I’m so excited to share this post with you because this one’s a special collaboration with a fellow gardener and food blogger: the talented Sofia of From The Land We Live On. I’ve been admiring Sofia’s gorgeous food and gardening photography for quite sometime and I had the idea at the back of my mind that it would be fun to feature her in one of my videos. I was so thrilled when she agreed to join forces on this one! We spent a delightful day together: she made decadent mint and chocolate ice cream with freshly harvested mint from her garden (with the help of a very keen little helper as you’ll notice in the video!) and I filmed the whole wonderful adventure.
Sofia’s mint and chocolate ice cream is truly exquisite! Rich and balmy, the freshness of the mint lingers on the tastebuds. It was very hard to hold myself back from eating all the ice cream until after I was done shooting the photos and video.
Aside from the fact that it’s absolutely over-the-top delicious, there are a few very specific things I love about this recipe. First, it uses both white and dark chocolates, and really, why restrict yourself to only one type chocolate when you can have two?!
Second, using fresh mint instead of mint extract makes all the difference in the world. I did a side-by-side taste test of mint chocolate ice cream made with extract and it was not nearly as vibrantly aromatic as using fresh garden mint. Sofia grows several different varieties of mint in her garden and she used spearmint for this recipe. I recommend sticking to that if it’s available to you.
A third reason to love this recipe is that because white chocolate is used in the body of the ice cream, there’s no additional sugar required and as a result, the ice cream is not overly sweet.
Finally, I was intrigued by the idea of using tapioca starch instead of the standard egg yolks and I was impressed with the results. Sofia did a test of the recipe using egg yolks so we could sample both versions and compare. The results were surprising! Although generally speaking, I’m all for yolks in ice cream, the tapioca version was much better. In the egg yolk version the mint aroma was muted somewhat, whereas in the tapioca version it really sparkled with its full minty potential. The tapioca version was also lighter in body, and had a lovely pale green hue from the mint leaves, whereas the egg yolk ice cream was a more yellowish color and felt heavier. So although I wouldn’t use it for every ice cream type, tapioca is a lovely option for more delicate, herbal ice creams such as this one, and a good trick to have up your sleeves if you make you own ice cream! (You can always use cornstarch instead of tapioca, if necessary).
Fresh Mint and Chocolate Ice Cream
This dessert uses white and dark chocolates as well as fresh mint instead of mint extract. (Recipe Credit: Sofia Eydelman of From The Land We Live On)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves (spearmint is best), removed from their stem (about 2.8 oz)
- 4 tsp. tapioca starch
- 8oz white chocolate, finely chopped
- 2oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- Warm up the milk and cream in a medium pot. Add the mint leaves, push them down to submerge them, and let the mixture steep for about an hour.
- Strain the mint-infused mixture over a large pot and remove 1/4 cup of the mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine the tapioca starch with the reserved 1/4 cup of liquid, set aside.
- Place the chopped white chocolate into a medium bowl and set a fine-mesh strainer on top.
- Bring the pot of milk and cream up to a boil and let it roll for a few minutes, whisking constantly so that it doesn’t boil over.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the tapioca starch slurry to the hot milk/cream and continue cooking and whisking, to thicken the mixture.
- Pour it over the white chocolate, through the strainer, and whisk until the chocolate is fully melted.
- Cool the mixture over an ice bath or in the fridge until fully chilled, then process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the churning is complete, stir in the chopped dark chocolate, transfer to a container, and freeze until set.
Yield: 6 servings
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards for Best Video Webcast (On Location). In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.