So, taste is subjective, and it’s also subject to change. Back in the day before I made most of the ice cream we have at home, Kurt and I used to stand in front of the freezer section of the grocery store and negotiate about which flavor to choose. He would quickly rule out my favorite, butter pecan, and I would not even let him point to his favorite which was mint chocolate chip. If I remember correctly, we usually ended up with dutch chocolate or cherry garcia. Each of our favorites had to wait for special occasions like our birthdays or something like that. It’s been years since Kurt has even mentioned mint chocolate ice cream, but I thought I’d whip up a special treat just for him and maybe, just maybe, I’d come around to this flavor combination in a homemade version. The fresh mint ice cream recipe is from The Perfect Scoop, and in the perfect pairings paragraph, adding chunks of chewy-dense brownies, also in the book, is suggested. The great thing about the brownies is that they really do remain chewy after being frozen. Little chunks of them were folded into the churned ice cream before letting it set up in the freezer. The ice cream itself was lovely and fragrant from the fresh mint leaves, and steeping the leaves in the milk even tinted it just barely green.
The brownies were made by melting unsweetened chocolate and butter and then adding sugar, eggs, and vanilla. A scant bit of flour along with some salt was added to the batter, and I omitted the chocolate chips and optional nuts. The brownies baked until just set, and then when cool, they were cut into small chunks. To begin the ice cream, milk, sugar, some cream, and a pinch of salt were combined and warmed in a saucepan. Two cups worth of mint leaves were added to the milk mixture, the pan was covered, and it was left to steep for an hour. The mint was strained out of the milk mixture, and the milk mixture went back on the stove to be warmed again. Then, the usual procedure for a custard took place. Five egg yolks were tempered with the warm milk mixture, the whole combination went back on the stove until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and then it was strained into a bowl with additional cream. The custard was cooled and then churned in an ice cream maker. Last, the finished mint ice cream was layered in a dish with chunks of chewy brownies, and it was frozen until firm.
Steeping the mint leaves in the milk gave it even more flavor than I expected. The freshness of the mint flavor with the richness of the custard took me by surprise. I liked it. And, those chunks of chewy brownie pieces were way better to my mind than those hard, waxy-tasting chocolate chips in the store-bought stuff that Kurt used to like. Kurt, on the other hand, was confused. This was not the mint chocolate ice cream he remembered from years ago. This was something completely different, and it was very good. But, for the record, he liked those hard bits of chocolate chips.