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Peppermint Ice Cream

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I love peppermints.  I’m not into the super-strong mints, and definitely not the wintergreen kind — just the red and white ones you see in a bowl as you’re leaving a restaurant.  I’m one of those people that grabs a handful instead of just one.  My wife even bought me a big bag of them once, just so I’d have my own stash.

There are lots of peppermint ice cream recipes on the net, but this is an easy version I came up with that several people have said they really like — but they usually say it in a way that sounds like they’re surprised.  I like it so much I have to be careful when I make it, or I’ll eat the whole batch all at once.  It usually reminds me of Christmas when I eat it, because I remember my grandmother buying it at that time of year.

Peppermint Ice Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup smashed peppermint candy

(makes about one quart)

The first four ingredients are the Sweet Cream Base [2] I’ve mentioned before.  After following the directions in that post to get the base mixed together, let it cool a bit, then mix in the peppermint and vanilla extracts and chill the whole mix to 40 degrees F (5 C) or below before churning.

I use Brach’s Star Brite [3] peppermints just because they’re my favorite, but any peppermint candy would do.  I unwrap 20 candies and put them in a plastic bag, and then smash the heck out of them with the flat side of a heavy meat tenderizer until the pieces are extremely small, almost powder.  (A hammer would probably work well for that job also.)  I then measure 1/2 cup and add it to the ice cream when it’s finished churning.

I’ve found that it tastes much better after the ice cream has been in the freezer for a while.  Eating it right out of the machine is a lot like crunching on glass.  I think it might be because of the contrast between the soft ice cream and the hard candy — something just doesn’t work.  But after a day or two in the freezer it all changes, and you get these nice tiny pieces that have dissolved slightly, leaving red and pink streaks in the ice cream, and just enough crunch to let you know they’re in there.

Is it Christmas yet?