You definitely should not make this ice cream. It’s pretty dangerous.
First of all, as you’re banging away on the candy canes trying to crush them to the right consistency, you’re going to look up to find your dog cowering in a corner, terrified by the noise.
Second, you’re probably going to find yourself craving this at all hours of the day and night. Which is fine, except for the fact that I could barely take these pictures because all I wanted to do was stick my face in that bowl. And it was 10:30 a.m. Yes, I may have a remarkable sweet tooth, but I think you’ll experience a little of this feeling.
Third, making this ice cream may require you to scour your entire town for a combination of heavy cream and candy canes that you apparently can’t find together anywhere right after Thanksgiving. I had no idea. I ended up having to go to three separate stores in order to find candy canes and heavy cream, and I still ended up forgetting white sugar (which is why this calls for brown sugar — but I actually like it).
Fourth, it calls for food coloring. Oh my god. Artificial coloring, you guys. It’s against everything I stand for. Apparently. It also has five egg yolks in it, which probably means you’re going to have a heart attack immediately after tasting it.
So yeah. Just don’t make it. It’s totally not worth the effort — especially once you’ve taken that first sweet, creamy, peppermint-infused bite and realize you’ve just distilled the essence of Christmas into a frozen treat.
Trust me. You don’t want to know what you’re missing.
- 2 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup whole milk (I used the kind labeled “Vitamin D)
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tsp pure peppermint extract
- Red food coloring (you may omit this if you like — though your brown sugar will turn the mixture a little off-white)
- 8 standard candy canes, crushed to oblivion
- If you like, prepare an ice bath. Take a large bowl and put a slightly smaller bowl in the center of it (the small bowl should hold at least 2 quarts). Fill the gap with ice and cold water. Pour heavy cream into the smaller bowl.
- (You may skip this step, but it will make for a longer chilling period. Your call.)
- Heat milk, salt and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the milk starts becoming warm. While this is happening, whisk the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl.
- When the milk is heated, gradually and very very slowly begin pouring the warm milk mixture into the eggs, whisking quickly. BE PATIENT WITH THIS. You are slowly bringing the eggs up to the milk’s temperature, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs floating in sugar milk. I paused a few times just to whisk and make sure everything was going okay. Once most of your milk is in the eggs, scrape that mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat.
- Cook this mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula and you begin to scrape a thicker layer off of the bottom. Take this mixture and pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into the heavy cream. Stir stir stir stir!
- Whisk in peppermint extract (a little more to taste, if you like) and food coloring, if desired. If using an ice bath, stir mixture until cooled, then remove the smaller bowl from the ice bath and place in fridge for a few hours or overnight. If not using an ice bath, you will stir the mixture thoroughly, then place the bowl in the fridge for at least four hours, stirring when you can, but preferably overnight.
- When thoroughly chilled, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (My Cuisinart took about 25 minutes). About two minutes before the ice cream is complete, pour in candy canes and allow to blend thoroughly. Remove from machine and serve as-is, or freeze for several hours to firm it up.
- By all means, do not melt a bunch of chocolate and pour that over the top. Nor should you add a scoop of this to hot chocolate. That would be a big mistake.