Hey everyone! You may have noticed that I didn't post a recipe last week and I apologize. I have been so busy working 48+ hours and various other life responsibilities. I try to put all of focus towards the blog but sometimes too many things fall in the same week and it just becomes nearly impossible to bake something. However, I feel as if I haven't left the kitchen.
I have been trying to experiment in the kitchen with new flavors, textures, and methods. Often times cooks and bakers make what they know and rarely do they attempt the unknown. I believe that the best thing you can do is bake something new at least once a month. I guarantee that your overall skills in the kitchen will improve.
I have recently experimented with breads and it has been exciting and challenging all at the same time. So far I have made pizza dough and brioche. I was nervous to try the French brioche and as I practiced I found that it was less daunting than I had expected. I never know whether or not the dough will rise or stay flat. I never know if the dough will be too dry or too wet, or whether or not it will be under or overcooked. That truly is the beauty of baking though. If one recipe fails, I make another. Even if a recipe turns out near perfect, I will find a way to improve it. Baking is a constant struggle and it is not one that I will shy away from.
I recently bought an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid. Challenge accepted. I love ice cream and I have always wanted to make it myself. To be honest, I have never had a truly perfect store-bought ice cream. Most ice creams have too many ingredients or taste too artificial. True Ice cream, in my opinion, is a basic custard base that is churned and frozen. Ice cream should only contain milk, heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, salt, and a little flavoring.
The best thing about making homemade ice cream is that it is extremely easy and cheap to make. You can make about 4 cups of ice cream for around $5, depending on what flavors you decide to make your ice cream. The other ingredients, milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and salt, are very cheap. The only special equipment you need is an ice cream maker and you can find decently priced ones online. I haven't figured out how to make a classic custard based ice cream without an ice cream maker but if you guys are interested please let me know and I will do my research for you!
For my first ice cream I chose to go with my personal favorite flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip. However, I had to put a quirky Bella spin on the classic flavor. You may have seen the trendy "Black" ice cream floating around online and I was quite intrigued by it. I have never tried it but I did a little research and found that it is colored by food safe activated charcoal. I used to take this as a supplement and it shouldn't effect you in any way, but I have to say that if you are at all concerned, check with a doctor before trying this recipe OR feel free to use gel black food dye. The flavor won't be affected either way, I just chose to use activated charcoal because I had it in my cabinet.
This recipe is quite unusual also because of the mint flavor itself. I chose to use a blend of fresh mint and parsley (trust me on this one!) as opposed to peppermint extract. The mint + parsley combo gives the ice cream more of an 'herby' mint flavor rather than an artificial one, which I prefer. For the chocolate I used chopped extra dark chocolate and tossed in it right at the end of the churning process. The fresh mint flavor might not be for everyone but I really recommend giving it a try because it is mint chocolate chip ice cream on another level!
If you try this recipe please let me know and tag me with your pictures @acommonkitchen! I would love to see everything you make. Thank you for visiting the blog this week everyone.
"Black" Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes about 3 Cups of Ice Cream
2 Cups loosely packed fresh Mint, thoroughly washed and dried
1/2 Cup loosely packed Parsley, thoroughly washed and dried
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
4 Large Egg Yolks
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
5-6 capsules of food safe Activated Charcoal
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 Bar (about 4 ounces) of Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Blanch the mint and parsley: In a medium saucepan bring 2-3 cups of water to a light roiling boil. Add the mint and parsley and stir everything so all of the herbs are covered by the water. Blanch for one minute and pour the herbs into a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Transfer the blanched herbs to a food processor and add one or two tablespoons of cold water and pulse until you have a smooth (or as smooth as you can get!) paste. Place the fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the mint mixture through it to catch any big pieces. Set aside.
2. Prepare your custard: In a medium sized bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until pale yellow and about doubled in volume. Add the activated charcoal and whisk until no streaks remain. Set aside.
3. In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the milk, heavy cream, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is simmering-- do not let it boil or you will scald the milk. Remove from the heat.
4. Whisking constantly, ladle in about 1/2 a cup of the hot milk mixture into your egg yolk mixture. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add another 1/2 cup of hot milk and whisk again. Now transfer the tempered egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining hot milk and whisk to combine. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the custard is thick enough to to coat the back of a spoon.
5. Place a find mesh strainer over a large container and strain your custard into in. Let the custard rest until it reaches room temperature. Once the mixture is cooled, cover it and transfer it to the fridge and cool overnight.
6. Churn the custard: After your custard has been refrigerating overnight, it's time to churn it! Churn your custard base according to your ice cream maker manufactures instructions. I have a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment which requires me to chill the bowl in the freezer for at least 15 hours, then churn the ice cream custard base for 20-30 minutes.
7. Once your ice cream is done churning, fold in the chopped dark chocolate with a rubber spatula. Transfer your ice cream to an air tight container and freeze overnight or at least four hours. Once chilled, you can scoop out your ice cream and top with sprinkles, fresh mint, whipped cream, or any other toppings that you desire. Bon Appétit!