We are on day 475,938 of a heat wave, and this time I’m sure it’s not just the East Coast that’s sweating it out. I believe I saw a news report yesterday that said there were only five states in the country that didn’t have temperatures in the 90s. As you may well remember, I’m not a fan of heat or heat waves. Bleh.
What’s better to cool down with than a nice bowl of ice cream? Well, maybe some oh-so-refreshing iced coffee, of which I’ve had two glasses this morning. But all this week, I needed ice cream. Read: needed. Here’s the rub, though. I do not have an ice cream machine/maker/slow churner/thing to spin cream whilst simultaneously freezing it. One can only make so many watermelon and lime granitas (which are delicious), but I had a hankering for dairy in the deep freeze. So, I turned to Nigella, and the woman has completely changed the way I view ice cream. COMP-LETE-LY.
Let’s dissect ice cream for a moment:
1) Ice – frozen
2) Cream – dairy, which, when whipped up, also serves as a perfect topping for ice cream
Well, what would happen if you were to whip up some cream (ie, make whipped cream), and then freeze it? You would have iced cream, or ice cream! The process of whipping the cream while it’s still liquid (but still very cold) is actually simulating the “churning” that would otherwise take place in an ice cream maker. What am I saying? I’m saying that if you essentially make a flavored whip cream, you can throw that sucker in a tub, freeze it overnight, and the next day you’ll have ice cream. I’m not even playing. But there are tricks to making this technique work.
Alcohol. You know it. You love it. You blame it for post-barbecue headaches. In this method of making ice cream, you need it. Why? As anyone with a bottle of vodka in the freezer can tell you, alcohol doesn’t freeze. So, when you mix in alcohol (specifically, a lovely flavored liqueur) with the heavy whipping cream, you’ll get the intense flavor of the liqueur, but once the ice cream comes out of the deep chill, you won’t have rock-hard crystalized cream snowballs. The alcohol keeps the texture soft, creamy, and just sooooo right. For this no-churn mint chocolate chip ice cream, I went the mint route, and used creme de menthe. But, you could easily take this method and make whatever kind of ice cream you want. Take a walk down the liqueur aisle at your liquor store and see what flavors you think would work best. Hazelnut, anisette, espresso, Irish cream (ooooohhhh)…
I made this ice cream in the bowl of a stand mixer, but if you have a lot of stamina and the upper arm strength of an Olympic weight lifter, you could easily just do this in a large bowl with a whisk. This whole recipe was also only five ingredients. Score for simplicity! I used a pint of heavy cream, one 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup creme de menthe, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.
A few final things to keep in mind:
1) I used peppermint extract, not mint extract. The peppermint extract is 89% alcohol, and thus has a much stronger pure mint flavor.
2) I know 1/2 cup of creme de menthe sounds like a lot. I originally tried this using 1/4 cup, but I wasn’t getting that intensely soft sea-foam pale green color I wanted.
3) When you start to whip all the ingredients together, they will never whip up quite like plain whipped cream will. This is because of the sweetened condensed milk, which is just milk that had all the water evaporated out of it and replaced with sugar. The milk is very dense and heavy, so it weighs down the cream. You’ll still be able to get a nice whipped consistency and texture, but you won’t ever get stiff peaks, and that’s perfectly OK. They’re not needed here.
Ice cream is life uber simplified, and when you can make it without heavy machinery using nothing more than a bowl and whisk (or stand mixer, if you fancy that), well, what more can you ask for?
I hope you try this over the weekend, and please please please let me know what other flavor combinations you’ve thought up. From now until Labor Day, I’m making it my personal mission to stock my freezer full of fun ice cream flavors. Ah, priorities.
This no-churn mint chocolate chip ice cream contains five ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and doesn't require an ice cream maker.
- 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 16 oz. (or 1 pint) heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup creme de menthe
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), add the sweetened condensed milk and heavy whipping cream. Start mixing slowly, just to incorporate the two ingredients into each other. If you start mixing too fast, you'll get heavy cream everywhere.
- Once they've combined, mix on medium-to-high speed until the cream starts to get thick. It will never get stiff peaks like plain whipped cream because the milk is very dense, but the mixture will begin to thicken and form light ribbons. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the creme de menthe and peppermint extract.
- Continue mixing at medium-to-high speed for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture should look pale green and somewhat thick.
- Turn off the mixer and using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips. When they're all incorporated/folded in, transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe airtight container.
- Freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 8 hours. For the best texture, freeze it for 24 hours.