Homemade peppermint ice cream is a luscious frozen treat with the perfect balance of creaminess and invigorating peppermint. Very easy to make, this recipe brings the holiday festivities to any time of the year.
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Secrets to Extra Creamy Peppermint Ice Cream
I’m an avid enthusiast of McConnell’s Peppermint Ice Cream, and for good reason—it’s simply incredible. However, locating this delectable flavor in my area has proven to be quite the challenge. The silver lining? With the recipe and tips that follow, you can effortlessly whip up your own batch of impeccably creamy and refreshing Peppermint Ice Cream whenever the craving strikes, all year round.
- Beaten Egg Yolks– Beating the egg yolks with half of the sugar until they become pale and slightly thickened helps in creating light and fluffy ice cream that is also luxuriously creamy.
- Custard Base– A custard base is the secret to achieving that extra creaminess in your peppermint ice cream. The key lies in tempering your beaten egg yolks properly to create a smooth and luscious custard. Take your time and whisk continuously as you slowly incorporate the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks. This process ensures a velvety texture that sets the stage for an indulgent frozen treat.
- Chilling the Ice Cream Base– Allow your custard base to chill thoroughly overnight before churning. This not only enhances the flavors but also contributes to a creamier consistency.
- Splash of Liqueur– Take your ice cream to the next level by adding a bit of peppermint liqueur. It not only boosts the peppermint flavor but also makes the texture super smooth, preventing the ice cream from freezing to firm. Of course, if serving children eliminate this ingredient.
- Freeze After Churning– After your ice cream maker works its magic, transfer into a freezer container that has a tight seal or one specially made for ice cream. Let it chill in the freezer for at least 4 hours before digging in to make sure it freezes up well.
Steps To Take Before Making This Peppermint Ice Cream Recipe
Making homemade ice cream is a multi-day process, so here are some steps to streamline the approach and ensure timely completion.
- Plan Ahead with Ingredients– If making this recipe outside of the holidays, candy canes will have to be special ordered. Make life simple and purchase these crushed candy cane pieces.
- Freeze Bowl– Many ice cream makers come equipped with an insulated freezer bowl that requires pre-freezing for several hours before use. To avoid the risk of forgetting to freeze the bowl when needed, a simple practice is to store it in the freezer during periods of non-use.
- Account for Multiple Batches– Depending on the number of people be served, multiple batches may need to be made. Consequently, additional time may be needed to ensure the completion of the entire quantity.
- Heavy Cream– Heavy whipping cream adds a rich and creamy foundation to the ice cream.
- Whole Milk– Whole milk has a more moderate fat content compared to the heavy cream. This helps to balance the richness of the heavy cream.
- Granulated Sugar– Sweetens the ice cream, providing the perfect balance of sweetness without overshadowing the other flavors.
- Crushed Candy Canes– Brings in another layer of peppermint. Additionally, adding some at the very end of churning brings in a delightful crunch and texture.
- Egg Yolks– Egg yolks play a crucial role in forming a custard base through the cooking process, ultimately resulting in a velvety and creamy texture for the ice cream.
- Peppermint Extract– Peppermint extract serves as the primary flavoring agent, imparting a distinct and refreshing peppermint taste to the ice cream.
- Vanilla Extract– Vanilla extract complements the peppermint, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile of the ice cream.
- Peppermint Liqueur– Enhances the flavor and aids in achieving a smoother texture, as alcohol disrupts the formation of ice crystals.
- Red Food Coloring (optional)- Red food coloring, if chosen, enhances the visual appeal of the ice cream, giving it a festive pepperminty touch.
How To Make
- Beat egg yolks and half the sugar until pale and thickened.
- Heat cream, milk, and remaining sugar over medium heat until warm.
- Add crushed peppermint candies to the warm mixture, melt, and remove from heat.
- Temper egg yolk mix with warm peppermint milk.
- Cook until thickened, stirring constantly but do not boil.
- Stir in extracts and food coloring.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Add liqueur to chilled base.
- Churn in ice cream maker.
- Freeze with extra candies for at least 4 hours.
- Chocolate Swirled Peppermint Ice Cream– Melt high-quality dark, milk or white chocolate and drizzle into the ice cream during the last minutes of churning.
- Chocolate Chip Peppermint Ice Cream– Stir in mini chocolate chips in addition to crushed candy canes in the last few minutes of churning.
- Peppermint Mocha Fusion– Mix in a shot of chilled espresso or strongly brewed coffee along with crushed peppermint for a peppermint mocha-inspired treat.
- Cookie Dough Peppermint Ice Cream– Integrate chunks of edible sugar cookie dough to add a delightful texture contrast to the smooth peppermint ice cream.
Store freshly churned peppermint ice cream in an airtight freezer container with parchment paper pressed onto the surface for added protection or in an ice cream container. Seal tightly, label with the date, and place in the coldest part of the freezer. For optimal freshness, consume within 2-3 weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use peppermint oil rather than peppermint extract?
Yes, you can use peppermint oil instead of extract, but it is stronger. Start with a small amount, like 1/4 teaspoon for every teaspoon of extract. Mix well, taste and add more if needed. Be careful not to use too much, as it’s potent.
Do I need an ice cream maker?
While an ice cream maker is preferred for the best texture and consistency, you can still make peppermint ice cream without one.
Follow the recipe up to churning in an ice cream maker. Instead, transfer the chilled base into a shallow pan. Place the dish in the freezer and wait until the edges start to freeze. Take the dish out and vigorously stir the partially frozen edges into the center. This breaks up ice crystals, creating a smoother texture. Continue freezing and stirring every 30 minutes until the ice cream reaches your desired consistency. This might take 2-4 hours.
How finely should I crush the candy canes?
Aim for small, bite-sized pieces that will disperse evenly throughout the ice cream, providing a pleasant crunch without dominating the texture. However, the easiest way to go is to buy pre-crushed candy canes.
Can I use natural sweeteners or sugar substitutes?
Unfortunately, substituting sugar for other sweeteners will affect the texture and sweetness of the ice cream. Because of this, I recommend to stick with granulated sugar.
How long does it take for the ice cream to freeze completely in the freezer?
Freezing time varies. Generally, it takes 4-6 hours for a scoopable consistency. For best results, freeze overnight or around 8 hours.
Can I use non-dairy milk alternatives?
Yes, you can use non-dairy milk alternatives like almond, coconut, or soy milk. Be aware that this might alter the flavor and texture.
More Festive Holiday Recipes
Peppermint Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup crushed candy canes *see Note #1 below
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons peppermint liqueur *see Note #2 below
- 4 drops red food coloring *optional
- Add egg yolks to a medium-sized mixing bowl along with half of the sugar. Whisk vigorously or beat with a hand mixer until the mixture becomes pale and slightly thickened, approximately 2-3 minutes. Set aside. *See Note #3 below.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, whole milk, and remaining sugar. Stir until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
- Add the crushed peppermint candies to the warm cream mixture. Stir until the candies are mostly melted and the mixture is infused with peppermint flavor. Remove from heat.
- Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring in 1/2-1 cup of the warm peppermint milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. *See Note #4 below.
- Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Do not let it boil.
- Remove the custard from heat and stir in the peppermint extract and vanilla extract. If you want a pink hue, add a few drops of red food coloring and mix until well incorporated.
- Refrigerate the mixture, covered, for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Stir in the liqueur to the chill ice cream base. Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions until it reaches a soft-serve consistency.
- Transfer the churned ice cream into a lidded container, layering it with extra crushed peppermint candies if desired. Freeze for several hours or until firm.