Despite the (hopefully) chiller temperatures, December is just as good a time for ice cream as the more traditional summer months. There are some flavors that just scream winter, and although I don’t have too many qualms eating them in June, it’s nice to have them during their so-called proper time. Eggnog, for example, is just not something one typically enjoys in mid-summer, but it’s just as delightful in ice cream form.
This year I went after another Christmas classic – peppermint. I drink copious amounts of peppermint tea all year round, but typically save the more decadent uses of the flavor for winter. Peppermint is found in everything from candies and hot chocolate to brownies and truffles, and everything in between. Admittedly I feel a little goes a long way, but during the right season peppermint certainly has its place.
I opted for the white chocolate and peppermint pairing, a favorite as a hot beverage that I figured would play just as well in a chillier twist. Melted white chocolate paired with crushed peppermint candy for flavor, color, and a tiny bit of crunch. The smooth vanilla flavor is nicely complemented by the sharper flavor of peppermint, and should be reminiscent of your favorite peppermint truffles.
Crushed peppermint candy gives us our flavor profile, and a little pink color as a side effect. I cheated and bought pre-crushed peppermint candy, but crushing your own candy canes is a fun way to get the kids involved. The peppermint flavor is given some extra punch with a little extract, but be careful not to go overboard as it’s very easy to venture closer to toothpaste than candy. I recommend starting with half a teaspoon and letting it all chill overnight, then tasting right before you churn. If you feel it’s not quite strong enough, add that extra quarter teaspoon and churn away. You can also add a few drops of red food dye if you want to deepen the pink hue.
Creamy, cold, and chalk full of a favorite winter flavor, this ice cream is delightful on its own or an excellent match for a gooey chocolate brownie. Top it with a sprinkle of candy for extra flair.
Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream
Makes ~6 cups
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1-2 T crushed peppermint candy, divided1
1/2 – 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla
optional: a few drops red food dye
- In a medium bowl, combine cream, egg substitute and sugar. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine half and half and white chocolate chips. Heat, whisking often, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.
- Let cool about 10 minutes, then slowly stream into the heavy cream, whisking constantly.
- Whisk in vanilla, 1/2 tsp peppermint extract, and 1/4 cup peppermint candy1, then chill completely in fridge, or overnight. (The peppermint candy will likely have completely dissolved.
- Taste briefly, and add additional peppermint extract if desired. You can also add the red food dye now.
- Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, adding remaining candy during the last 5 minutes of churning.
- Transfer to a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for at least four hours, or overnight.
- Serve garnished with a sprinkle of crush candy canes, solo or atop a warm chocolate brownie.
1 If you don’t want the crunchy aspect, you can either nix the extra 2 tablespoons, or add them at the beginning.