One of the hallmarks of home cooking is a resistance to cutting corners, which really resonates with me. If I am going through the trouble to make something, I want to make the best possible rendition of it. That applies to an even greater extent if I haul out my ice cream maker.
If you’ve never had a mint ice cream made with real mint before, you’ve missed out. I can’t even necessarily describe it as the same thing — it’s like the difference between real grapes and artificial grape flavoring. Both can (sometimes) be good, but there is no substitute for the original article.
I started making a full sugar version of this recipe a few years back after a tiny mint plant I purchased at the grocery store turned into an entire whiskey barrel of the best mint I’ve ever tasted.
A man can only drink so many mojitos without drawing a disapproving eye from his wife, so I took to the internet to find some recipes that required prodigious amounts of mint. As it so often is, ice cream was the solution, and especially timely solution at that since my bride is something of a mint chocolate chip ice cream aficionado.
Since I am always excited about ways of ensuring my job security, I started to research and ran across several mint chocolate chip ice cream recipes. Cobbling together pieces of their respective methods with my own ice cream base to arrive at something that met with my wife’s approval. Resume mojito consumption.
The xanthan gum in this recipe is there to stabilize the mix and supress ice crystal formation, so don’t omit it unless you want a mint-flavored rock. In a full sugar ice cream, I would use a mix of white sugar and corn syrup to disrupt ice crystal formation and yield a smooth, scoopable mix. Most commercial cream cheeses use stabilizers as well (usually guar or carob bean gum), so we are also getting some help from that along with the xanthan gum.
Make sure you move the ice cream to the refrigerator at least 15-30 minutes before serving it. Even with the xanthan gum, it will lock up harder in the freezer a lot harder than normal ice cream will — a common problem with low carb ice creams. It may take even longer, but don’t worry, it will eventually soften up.
Mint Chocolate Chip Keto Ice Cream
Bring the milk and cream to a bare simmer over medium heat and add the mint. (Remember to use a pot big enough for the mint!) Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let steep for an hour.
Strain the mint and add the minty cream/milk mixture back to the pot. Add the sweetener and salt and mix thoroughly to dissolve. Some sweeteners have a reputation as being slow to dissolve, so be patient.
Microwave the cream cheese in a bowl big enough for all your mix at short intervals to soften it. Add the mix to the bowl and dissolve the softened cream cheese into the mix.
Using a salt shaker to ensure even dispersal, add the xanthan gum to the hot mix, stirring as you go.
Chill the mix thoroughly in the refrigerator -- overnight is best.
Add the mix to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the mix is still just barely turning, add the dark chocolate chips. Incorporate them into the mix then stop the ice cream maker.
Remove the soft-frozen ice cream from the ice cream churn and place into a container. Freeze until firm.
As I discussed in the body of the post, don't skip the xanthan gum. It is what makes this recipe work at all. Be precise measuring it, it's really powerful and is easy to over-do.
Remember the mint is measured by mass with a kitchen scale. It's a lot and you're going to think there's no possible way this uses that much mint, but I assure you that it is correct and necessary. You'll thank me.
Remove the ice cream from the freezer at least 15-30 minutes before you intend to serve. How long it takes to soften up will depend a lot on the size of your container, how cold your freezer is, and how cold your refrigerator is. I freeze my ice cream in paper pint containers partially for this reason.
As a "lazy keto'er", I don't stress about dark chocolate. If you want to reduce your sugar even further, I recommend Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips.