With the advent of the electric home ice cream maker, there's no real reason for you to not give this a try sometime. Even those old-fashioned wooden bucket contraptions make for a fun evening of entertainment for kids. Do be careful with your instructions, tho, if using that old school one. Once, when I was a camp counselor, campers added the salt to the ice cream, rather than the ice. They spent tons of time churning, only to have made grossly salty ice cream. It was epically disappointing for them, and their descent into savagery was quick. It's a wonder I lived to make ice cream again.
You don't have to wait for summer to make ice cream, but for Mint Ice Cream you absolutely need fresh mint. Here you have some choices about what variety of mint to use. I usually go with spearmint, which is more mellow. Peppermint seems a little too harsh. Chocolate Mint is a nice option, if you see it at the market. I usually keep it growing in a large container, using it throughout the summer for mojitos and Greek salads. I've been lazy this summer, though, so I just grabbed some at my farmer's market.
As for equipment, I have two freezers. Both are the stick-the-bowl-in-your-freezer variety. The plug and play models that I used professionally are just too pricey for the home kitchen. The one I like best is the bowl that attaches to my KitchenAid mixer. It's nice and big and does a good job. Make sure you have a big covered container to store the ice cream once it's done spinning.
Mint Chip Ice Cream
Print recipe only here
Makes 1.5 quarts
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
6-8 sprigs fresh mint (I like spearmint or chocolate mint)
5 egg yolks
2 cups cream
4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1. Whisk together egg yolks in a medium/large mixing bowl.
2. Set a heavy medium saucepan over moderately low heat and add milk, sugar, and mint. Heat until steaming but not boiling, lower heat and stir until sugar is dissolved (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 25-30 minutes.
3. Reheat the mixture to steaming. Ladle about 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. This is called TEMPERING. Pour a few more ladles of hot milk into the eggs and keep whisking. Then, slowly pour the egg mixture back into the hot milk, still whisking away. Set over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly (I like to use a heat resistant spatula at this point, or an odor-free wooden spoon), until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon (finger drawn across spoon will leave clear path) - it should take about 5 to 6 minutes. Strain into large bowl and stir in heavy cream. Chill until cold, either in an ice bath or overnight in the refrigerator.
Note: If your heat was too high and the eggs curdled or cooked, just toss the whole thing and start over. There’s no way to save it.
4. When ready to freeze, strain the mixture once more. Process cold cream base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Add the chopped chocolate during last minute of churning. Transfer to airtight container, cover well and freeze until hard, about 3 hours. Serve and enjoy.