotel. And holy moly is this thing sure perfection. It’s flakey and buttery like a pie crust but also reminiscent of a thin crust pizza with all the cheese that oozes out of it. I don’t even think I’m doing it justice with this description. Just, if you ever get the chance to eat here you really, really need to!!!

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It’s summertime and I’ve probably complained about the heat way too many times and all I can seem to daydream about is how amazing it would be to travel to a foreign country and learn how to cook new foods from the people who have been doing it for generations. I watched It’s Complicated for the first time (yeah, I know–WHAT???) and fell in love with Meryl Streep’s movie house and oh how I want to make lavender ice cream but I’m getting a little worried that I’ve already made you guys (and Roy) sick of ice cream already. But… we’ll see!

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Mint Chip Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Mint Chip Ice Cream
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups (80g) fresh mint leaves, packed
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup chocolate, chips or chopped, 60% cacao
1 tbsp canola oil, or any unflavored oil

1. In a saucepan, warm 1 cup of the heavy cream, milk, sugar, salt, and mint leaves. Heat until the mixture is hot and steam begins to rise from the liquid. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for an hour to infuse the mint flavor from the leaves.
2. Strain the mint infused liquid into a bowl, separating the leaves. Use a spatula or clean hands to squeeze out any excess liquid from the leaves, then discard them.
3. In a large bowl, pour the remaining cup of heavy cream and place the strainer on top. Set aside.
4. Heat the mint infused milk again in the previous saucepan. In the meantime, whisk the egg yolks together. After the mint milk has been warmed, temper the egg yolks by adding a small amount of the warm milk to the eggs, making sure to whisk constantly. Whisk in the rest of the warm milk in small additions. Then pour the liquid back into the saucepan.
5. Cook the custard on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from curdling. The custard has thickened when it coats the back of a spoon and running your finger down the spoon creates an open channel. This should happen around 170°F/77°C.
6. Strain the hot custard into the large bowl with the remaining heavy cream. Stir to combine, then cool down the mixture over an ice bath until it reaches room temperature.
7. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the liquid, and refrigerate overnight.
8. The next day, transfer the cold custard to your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. I use the Cuisinart one, which takes about 20 minutes.
9. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or at 30 second intervals in the microwave. Make sure to stir the chocolate between each round in the microwave! Add in the canola oil and combine. Set aside.
10. When the ice cream is almost done churning, drizzle in spoonfuls of the chocolate. You can use a rubber spatula to break up any large chunks of the chocolate. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to use.

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About Courtney C.

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  • david lebovitz recipes are always great (: the last time i saw so much mint was when i tried the often raved about (at least in my circle) philz mint mojito coffee, and the cup was at least half filled with mint leaves (but coffee and mint already is too funky for me). needless to say, this mint app sounds so much better!

    • This is actually one of my first times trying a recipe of his and I’m getting more and more sold by the spoonful! I’m not a huge fan of either coffees or mojitos (it does sound a bit funky!) but who knows, maybe I might enjoy that too!

  • Oh what I missed ice cream day! I love mint choc chip ice cream and this one looks amazing and by the sounds of it tasted pretty awesome too. I really need to get an ice cream machine soo bad. I think the oreo crust looks pretty great too actually,

    • I just about missed it too! I don’t know how everyone stays so on top of food holidays. And you must, Rebecca! It’s one of my most used kitchen investments and ice cream is so easy to make. And thank you!!!

  • I don’t know…your cake looks pretty magical to me!! I mean, who can resist an Oreo crust with homemade mint chip ice cream like that?? Especially because you used real mint leaves to get that mint flavor…wow! I mean, obviously I have not tasted this, but I’m trusting you and Roy on this because as they say, a picture says 1,000 words…and this one’s telling me that it’s a good thing I’m not there or else that cake would be allll gone!! 🙂 Happy happy birthday to Roy!

    P.S. I totally want to go to that restaurant…the food looks and sounds amazing!!

    • Thank you, Beeta!! Haha, I mean it photographed perfectly fine but I made the crust too thick so it sort of overwhelmed the ice cream. Oh well, now I know! But this ice cream tho… You can definitely trust us on this one 🙂 and Chi Spacca is amazing, if you’re ever in LA, do it do it!

  • Wow champagne shower? I guess that is a thing? lol sounds fun! This looks like the perfect summer birthday cake 😀

  • Happy birthday to roy! That restaurant looks amazing!! Oh my gosh, maybe one of these days when I move to Cali.

    I looked it up and it mentioned Mario Batali so that makes sense, haha.

    As I said on insta, honestly that cake looks heavenly! I get the struggle though. Actually, it’s interesting because there’s a vegan ice cream shop in Boston that makes ice cream cakes (I’m lactose intolerant), and their ice cream cake is good but their ice cream is always like, rock hard. They use coconut milk so that’s probably why, but that’s basically why their ice cream never melts in the cake, by not having heavy cream, etc.. Although, I guess it’s a preference thing because some people might like theirs meltier. I feel like somewhere in between this ice cream cake and the one in Boston is the perfect one!

    Either way, I love that you used mint leaves for this!

    • Right! His cookbooks were also everywhere so I probably should’ve figured that out sooner… Oh no! I’ve tried making dairy-free ice cream before and it was actually quite good! Lmk if you have any great recipes!

  • This is a perfect summertime birthday cake. I would be happy if someone took the time to make this for me. It looks delicious!

  • Too bad the cake did not turn out well, cause it looks absolutely wonderful in the pictures. Regardless, the ice cream sounds so delicious on its own, especially with that fresh mint! Might have to make a batch of this for an office birthday soon!

    • Hi Felicia! I highly highly recommend it!!!

  • birthdays are THE BEST, and I love celebrating them with extra big splurges on food! looks like you showed Roy a really special day, and that mint ice cream is to die! def saving for future use/pinned 🙂 x

    • Thanks, Christine! Birthdays must be celebrated with food splurges in my book too!

  • Beautiful pictures as always Courtney! The cake looks spectacular, even if the crust didn’t quite work out. I love this mint ice cream recipe, I have something this week inspired by it as well 🙂

    • Aw thanks, Maya! Ah I’ll have to take a look!!!!

  • wow , that minty ice cream looks wonderful. Roy must have been so pleased!! Happy birthday!
    mine is coming soon if you need to practice something else :0

    • Hehe hi Emanuele! Guess I need to pop my ice cream container back into the freezer! 🙂

  • Happy birthday to Roy! The idea of a champagne shower actually sounds amazing, so, now I have a new bucket list item, thanks!

    Also, this ice cream looks fantastic. Like, I need it. I’m glad you managed to use natural mint successfully. I’ve never made mint chocolate chip ice cream but when I do I’ll want to use fresh mint.

    You photography in that restaurant is incredible! I mean, all of your photos are insanely beautiful but I know how much harder it can be in a restaurant with weird lighting and people staring at you. But those photos are amazing. Like, damn. DAMN.

    • Yes!! Definitely go with the fresh mint it’s to die for. Aw thank you! Luckily our reservation was at 6, and right when the restaurant opened, so I had a good hour or so of unembarrassing photo time hehe.

  • Love your honesty!