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Recipe updated 2/24/16
So apparently today is St. Patrick’s Day, and for the past two weeks I have been so sick of seeing shamrock shakes, corned beef, and Guinness smeared all over Foodgawker and Pinterest. Get a life, folks. How about something unique? Well, I suppose I’m sort of succumbing to the whole green theme too, but not because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. I really don’t know a whole lot about that holiday; and while the origins seem relatively harmless, today’s practices concerning it (a day of self-indulgence and the license to drink all the liquor you want?) seem to carry a few negative connotations. So this ice cream is going to be my ode to spring, instead. God has blessed us here in upstate South Carolina with lots of rain lately, but now the sun is shining and over the past week the grass has created a beautiful green covering for the hills. Daffodils are in full bloom, and the trees are budding. I think that calls for ice cream, don’t you?
Of course, thinking along the green lines led me to mint ice cream, particularly because I do not yet have a mint ice cream recipe on this website. Sure, I have a pink-colored peppermint one, but that’s for Christmas and is totally unrelated to the traditional green stuff. Now, someday I’m going to do a real-deal mint ice cream with real mint leaves and all that healthy, natural stuff…but today is not that day. I had no mint leaves and am always loathe to run to the store for just one item – and who sells mint leaves this time of year, anyway? I contemplated using mint tea bags, but of course I was out of those too. So I tried Watkin’s Mint Extract, which apparently is spearmint-flavored but not marked as such. So I got something that was a dead ringer for healthy toothepaste. Not exactly what I had in mind.
Take two: I used both Watkin’s Pure Peppermint and Mint Extracts, which gave me a perfect balance of mint flavor. The amounts I have listed here are what I like, but you can always add more for a stronger flavor. I didn’t want to get another toothpaste syndrome going on. If you have mint essential oil, or another favorite mint extract, feel free to substitute according to taste (measurements will vary).
Now about the color…that would be from something totally natural, totally over-used, and totally green. Yeah, spinach. Believe it or not, I have never used spinach to color anything green before, so I was curious to know if you really can’t taste it (because I had my doubts). You can’t. Which surprised me. But hey, that’s totally cool. The spinach does leave a few flecks in the ice cream, but I’m good with that. I guess if it bothers you you could try to strain them out of the ice cream mixture before pouring it into your ice cream maker, but I wouldn’t bother. If you don’t like the idea of spinach or don’t have any on hand, I suppose you could leave it out and add some green food coloring (or eat white mint ice cream, which is just kinda wrong, in my opinion). This could decrease the volume of the ice cream, though, and you may not need quite as much sweetener.
Have leftovers (leftover ice cream? What’s that?)? Freeze them and use them in this leftover ice cream milkshake recipe for a mint shake! My favorite tweak: add peanut butter. Are you surprised? I didn’t think so.
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Question of the day: should mint ice cream be pink, green, white, or another color altogether?
You can find a much better mint ice cream recipe in my cookbook:
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup fresh spinach (loosely packed)
- ½ cup cottage cheese
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 T vegetable glycerin, optional but highly recommended
- 6-7 doonks THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder (a doonk is 1/32 tsp.)
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. Watkin's peppermint extract
- ¼ tsp. Watkin's mint extract
- 1 tsp. glucomannan
- Hot Fudge Swirl:
- ⅔ oz. unsweetened baker's chocolate
- 1 T refined coconut oil
- 1 T butter
- 2 doonks THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder (more if desired)
- 2 T unsweetened almond milk
- Blend all ice cream ingredients in a high-powered blender until completely smooth. Churn in an automatic ice cream churn (see below for the model I use) according to manufacturer's directions.
- Meanwhile, combine the unsweetened baker's chocolate, coconut oil, butter, and stevia in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on "defrost", stirring occasionally, until everything is melted. Whisk in the almond milk a tablespoon at a time. Set the hot fudge aside until the ice cream is ready.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Pour the hot fudge over the top and swirl it in a little with a spoon. Freeze for an additional 30 minutes or so to firm up (alternately, you could just use the hot fudge as a topping for the ice cream and serve immediately). Yields 4-5 servings.
- Like most homemade ice creams, this recipe is best eaten fresh (unless using vegetable glycerin, which gives you more flexibility-see below). If you have leftovers, freeze them and when you're ready to eat them, either let them sit out on the counter for 30 minutes or so or defrost them for a few seconds in the microwave.
- I recommend adding 1 T of vegetable glycerin to this ice cream to keep it from sticking to the sides of the ice cream maker and to keep it softer and not let it get hard so fast in the freezer. If you freeze the ice cream for an extended length of time in the freezer, it will still freeze hard, but if you let it sit out to soften up a little, the glycerin keeps it scoopable instead of icy. Transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the refrigerator 3 hours before serving for optimum texture, or let it sit out on the counter for 30-40 minutes.
You cannot taste the spinach. If you like, omit the spinach and use a few drops of green food coloring. Please note that this could decrease the volume of the recipe.
Feel free to use your favorite mint flavoring/essential oil to taste in place of what I have listed here. I found this combination of two different extracts to give me the traditional mint ice cream flavor I was seeking.
For a more traditional fudge-like texture in the hot fudge swirl, you could substitute another tablespoon of butter for the coconut oil.
- Cuisinart 1 1/2 qt. Automatic Ice Cream Churn
- Ninja blender
- THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder can be purchased at the Trim Healthy Mama online store.
- Vegetable Glycerin
- Watkin’s Pure Peppermint Extract
- Watkin’s Pure Mint Extract