Liv, my second oldest, is a very special little girl. She sees more than I can imagine; the smallest details, the deepest feelings, the inner workings of life. She's very interested in plants, especially herbs, and helps tend to our plants all year long. She checks on her thyme, basil and mints, pinching them back when needed, snipping off leaves when we're cooking. More than once this summer she's made herbal rinses of lemon verbena or rosemary to pour over her hair. Our mint is running rampant this year, and we've been making quite a bit of ice cream as of late, so she and I made some Chocolate Mint ice cream that turned out quite amazing.
I adapted a recipe I had torn out of an old magazine years ago, and Liv collected a colander full of mint leaves. She washed and spun them dry, cut them up to release all of the wonderful oils, added the milk and cream, cooked & stirred. Liv weighed out the chocolate and measured the sugar. Waiting for the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for an hour was the hardest part. Luckily, it only took about 30 minutes to churn the beautiful, minty ice cream that she scooped out proudly in little white cups for her sisters, daddy and I after supper. This is a very simple, all natural recipe in which you could infuse any herb.
I don't have a picture of the finished product, the photo above is the mixture before it was churned. Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
8 ounces semi sweet, bitter sweet or dark chocolate (we used bitter sweet)
1/2 cup sugar
1. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the chopped mint leaves, heavy cream and milk and, stirring constantly, bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
2. Using a fine sieve, strain the cream mixture into a medium bowl, pressing the leaves to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the liquid to the saucepan, stir in the chocolate, sugar and salt, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved. Let cool, then transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Scrape the chilled mint-chocolate mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
We have a simple, inexpensive Rival ice cream maker purchased at Target a few years back. To make the ice cream, you will also need lots of ice, and rock salt.