Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Gluten Free Easily

Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Gluten Free Easily

This recipe post is the kickoff of SSS … a Suite of Sweets for Sweethearts. With Valentine’s Day this coming weekend, I thought it would be fun to share a variety of sweet recipes this week. Hopefully, you’ll find one to share with your sweetheart—whether that sweetheart is a significant other, a child, a friend, or anyone you want to feel loved.

When you saw that title, you may have thought that this recipe would make a better St. Patrick’s Day recipe instead of a Valentine’s Day one. I thought of that, but really I didn’t want to keep this recipe from you any longer. Mint chocolate chip ice cream is a favorite of many (including me!) and my version has a surprise ingredient. (I love surprise ingredients.)

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream GFE

I bought my ice cream maker late in the summer and I haven’t put it away for the winter. Admittedly, it’s been on a bit of a hiatus of late, but ice cream can still be enjoyed in cold weather. Mint chocolate chip ice cream is not just a favorite of mine; it’s my absolute favorite ice cream. If you gave me some for Valentine’s Day, that would definitely say love to me! And, maybe it’s the kid in me, but I really like the green varieties. They always taste better to me than the white versions, which also look rather blah. However, I know that food coloring is not a good thing, so I’ve been pondering a much healthier version of mint chocolate chip ice cream for some time.

We had a support group meeting a few months ago where a few of our members made green smoothies for all to sample. One member, Jennifer, made a green smoothie using bananas, spinach, and water. It was such a lovely pale green and the taste was mild and delicious. Everyone who sampled it just loved the taste. I found both its taste and color so very appealing and it kept surfacing in my mind, but I wasn’t sure why … at first. Then another member, Sharon, mentioned her love of mint chocolate chip ice cream in an email discussion on dairy-free ice cream (and my Snickerdoodle  ice cream). It was after that conversation that I realized why those pale green smoothies kept popping into my head. A little bit later, I came across Katrina’s (Gluten Free Gidget) chocolate mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe. Katrina’s ice cream looked wonderful and I immediately made a quick version using chilled coconut milk (versus prechilling whole recipe) with honey (and without xanthan gum). We enjoyed it very much, but by definition, sadly, it was not green. Working on the success of that version though, I came up with this recipe for Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. It’s naturally gluten free, and dairy free, if dairy-free chocolate is added. It’s also refined sugar free if peppermint extract is used versus peppermint schnapps. (I don’t think any liquor is considered refined sugar free.) I love this ice cream. It’s green, and it’s delicious! And, I’m sure you’ve surmised what gives it its natural green coloring … 

Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)

2 3/4 cups full-fat coconut milk, chilled

2/3 cup honey (to taste, can use slightly less)

1/8 cup fresh spinach (the surprise ingredient! I used baby spinach leaves and discarded the stems)

1 tbsp peppermint schnapps (or 2 tsp peppermint extract)

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (use only about 1/2 cup if using regular-sized chocolate chips)

Mix ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender until there are no visible particles from the spinach leaves. Pour into ice cream maker. Churn for 20 minutes. Add chocolate chips and churn another 2 minutes until chips are mixed in.

Shirley’s Notes: I’ve learned from my fellow bloggers and experimentation that adding alcohol to ice cream ensures creaminess and less crystallization. I usually used Nestle Toll House semi-sweet mini morsels, which contain dairy. However, Enjoy Life chocolate chips are dairy free; another option is using a dairy-free chocolate bar that you’ve crushed into small pieces. The beauty of making ice cream without eggs is you can keep tasting your mix until you get a taste you like. This recipe made a pale green mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was so pale that I had a hard time getting photos that showed the green properly. But, in reality, it was a lovely color and the ice cream had a light, minty flavor enhanced by the little bits of chocolate.

I told Mr. GFE about the surprise ingredient in this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream after he sampled it and murmured his approval. “Spinach? I am Yam what I Yam!” he said (that last part in his best Popeye voice, of course). Then he proceeded to happily eat his bowl of ice cream. This ice cream is irresistible to me. There is no spinach taste. (Mr. GFE would not have eaten it if there had been.) I know there’s not enough spinach included to really provide much in the way of nutrients, but that’s not really the point with this recipe. The main thing is my beloved, green Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream can be made easily (gfe! and dairy free easily—dfe!) without food coloring. It’s heavenly all by itself, but this ice cream would also make a very special topping for one of my chocolate desserts like 3-minute chocolate cakes, Mediterannean chocolate cake, or Katharine Hepburn brownies.

