This time I made Fresh Mint ice cream with Stracciatella, then sandwiched them between chocolate cookies. The Fresh Mint ice cream was great! As you can imagine, the flavor was totally different from commercial mint chip. It tasted just like fresh mint smells, not artificial at all. The minty milk tasted so good by itself that I wanted to just drink it before I made the custard. However, my milk never turned "emerald green" as promised by the recipe. Not even a hint of green. Perhaps I need to bruise or chop the mint leaves before steeping? Also, I skimped a little on the mint (60g instead of 80g) thinking it might be too strong. I was wrong; definitely use the whole amount.
For the stracciatella, I was supposed to melt a bar of chocolate (I used 55% dark) and pour a thin stream into the ice cream at the end of churning, creating chocolate streaks. This was impossible. No matter how hot the chocolate was, it never got to a "thin stream" consistency. It would crawl toward the spout, then plop off in big drops. Plus it would always hit directly on the dasher, never in the ice cream, no matter what I tried with the timing. It was huge mess. Finally, I stopped the churning and just dropped in small bits and slashed it around quickly with a spatula. This worked perfectly. I just had to work quickly to prevent the chocolate from freezing into big chunks instead of thin streaks. I really liked the end result, which added the perfect complement to the mellow mint.
Lastly, I made chocolate cookies to make ice cream sandwiches. My son and I were disappointed with the end result and we've been scraping off and eating the ice cream by itself. The flavor was good, but there were many problems (most self-inflicted):
A) ice cream layer was too thin (see pic above). In retrospect, I think the ice cream should be 2-3 times as thick as the cookie layer.
B) the cookies were too thick (see pic above). The ice cream flavor was completely obscured. I made them as prescribed the recipe (I even weighed the dough to make sure each ball was exactly the same). But seeing them action, I would recommend making them half as thick (of course, reducing the baking time).
C) let the ice cream set in the freezer for an hour or so before assembling sandwiches. I assembled them immediately after churning and the ice cream started oozing all over. The ice cream needs to be pliable enough to spread but hard enough to keep its shape.
D) The cookies were not soggy (as promised by the recipe), but they didn't soften either. Some might consider this a plus, but I would prefer a softer, chewier cookie that gives a little when I bite in. These cookies were all crunch. (P.S. My husband told me to wait a few days for them to soften up and he was right. The sandwiches are much better a few days after assembly.)
Fresh Mint Ice Cream
Warm 1 cup milk, 1 cup cream, 3/4 cup sugar, and pinch of salt in small saucepan. Take off heat and stir in 80g (2cups loosely packed) fresh mint leaves. Let steep for an hour. Then strain into larger saucepan where you will make the custard. Pour another 1 cup cream in a separate bowl, where you later pour the finished custard to cool. In separate bowl, whisk 5 egg yolks until combined. Warm minty milk mixture, then slowly pour into eggs, whisking constantly so they don't cook. Pour mixture back into saucepan and warm, stirring constantly until custard coats back of spatula, about 175F (77C). Pour custard through strainer into into cream bowl (from above) and place over ice bath, stirring to bring custard to room temp. Place mixture in fridge or freezer to chill completely (about 40F) before churning. Churn with ice cream machine according to instructions.
Melt 5oz chocolate in double boiler until smooth. After ice cream is done churning, slowly drizzle warm chocolate into ice cream and quickly use spatula to streak chocolate, breaking up any large chunks. This can be done in the machine itself or as you layer ice cream in container.
Chocolate Sandwich cookies