Really more of a concept than a recipe, this never fails to please in my house. This mint-infused ice cream makes a refreshing accompaniment to a dense chocolate cake, and it's also fantastic sandwiched between two homemade chocolate chip cookies. If you're a purist who thinks that chocolate and mint should never co-mingle, you can rest assured this ice cream is great all by itself. —Merrill Stubbs
6 to 8
homemade or good store-bought vanilla ice cream
crushed candy canes or starlight mints (I like to smash them up in a heavy duty plastic bag with a rolling pin but you can also use a food processor)
Soften the ice cream at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Scoop it into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the ice cream on low speed for about 30 seconds, until it starts to become smooth. (If you don't have a standing mixer, you can use a bowl and a wooden spoon -- just be ready for a bit of a workout!)
Add the crushed candy canes and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract to the bowl and continue to beat on low speed just until these are combined with the ice cream. Taste and beat in more peppermint extract if the peppermint flavor is too faint. Quickly transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and return to the freezer for a couple of hours before serving so it can re-harden.