Mint chocolate chip ice cream is a flavor made by adding spearmint or peppermint extract to a batch of cream, eggs, sugar, and other common ice cream ingredients. Some recipes may call for the addition of creme de menthe as an alternative. Depending on the type and concentration of mint flavoring, this ice cream can range from white to mint green in color. This particular flavor is a a popular choice in the ice cream business, and many stores selling ice cream have at least a few different brands of mint chocolate chip. Many people enjoy mint chocolate chip ice cream during the warmer summer months for its light and refreshing taste.
White or very light green mint chocolate chip ice cream is normally made with natural ingredients that do not include artificial colors. These types of ice cream flavors are often found in grocery stores or ice cream parlors that specialize in organic foods and treats. The vivid green color of other mint chip ice cream brands often results from adding concentrated peppermint or spearmint oil mixed with food coloring.
Some people who prefer a stronger mint flavor like to try their own mint chocolate chip ice cream recipes at home. The basic process involves adding mint extract to a mixture of the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar while processing the batch in an ice cream machine. Adventurous ice cream makers also sometimes use fresh mint leaves instead of extract.
Preparing mint leaves for mint chocolate chip ice cream requires a few extra steps. The leaves need to be partially cooked in a saucepan along with the sugar and milk. Once the leaves are sufficiently softened, many recipes call for squeezing and straining the leaves in order to add as much mint flavor as possible to the rest of the ice cream mixture.
Ice cream with fresh mint leaves often has a more earthy taste than the mint chip ice cream bought in store freezer sections. Different batches of homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream can have various herbal flavors, depending on individual crops of mint leaves. The age of the mint and even the location where the leaves were harvested can influence the ending taste of a mint chip ice cream batch. Some people who make this ice cream from scratch add semi-sweet or mint chocolate chips. Others like to mix in swirls of melted chocolate to harden with the rest of the ice cream during the freezing process.