There isn’t much I can say about the chocolate/peppermint combo that hasn’t already been said before.
But don’t worry; I won’t let that stop me. We can’t all be leaders. (And sometimes, it pays to be a follower, especially when the topic at hand is this delicious.)
As the weeks fly by and the days creep dangerously close to Christmas, foodie sites both big and small are celebrating the occasion with a variety of mouthwatering choco/mint treats; everything from hot chocolates and candies to cookies and cakes – you name it! And it’s all for very good reason.
In a word? Chocolate peppermint is perfection; second in my heart only to chocolate and peanut butter. It’s a glorious marriage of dark and light, seductive and sweet. During the holidays, it seems there isn’t a flavor in the world that screams “Christmas!” more loudly than this divine combo. However, I didn’t always feel that way…
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always enjoyed peppermint bark just as much as the next person, but my experience with choco/mint never really transcended the boundaries of this once-a-year treat. Chocolate peppermint cookies? No thanks. Mint hot chocolate? Nah, I’ll take the salted caramel.
Truthfully, I didn’t really realize that chocolate and peppermint could make such a fabulous pairing until I had my first Peppermint Mocha from a certain not-so-local coffee chain several years ago. From the first sip, I was hooked, and an entire world of Chocolate Peppermint Possibilities opened up to me.
(Sheesh. For a girl that loves mint chocolate chip ice cream as much as I do, you’d think I woulda figured it out just a little bit sooner!)
Last year, I started making up for lost time with a peppermint mocha ice cream that I made in honor of my fave seasonal drink. But this year, I was ready to get serious. As in, serious dark chocolate.
I’ve learned through this experience that the key to a great chocolate ice cream is to add so much melted chocolate that you look at your custard base and think, s***, there’s no way this is going to work out. But it does, my friends. It does.
It works out into a glorious, fudgy, hot mess of an ice cream that is the perfect compliment to chunks of sweet peppermint bark. See?
This was actually my very first time making peppermint bark at home, and the finished product ended up incredibly thick, like…I’m talking brownie thickness (see pic below). When I chopped it up, the white chocolate and semi sweet layers separated, throwing me into a slight panic, but fortunately it all worked out okay in the end – I was SO happy with how this ice cream turned out! My better half said this was his “all time” favorite, a statement that he doesn’t throw around very often. I have to say, this might be my favorite too, which is very exciting considering I had no idea how this was going to come together.
With its dark and fudgy, lightly pepperminted base, and chunks of peppermint bark, this ice cream really hits the spot. I’ll definitely be making it again before the end of the year! If you have some extra bark laying around, why not try it? You’re halfway there already 🙂
I hope you all have a fabulous holiday this week! Thanks for being awesome.
Be safe, stay warm, and as always, happy scooping 🙂
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
Yield: 1 Quart
You will need:
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
4 egg yolks
½ cup of high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
½ cup to 1 cup peppermint bark, chopped into small pieces
- Prepare an ice bath and situate a strainer on top of an empty bowl/container (you’ll need this later).
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks until broken, then slowly whisk in the sugar until completely incorporated and mixture is thick (a minute or two). Set aside.
- Combine milk, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Remove from heat, then whisk in the cocoa powder until completely dissolved. Then, whisk in the semi sweet and dark chocolates until melted and completely incorporated in the mixture.
- Begin to add the warmed chocolate mixture to the egg yolks a little at a time (about ½ a cup), taking care to whisk the eggs constantly to keep them from scrambling. Once all cream has been incorporated into the yolks, place the entire mixture in the sauce pan and return to medium heat, continuing to cook until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (ten minutes or so).
- Remove from heat and strain into container or bowl, then submerge in ice bath and stir until cooled. Note: I usually skip this because I’m lazy, but for all you process purists, have at it.
- Once cooled, add vanilla and peppermint. (The base shouldn’t be super super minty – just enough to compliment the bark). Refrigerate for a few hours, or preferably, over night.
- Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add bark during the last minute of churning. Or, when ice cream is finished churning, alternate layers of bark and ice cream for a swirled effect (this is what I did and it turned out great!)