Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream

Matcha green tea and fresh mint marry bittersweet chocolate in this homemade ice cream recipe.

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When people complain about having lovely herbs like mint and lemon balm overtaking their gardens, I want to hit them. With no outdoor space save a 1-foot-square fire escape, and no gardening talent to speak of, I often dream of tending a lush garden filled with edibles that actually grow rather than getting savaged by aphids and dying. It’s a bit like that pesky friend who complains that she “just can’t seem to gain weight” and wolfs down a plate of nachos and a large pizza in front of you while you pick at a salad and stare angrily at her CGI-like waistline. But unlike the effortlessly thin, green-thumbed friends can actually serve a purpose other than to simply annoy the crap out of you.

Case in point, my buddy Calvaleigh, creator of the best cocktail in existence, sent us home with a giant bag of Moroccan mint that is currently taking over her enviable vegetable garden. We’ve been using the sprigs to garnish Mumbai Mules, to steep into Matcha Mint Juleps, and to blend into this, our new favorite ice cream.

I’m a long time fan of matcha ice cream, with its silky texture and bright green notes with a hint of bitterness, and mint chip is an all-time favorite of both mine and Jay’s. Inspired by a couple of scoops enjoyed from Bi-Rite, I decided to combine the two. Enzo kindly sent me half a pound (!!) of the green stuff, so I churned some up into this ice cream. (And gave a bunch to Sarah who is a matcha maven!)

To incorporate the mint, I use a technique I learned during my pastry chef days wherein the mint is blanched, shocked, squeezed, and blended into the base. This delivers maximum color and flavor. Scribbling the chocolate into layers of ice cream results in pleasantly uneven chips that shatter and crunch before melting into chocolatey bliss. I have David Lebovitz to thank for this method.

Matcha pairs well with both mint and chocolate, and this dessert strikes a nice balance of the three.  A touch of peppermint extract sharpens the mint notes bringing it up to the same level as the matcha. I like the freshness that mint adds to rich ice cream, and matcha’s slight bitterness blends beautifully, all offset by earthy bittersweet chocolate. We can’t keep our spoons out of the ice cream jar when this stuff is around.

Ice cream takes a bit of planning ahead, but once you get going, it’s actually one of the more simple desserts to prepare. Homemade ice cream is always tastier than the store-bought stuff – denser and less sweet – and the sky’s the limit in terms of flavor options. I can’t imagine life without an ice cream maker. If you’re on the hunt, I really like my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer attachment.

I love how the interwebs get overtaken by green and boozy treats for the holiday tomorrow, so here are some favorites from the archives appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day. Cheers!

Raw Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cups

Matcha Mint Juleps

Oatmeal Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Sandwiches

DIY Irish Cream Liqueur

Stout Sticky Toffee Puddings

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

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Screaming for:
Black Sesame + Dark Milk Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
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Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream

One year ago:
Miso-Roasted Asparagus and Pickled Carrot Sushi Bowls
Two years ago:
GF Chocolate Banana Buckwheat Muffins 
Miso Harissa Roasted Carrot and Two-Potato Salad 
Three years ago:
Irish Coffee Ice Cream
Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie
Irish Soda Scones 

Four years ago:
Gluten-Free Apple Crisple
Potato, Leek and Celeriac Soup
Five years ago:
Salted Pecan Candy Cap Sables 
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Milk Tapioca Pudding

Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream

Ice cream is simple to make, but do allow yourself several hours for chilling various stages of this recipe; most of the time is hands-off. Matcha comes in different grades, and the less expensive stuff intended for cooking and baking works fine here. Peppermint extracts can vary in strength so you may wish to add it drop by drop to taste if using a different brand. To churn the ice cream, I’m fond of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer ice cream making attachment, available here

Makes about 1 quart

1 1/2 cups (350 ml) heavy cream
4 teaspoons matcha (green tea powder)
1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces / 50 grams) organic blonde cane sugar
pinch salt
leaves from 1 large bunch mint (1 cup packed)
1/4 teaspoon natural peppermint flavor (such as Frontier)
4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao mass), chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and matcha until combined (it’s ok if it’s lumpy – we’ll smooth it out later).

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar and salt until combined. Heat the milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan until hot and steamy, swirling occasionally. Whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Return the pot to the stove and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a flexible heat-proof spatula, until the custard begins to “stick” to (form a film on) the bottom of the pot and/or registers 170ºF on an instant read thermometer. Immediately pour the custard into the cold matcha-y cream to stop the cooking. Cover and chill until cold, 2-4 hours or overnight.

When the custard is cold, bring a small kettle of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl partway with ice and cool water and place the mint leaves in a strainer. When the water comes to a boil, pour the water over the mint to wilt it, and immediately plunge the wilted leaves into the ice bath. Drain the mint and squeeze dry.

Place the wilted and dried mint leaves in a blender and add half of the ice cream base. Blend until very smooth, gradually adding the rest of the base. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the solids to extract all the good stuff. Stir in the peppermint flavor. Chill the mixture again until very cold, 1-2 hours and up to overnight.

Place a loaf pan or other vessel in the freezer to chill. When the ice cream base is cold, churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream churns, place the chocolate in a small, heatproof bowl set over a small pot of steaming (not simmering) water. Stir until just melted and let cool slightly. The chocolate should be cool but drizzleable by the time the ice cream is done churning.

Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and drizzle some of the melted chocolate over the bottom and sides. Spread 1/3 of the ice cream over the chocolate, and drizzle with more chocolate. Repeat until you’ve used up all the ice cream and chocolate, then freeze until, well, frozen, a few hours. When firm, scoop and serve!

Store the ice cream tightly covered and with parchment paper pressed directly onto the surface to discourage ice crystals from forming. Enjoy within a month or so.

66 thoughts on “Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream”

  1. OMG. Matcha maniac is more like it;) Also – did you know that mint is my favorite ice cream??? So basically what I'm saying is this ice cream is screaming my name. I'll be making this just as soon as I pick up more matcha (can you believe I went through that entire1/4 pound already?!). Also – my jaw is ON THE GROUND from that smoke shot. Gah!! You are my hero.

  2. You're so funny, you made me laugh (and spit out coffee!!) this morning while reading points 1 + 2! Also can you please teach me photography? You're photos are always so stunning and those steam shots are amazing. I am absolutely putting my ice cream cannister back in the freezer tonight so I can make this soon. I love your tip for getting the most out of the mint, and basically everything about this!

  3. OMG. This is gorgeous. The photos of blanching mint? I need to learn that method!!! It looks amazing and I love the way you captured all the steam in your shots. I'm so in love with your photography. Matcha + mint work so well together. I just made matcha mint panna cotta, so when I saw your post I was like YESSSSS.

    1. Aw, thank you Betty!! Currently obsessed with all your photos and recipes, especially that panna cotta!!! Let's get together and take pictures sometime!

  4. Where do I start? First, recently conducted a friend survey on 'old school ice cream favorites' and mint chip is a winner so I dove right in. Then got sidetracked looking at awesome clothes, Cinderella's waist (should I go see the movie or is that just wrong?), the KitchenAid ice cream attachment I've been admiring for quite some time, gin grapefruit drinks… and where was I?

    Oh yeah, this awesome looking ice cream.

    Can spend days wandering around your food, stories and pictures. Thanks for being you~

    1. I have a weird obsession with the waist, too, haha. This is the kindest note ever, I got a little choked up reading it. Thank you so much, Katherine. :)

    1. Hi Caroline! I think that the blanching helps prevent oxidization when the ice cream is pureed which would preserve both the color and flavor, though I don't know the science behind it. Hope that helps!

  5. I posted a matcha mug cake today! I've seen so much matcha lately that I decided matcha is the new mint–but having both is better than just one.

    Beautiful photos as always. If you ever decide to teach a photography class, sign me up!

  6. Mint choc chip is my little sister's favourite! I wonder how she'll enjoy the update? I can't wait to try this out, and I love that there are no food dyes involved. The lush floral earthiness of the mint and chocolate are always a winner, and I've never tried matcha before so I'm looking forward to trying this one out!

  7. All the time I have always been speechless by your gorgeous post, Alanna, but this one is just WOW!!! (If I am comfortable cursing, I would have thrown "F" word in the sentence. hahaha)

    LOVE all those photos, esp. the 'pouring hot water to the mint' one.
    You are truly talented, my friend. :)

  8. What a lovely recipe, the flavors sound so wonderful together! I love matcha too and I can just imagine how beautifully it compliments the mint and chocolate. Your images are just breathtaking, as always! <3

  9. Your photography is literally perfect. That steam!

    I love this flavor combo too–mint chip is my very favorite, too. So nice to have an opportunity to amp it up in a sophisticated way!

  10. Alanna, your photos are just too too beautiful. I've been admiring them all week — so gorgeous! And you've sold me on matcha and mint together. I need to try this so soon. I love the "scribblings" (best description ever) of dark chocolate to make chips, too! Amazing.

    1. Well that's exactly how I feel about all your photos Cynthia. I'm always inspired by your gorgeous light and styling. Thank you for the kind words – that means so much coming from the likes of you. :)

  11. I'm literally drooling over these photos, not only because of the amazing flavor combo, but also because of the styling! It's just PERFECT! I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw the steam photos. Just pure gorgeousness.

  12. Gahhhh….this is so amazing Alanna….And this phrase made me become so intellectually (baking wise) awake!!! "the mint is blanched, shocked, squeezed, and blended into the base." That's legit stuff right there. ;) I love the comparison of the friend who never gains weight and complains, hahhaa!! My husband doesn't mind being on the slender side but he always complains he's going down a pant-size every 6 months. -_-

  13. I like the "Oatmeal Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Sandwiches" very much. But it seems not easy to make the ice cream. Anyway, I might just bake the biscuit and use the ice cream that bought from stores. :)

  14. We love matcha and stracciatella but mint, not so much. If we take it out, do we need to add anything else? Also, is this ice cream on the bitter side (as the little sugar would suggest?) We like both bitter and sweeter matcha desserts, but we were looking for a sweeter matcha ice cream base this time. I guess we should just add more sugar then?
    (By ‘we’ I mean me and my sister…we are both matcha lovers but she is the bigger fan)

      1. I just made this and was sister-approved. It actually was pretty sweet even with the little sugar, and the final result looked beautiful.

        One question: have you ever tried cooking with catnip (nepeta cataria)? It’s actually some lind of mint and it has a matcha-y smell. I use the essiccated leaves for my 3 cats, but its smell intrigues me. I heard once the English made a catnip tea, so it shouldn’t be dangerous to cook with. I don’t like mint, it’s one of the very few things I don’t like, but I wonder if maybe I could try replacing it with catnip…or maybe I’m just beyond saving…

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