Tag Archives: mint

Mint + Lemon + Ice Cream

It’s full blown summer. Temps are soaring into the 90s and the heat index is beyond that. I finally caved and bought two small window AC units for my apartment. Summertime life is about eighty seven times better with air conditioning. My cats agree.

Summertime is better with ice cream as well. Especially when it’s a combination of two of my very favorites, mint and lemon. What a marvelously magical combination of flavors. Bright and sunny, tart, and oh-so refreshing. You know how some ice creams leave a heavy film inside your mouth after your finished. Not so here. Wham-bam lemon right of the bat, juxtaposed by a sweet lighter-than-air creaminess (thanks to the use of half and half instead of heavy cream) and finishes with a mellow minty-ness. I predict this will become one of my summer staples. In fact, I am looking forward to it.

An added bonus: a minimum of time spent at the stove. A quick heat to warm up the dairy so as to steep the mint, but that’s it for cooking time. No eggs, no cornstarch, no cooking until thick. I have a beautifully fragrant pot of lemon balm that I clipped from, in addition to my mint plant, but feel free to double up on the mint in this recipe if you don’t have lemon balm.

Lemon-Mint Ice Cream
makes ~1 1/2 pints (3 cups)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1/2 cup packed lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~3 lemons)

Heat half and half, sugar, and salt over medium heat until steam starts to rise. Remove from heat and submerge mint and lemon balm leaves. Cover and let steep for an hour. Strain through a mesh sieve, pressing hard on leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Finely zest 2 lemons directly into mint-infused half and half. Juice lemons and whisk into dairy. Chill throughly. Freeze in ice cream maker.

Vanilla Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

It’s a mouthful, I know.

Trying saying it 5 times quickly.

Or don’t. Maybe just make the ice cream instead.

Once upon a summer, I had a thriving mint plant in my windowsill. Then I went out of town one too many times and my mint plant died. But not before I had a chance to make vanilla mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I am so glad that I didn’t let the opportunity pass me by.

Chocolate chip mint ice cream was my all-time favorite as a kid. If we were lucky, my brother and I could convince our parents to stop at the ice cream shop where my father would get whatever caught his attention, my mother would get chocolate peanut butter, my brother would get something truly disgusting like bubblegum and I would get mint chocolate chip.  If I were really lucky I would get it in the form of an ice cream cake for my birthday. But seriously, what’s not to love about mint chocolate chip?

So how could I resist the temptation to make my very own homemade vanilla mint chocolate chip ice cream?

I couldn’t.

Since this is like my 87th ice cream since July, I am practically an expert now. Cook some dairy with sugar, a split vanilla bean and gobs of mint leaves. Let steep for at least an hour so as to infuse your cream with minty goodness. Stir into some egg yolks and slowly cook until thick. Strain into some more cream. Freeze in an ice cream maker. Fold in some mini chocolate chips. I could do this with my eyes closed.

This ice cream was phenomenal. Some ice creams I like to make in super small batches because while their flavors are good and interesting, I don’t want to be eating more than about 3 servings of it. Not so with this vanilla mint chocolate chip ice cream. I could eat gallons of if, day in and day out. Maybe it just brings out the kid in me, I don’t know.

Vanilla Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

makes about 1 quart

adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Warm 1 cup milk, sugar, cream and salt in small saucepan until sugar is dissolved and steam rises from the milk. Stir in the mint leaves until completely submerged. Add split vanilla bean. Cover and remove from heat. Let steep for at least an hour.

Strain mint-infused mixture, pressing down on mint leaves to extract as much mint flavor as possible, return to saucepan and rewarm over medium-low heat. Pour the remaining 1 cup of milk into a large bowl and set strainer on top.

Whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour in the warm mint cream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return to saucepan and cook until thickened. Pour custard through the strainer and stir into the milk. Chill thoroughly before freezing in the ice cream maker.

Once churned, fold in mini chocolate chips.

Honey Muffins with Minted Berries

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I love weekend mornings and the foods that accompany them.

There’s really nothing like sitting down with your steaming cup of coffee with the morning light streaming in. And if you have a honey muffin with some minted berries, well, that’s even better.

