Cooking Together: Andes Mint Ice Cream

June 15, 2009

Hey, we got a new toy!

On Friday, the Awesome Fed-Ex dude dropped our Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker on my doorstep. I know, I know, most people bought those things years ago but I am slow.

The girls worked themselves into a frenzy, jumping up and down and arguing which flavor of iced bliss we needed to make first.

Eventually, I just picked out of a hat. Miss D. won; she picked her favorite flavor of ice cream, peppermint, which alas, is one of my least favorite flavors on the planet.

Not that I have anything against the flavor of peppermint, because I like it. What I object to are the super-hard, overly sweet nuggets of mint candy that plague my molars and threaten to de-rail my dental work. Am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t enjoy crunchy things in her ice cream?

Even nuts. Nope. I like my ice cream smoooooooth like a Lounge Lizard. No cookies and cream, no Chunky Monkey for this girl.

Plus, peppermint is a flavor usually eaten in December and it’s June, for chrissakes. But tell that to Miss D., who was beyond thrilled to win the ice-cream-face-off.

I checked out several recipes for a simple vanilla ice cream, figuring that I could just substitute a lesser amount of peppermint extract for the vanilla. Add crushed bits of peppermint candy and done, right?

But then I started to worry and overthink things (gee, a shocker, I know). Suddenly, I had memory lock: is the peppermint ice cream in the grocery store peppermint flavored and studded? Would adding peppermint extract to the ice cream base cause a hideous, funky Binaca thing in my mouth?

No worries. I figured I’d just go to the grocery store, find some peppermint ice cream, taste it, and figure it out.

Oh yeah. Did I mention it’s freaking June? Just try to find peppermint ice cream in June. Double-dog-dare ya. I was on my own.

I decided against the extract. And against the hard starlight mint candies. Sorry, purists. I spied Andes mints in the candy aisle and grabbed those. I don’t know why I love those things, but I do. I think it reminds me of eating at a “nice” restaurant (eg: not Denny’s or Whataburger) as a child. See, growing up, we were, well…okay, there’s really not a nice way to say it…poor. If we ate out, which was very rare and a HUGE deal, it was someplace like Arbys. I see that big old hat sign staring out at me from a freeway and I still get excited, I do.

But on my birthday every year, my parents took me to a REAL restaurant. The kind with dim lighting and tinkly music and waitstaff. And those scrumptious Andes mints that came with the check that made me feel like Posh Spice.

I digress. Anyways, the Andes went in the cart along with cream and whole milk and sugar. When I got home, I faced mutiny.

“Uh-uh, that’s not the kind of peppermints that go in the ice cream,” Miss D. scowled.

“No, these are special, super-fancy, Princess mints,” the manipulative mommy replied, unwrapping one and popping it into her mouth. “Mmmmmmmm.”

Hey, we do what we need to.

The girls broke the mints into little pieces and we added them to a very straightforward vanilla ice cream base and in half an hour we had little spoonfuls of happy waiting for us. We tasted, deemed it delicious, popped it back in the freezer for a few hours until Lore’s birthday party.

Life is good.

Andes Mint Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/2–it’s plenty)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Andes mints, broken into bite sized pieces

Whisk first 4 ingredients together until blended. Add to a cold ice-cream maker bowl and switch machine on. churn for about 20 minutes. Add mint pieces; churn 5 minutes more. Pour into a quart container and freeze 2 hours. Enjoy!

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