Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

This mint chocolate chip ice cream is 100% all natural. Just heavy cream, fresh mint, whole milk, pure maple syrup, and dark chocolate. No artificial colors or flavors. And kids will love it as much as you.

A mother and daughter sharing a mint chocolate chunk ice cream cone.

What constitutes the perfect mint chocolate chunk ice cream? It’s sorta tricky as the answer tends to be a very personal thing. Those who recall this summer treat from childhood tend to have expectations of shades of lurid green with the smack of fake mint extract. Those of us who came to the charms of mint chocolate chunk ice cream as adults often prefer it made with a handful of natural ingredients minus artificial colorings or flavorings. For those of you who, like us, lean toward the second sort, this recipe is exactly that. It’s the best mint chocolate chunk ice cream we’ve ever had, actually, so much so that we suspect it’ll satisfy everyone, no matter their preconceived notions of what this ice cream ought to be. But don’t take our word for it. Go ahead. See for yourself.–Renee Schettler

*What type of mint should I use in mint chocolate chunk ice cream?

We hate to break it to you but mint isn’t just mint. Most commercial ice creams use spearmint because it has a gentler, more herbaceous and often floral flavor. Peppermint has more menthol and can come across as just…well, really minty. And don’t forget about all the hybrid mints out there. You can use any mint you want or happen to have on hand. That includes your bumper crop of chocolate mint, which would be sorta outrageous in this recipe, no?

Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 4 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
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Special Equipment: Ice cream maker

Ingredients


Directions

Steep the ice cream base

Pour the cream, milk, and maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Add the mint leaves, stir, and warm slowly over low heat until the mixture begins to steam, 8 to 11 minutes. 

Immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Transfer the pan to the fridge until the mixture is completely chilled, 2 to 3 hours. (If you can remain patient, for even more magnificent results, you want to let the mixture chill in the fridge overnight before straining it.)

Churn the ice cream

Strain the mint leaves from the cream mixture and use your hands to wring the leaves over the pot to release any extra cream and mint essence. Transfer the strained mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the ice cream is churning, reach for either a sharp knife or a rolling pin and roughly chop or smash the chocolate bar into a mix of thick chunks and thin slivers. (The rolling pin approach is incredibly inexpensive therapy!) When the ice cream is almost done processing, stir in the chocolate.

Freeze the ice cream before serving

Scoop the ice cream into a container with a lid and freeze for another hour or so before serving. The ice cream will be a lumpy, soft serve consistency straight out of the ice cream maker and will firm up to a more hard, scoopable consistency after freezing. You should have about 1 quart (900 ml). Originally published May 14, 2017.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Mint chocolate chunk ice cream is one of my favorites, especially when made with fresh mint and no artificial colors or flavors. This recipe is so simple and so good—creamy, thick, minty, and not too sweet. Often when I make ice cream, I add a tablespoon of alcohol (vodka or a complementary liquor) because I’d heard it helps reduce iciness. I'm not sure how much it works; I didn't add any to this recipe and it wasn't any icier than my other recipes.

The addition of maple syrup put me off at first (I might be the only Canadian who dislikes it). But I can barely taste it in the finished product so the government says that I can stay. I used 6 ounces dark chocolate because it seemed crazy to leave out those last 2 ounces. I think the basic ice cream recipe here would also lend itself to many other flavorings for easy non-custard ice cream versions.

I was most excited to try this recipe as my love for mint chocolate chunk ice cream is quite large. The end result was dreamy, refreshing, and rich. I'd never actually made my own version of mint chocolate ice cream until now, so I was rather intrigued to see how much the mint it would take to transfer the flavor to the cream. The mint was a beautiful herbal blend, the ice cream base is oh so creamy, and the dark chocolate enhances the mint and cream to a new level I didn't know existed in ice cream. (I used a 60% dark chocolate.)

This ice cream went over quite well with the family. Straight out of the ice cream maker the ice cream was rather soupy but the ice crystals that were developing were very small and created the creamiest ice cream. I may have had a small bowl straight from the ice cream maker. Once the ice cream froze for an hour, the ice cream hardened up lovely and again the ice crystals were small and maintained a creamy ice cream. I did get about a pint of ice cream and made about 3 decent servings (myself, sister, and brother in law...husband is boring and likes only vanilla, sigh).

