Peppermint Ice Cream


I've decided we all get a free pass until the new year. Since I discovered that it is impossible for me to eat healthy with all this holiday baking lying around, I am releasing myself (and you) from guilt. No more feeling guilty about sneaking an extra cookie. No more regret over a smuggled chocolate or two. And certainly no more shame over taking an extra scoop of ice cream (especially if its peppermint).

Perhaps I am just the one that needs a free pass (or possibly a bit of self control). Though I don't think two more days of gluttony would do anyone much harm at this point, right?

As my sister put it this morning through a mouthful of puppy chow, "I am going to eat all of this anyway. I might as well get it over with now so I can finally move on."

Truer words have never been spoken.

So I say eat the rest of the holiday goodies. Share them with friends. Neighbors. The office. Let's banish (or devour) the sweets from our homes so we can start off the new year right (you know, without a sugar high and mild case of diabetes).

This peppermint ice cream is thick and creamy. It is made using the same method as French vanilla, rendering it smooth and absolutely divine. Candy canes are mixed into the ice cream, which add a unique texture and little peppermint flavor pockets to each and every bite. If you want a little extra crunch, feel free to add a sprinkling of crushed candy canes to the top just before serving. Make this for the holidays, make this for New Year's, or you could just make it all for yourself.

Peppermint Ice Cream
Adapted from Simply Recipes

Yields 1 quart

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3/4 cup candy canes, crushed, plus extra for sprinkling

In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Pour the cream into a metal bowl. Set the metal bowl into a larger bowl, filled with ice, and set a medium-mesh sieve on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Pour the warmed milk slowly into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Place the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan.

Turn the stove up to medium heat and stir the mixture constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom. Cook until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.

Pour the custard through the sieve and stir it into the cream. Allow the cream to set in the cold metal bowl until it is no longer warm to the touch. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, about an hour.

Once chilled, stir in the peppermint extract. Feel free to use more or less depending on how strong you would like the peppermint flavoring (but be sure to taste it along the way!).

Freeze in your ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions.

When the ice cream has finished churning, it will be relatively soft. Carefully fold in the crushed candy canes and store the ice cream in an airtight plastic container in the freezer. Allow to freeze for at least two hours before eating.

Serve frozen, with a sprinkling of candy cane bits.