The holidays have come and gone once more, and I’m finding myself left with far too many candy canes. I could throw them out and feel guilty about the waste. I could put them away with the ornaments and hang them on the tree again next year. (Hey, it’s not like they’ll go bad!) Or I could turn them into a cool, creamy treat that’s perfect for enjoying while sitting by the fire.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 8 to 12 candy canes (about 5 ounces), crushed
- Prepare ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. This varies widely, but you’ll likely need to freeze part of it for at least 24 hours.
- Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat until small bubbles just begin to appear around the edges. The mixture will be between 170ºF and 180ºF. Remove from heat.
- While mixture is heating, pour remaining cup of cream in a large bowl set in an ice water bath. Place a mesh strainer in the bowl.
- Whisk egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring some of the heated mixture into the yolks while constantly whisking. Return the mixture and heated yolks back to the saucepan.
- Place the saucepan back over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. The mixture should be between 170ºF and 175ºF. Don’t go over 180ºF or you’ll overcook the eggs.
- Pour the mixture through the strainer set in the bowl of cream. Add the peppermint extract and continue stirring until the mixture is cool.
- Place mixture in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions. Mine has an opening at the top, so I can start the motor before pouring. This reduces the amount that gets stuck to the sides before it’s churned.
- Let the mixture churn until nearly at the desired consistency. Again, this will vary by machine, but mine takes about 20 to 25 minutes to reach this stage.
- Add the crushed peppermint candy and continue churning just until incorporated.
- Enjoy the ice cream straight from the machine (it will be a bit soft), or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for several hours for a firmer ice cream.
The ice cream can be stored in the freezer for approximately one month.
This ice cream is custard based, which means it contains eggs. If you have an egg allergy, you may want to give this recipe a try instead. Replace the vanilla extract with 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and replace the strawberries and 1/4 cup of sugar with the crushed up candy canes.
If you can’t get your hands on candy canes, any kind of hard peppermint candy will do. I do recommend sticking to the traditional white candy with red stripes, however, as the red color from the candy will tint your ice cream a pretty shade of pink. I find the easiest way to crush the candies is to place them in freezer bags, then give them a couple of whacks with the flat side of a meat tenderizer.