It’s a small batch, as always, I am trying to adapt to cooking for one (and sometimes two), but this can easily be doubled or tripled.

Honey Muffins with Minted Berries

makes 4
Honey Muffins

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey, plus more for glaze
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 egg, beaten
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Minted berries
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon mint, cut into thin strips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter muffin tin and set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking soda.

Add sugar, honey, butter, egg, sour cream and orange extract. Stir until just combined.

Spoon into muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from tin and glaze with honey.

Combine strawberries, blueberries, raspberries with the honey and mint.

Serve warm.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

I played another round of “what-can-I-make-from-things-in-my-cupboards” last night. I actually have a market about 3 blocks from my house, so playing this game is pretty unnecessary. But I had already been to the store in the morning when I realized my cats were out of food and I refuse to go the store twice in one day. As it is I think I am there every other day. So I played my favorite kitchen game. When I spied a couple of squares of unsweetend chocolate, a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips and another handful of milk chocolate chips I knew that I wanted to make brownies.

One of the (many) things that I love about chocolate is that it pairs so well with so many other flavors. Peanut butter, citrus, fleur del sel, raspberry, cinnamon, caramel – the possibilities are almost endless. I won’t even try to pick a favorite. But a chocolate combination that I adore is chocolate mint. Classic. It reminds of being a kid and on the rare occasion that my parents would take my brother and I to the ice cream parlor and I would without fail, always, always get mint-chocolate chip.

So I made chocolate-mint brownies.

Chocolate-Mint Brownies

makes 16
Brownie layer
1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon creme de menthe syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mint Layer
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon creme de menthe syrup
1 tablespoon milk
Chocolate layer
2 tablespoons 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

Melt chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in double boiler. Set aside to cool.

In stand mixer, beat sugar and eggs until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.

Add chocolate, flour, creme de menthe and vanilla extract.

Mix until just blended.

Pour into foil-lined 8x8x2 glass pan. Spread evenly and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

For the mint layer:
Beat sugar, butter, creme de menthe syrup and milk until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Spread over baked brownies. Let stand until set, about an hour.

Chocolate layer:
Heat 1/2 and 1/2 over low heat until simmering.

Take off heat and whisk in chocolate until melted.

Whisk in butter.

Transfer chocolate mixture to a ziploc bag (or piping bag) and snip corner of bag and pipe chocolate over mint layer.

Let stand until set, about an hour.

I’d say I won this battle of Meleah v. the kitchen cupboard.

Minted Lemonade Fizz

It seems as though the weather has finally turned. The temperatures have been in the 80’s for the past couple of days. It seems entirely foreign to have it so nice here in Minneapolis. However, apparently this unexpected hot weather means tornadoes. There is nothing scarier to me than the threat of a tornado. Sirens, funnel clouds, tennis-sized hail – I want nothing to do with it. I’ll take hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes over tornadoes any day. But that’s just me.

And the light was spoo-ooky as the storm was passing through, right at sunset.

This hot weather has got me craving ice cold lemonade. Now prepare yourself – I am about to say something nice about the food scene in Gainesville. The Jones Eastside makes the best mint lemonade that I have ever had. Talk about a double wammy of freshness – lemon and mint. I get it everytime Scott and I go there (which is pretty often, as it is one of very few decent restaurants in that town). The only way it could be improved upon was if it fizzed.

Luckily, last weekend my mother indulged in my slight obsession with sparkling water, and got me this. Have I mentioned before how much she spoils me? So I set out to create a minted lemonade fizz.

Minted Lemonade Fizz

serves 2
2 lemons, sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups sparkling water

In a large bowl combine lemon slices, mint leaves, lemon juice and sugar.

Muddle them all together, making sure that all of the juices are released from the lemon slices.

Then run the mash through a strainer.

I did rescue the mint leaves from the strainer – I like having something to munch on as I sip. Add the sparkling water and mix.

Serve over ice and take in the freshness.

If I were a braver soul, I would have sat with this drink out on my front stoop and watched the storm pass. But then I would have needed to add vodka to make it a cocktail (which I am sure would be delicious as well).