This mint chocolate chip ice cream is totally yummy, easy to assemble, and has significant mintiness and no weird extract taint. I love steeping mint in the cream and milk mixture—I knew this would be delightful because I’ve done something similar for minted crème brûlée.

Even though this isn’t a custard-based ice cream, it delivers a very satisfying result. The maple syrup is a good match and not overpowering in any way. Unfortunately Green & Black’s mint chocolate bar wasn’t readily available but another good quality chocolatier (Theo’s from Seattle) came to the rescue with a blend of peppermint and spearmint with 70% cocoa. The flavor was terrific, both immediately as well as after patiently waiting over an hour and then for research purposes, we tested it as an affogato and pronounced it very, very good.

I found it was easy to break the chocolate into pretty uniform pieces by placing it in a heavy resealable bag and sealing it, then whacking it with a Machacadora (a wooden bean smasher from Mexico) although a rolling pin would do the job as well. Very therapeutic and better than chopping it with a knife and chocolate flying everywhere off the board. I'd start this project the night before to ensure you have a thoroughly chilled base, especially since it isn't a custard and has no other stabilizers.

This mint chocolate chunk recipe was a nice treat to make this weekend when the temperature finally got up to 80°F. It was easy to whip up, with very little hands-on time, other than pulling off mint leaves and chopping up my mint chocolate bar (I am a fan of the Endangered Species Dark Chocolate 72% bar). The fresh mint really shines through after infusing the cream mixture and, if you’re patient, I would recommend letting the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator before straining.

The finished product came out of my ice cream maker (which is not the newest of models—it’s a 10-year-old Cuisinart) with a nice, soft serve-like consistency. It was so nice to strongly taste mint without that artificial note. The maple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness and 4 ounces chocolate allowed for a good distribution of chunks.

I got a yield of slightly more than a pint, so not everything could fit in my ice cream canister. This made for happy eating out of the ice cream machine—not a bad thing! The consistency of the ice cream after it was frozen for 8 hours was very nice—creamy and firmer while still easy to scoop.

This is a simple and subtly sweet mint chocolate chunk ice cream. The fresh mint and the dark chocolate combine to make nice light ice cream. The maple syrup added just the right amount of sweetness. This is definitely a more adult flavor as both my kids turned their noses at the bitterness of the dark chocolate (I used Green & Black's dark chocolate 70%) and the intense cool of the mint.

I let the cream mixture steep on the counter for an hour and then chilled it in the fridge for 2 1/2 hours. The consistency straight out of the ice cream maker was thick and creamy. I started the ice cream in the late afternoon and froze it overnight. I enjoyed the flavor but it was a bit grainy with ice crystals when I scooped it the following evening. I would make this again but would probably add egg yolks to make a thicker and creamier texture.

This mint chocolate chunk ice cream has a strong, fresh mint flavor. The consistency is smooth, although the mixture isn't custard-based. As any ice cream, you can make it even if you don’t have an ice-cream maker. Just prepare your ice-cream mixture, then chill it in the freezer. Check it after 40 minutes, and as it starts to freeze on the edges stir it vigorously with a spatula. Really beat it up and break up any frozen pieces. Return to freezer. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously. It will be ready after 2 to 3 hours.

I used Lindt Excellence Mint Intense Dark Chocolate, and this minty chocolate is a perfect complement for the ice cream. This is an easy and quick way to make a fresh-flavored iced cream with a crunchy touch of chocolate.

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Comments

  1. I haven’t made this recipe so maybe I shouldn’t comment but I do make mint ice cream often. Here are a couple of thoughts: I steep the mint overnight, stems and all for a really vibrant flavor and rather than chocolate chunks, I prefer to melt it then pour it in toward the end. This makes tiny sprinkles throughout. I find the chunks rather hard and unpleasant unless they are very small. One other thing: Using scissors to “pick” the leaves is much faster and easier than using your fingers. This is especially a good trick during basil season if you want to make quarts of pesto.

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