Hope you’ll follow along this week to check out all the sweet treats! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for The Spunky Coconut Cookbook on my Out and About page here.

One last thing, and an important one … Lauren, who we all know and love as Celiac Teen, has finished her very generous ebook effort to raise money for Haiti’s earthquake recovery. Her ebook is titled A Hand for Haiti. It’s a compilation of 87 recipes from 71 bloggers who have shared the recipes that mean home to them. Please check out the details here to see if you’d like to purchase it and provide support to the Haitian people at the same time. I’m one of the bloggers who provided a recipe and I was so happy to be able to provide that tiny bit of input. Full credit for this awesome project goes to Lauren! Frankly, she just rocks, and I think it’s so timely that she just finished the ebook as we approach Valentine’s Day. As the song goes, “Think of your fellow man. Lend him a helping hand. Put a little love in your heart.”

Not just gf, but gfe!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Amy’s Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free and Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix–Coconut Milk, Friday Foodie Fix–Honey, and Friday Foodie Fix–Wine and Spirits.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


37 Responses to “Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream”

  1. Ali @ The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen on February 8th, 2010 12:30 am

    Shirley, what a fabulous idea to add fresh spinach. I love your natural food coloring ideas! I often use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric to give lemon desserts a lovely yellow hue. I had never thought of spinach for green. Spirulina powder also works for green, though the end result is not as bright; a rather dull green.

    Lastly, Lauren’s ebook sounds fabulous. Somehow I missed that she was doing this and didn’t add any of my recipes. What a fabulous way to raise money!

    -Ali :)

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 7:19 pm

      Hi Ali–Thanks! Natural food coloring just makes sense, doesn’t it? Natural coloring used to be used for everything, of course, even our clothes. :-) Turmeric is a good one, but I’m glad you mentioned it because I would have thought that lemon desserts would have been yellow enough on their own. What a wonderful way to give them that extra splash of color … the safe way!

      So sorry you missed out on contributing to Lauren’s ebook. She has been working nonstop on it. It’s just such a great endeavor!


  2. Katrina (gluten free gidget) on February 8th, 2010 7:44 am

    Spinach?! I love you and am doing this!

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 7:24 pm

      LOL, Katrina … now I know what makes you happy! I can’t help but think there’s a whole other big group that thinks we’re a bit off our rockers. ;-)


  3. Alta on February 8th, 2010 2:52 pm

    Wow – spinach! How freaking cool. Gotta try this on the hubby. And not tell him about the spinach.

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 7:36 pm

      Hi Alta–Chuckling here! I love how some of us just think this is the neatest idea ever. ;-) I’m not usually a proponent of disguising foods, but in this case, it’s fun to see if they suspect anything. Of course, they don’t, but it makes for a lovely, healthy mint chocolate chip ice cream. Can’t wait to see what you think!


  4. Pam on February 8th, 2010 3:45 pm

    Looking yummy Shirley….like all this snow we are having….he he!


    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 8:33 pm

      Hi Pam–Nice to know you are back from your blogging break! Looks like it was restorative. ;-) I know all of your fans (including me!) are glad.

      I wasn’t happy with the one photo, so I took another … guess where? in that snow you speak of … more to come of that tomorrow! Too late in the day to get the optimum shot, but I like it better than the previous one I had posted. If only our photos could all show the wonders we see with our eyes. LOL


  5. Jennifer R. on February 8th, 2010 5:34 pm

    Shirley, happy I could be of help in the inspiration department :)
    This looks wonderful — we will make it soon (i have all the ingredients on hand).
    Stay warm — calling for 5 more inches of snow tomorrow night — ugh!

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 9:22 pm

      Hi Jennifer–You are always very inspiring … in more ways than one! :-) I think you’ll all enjoy it. You need to get dueling ice cream makers to have enough for your crew. ;-)

      I took another photo of this ice cream in the current snow bank outside our door and posted it because I wasn’t happy the first one. That snow was enough though. I’m a snow lover, but I’m ready for it to stop now! This one is messing with the usual weekend schedule, which was actually working out fairly well as far as the work schedule.

      Stay warm and safe! :-)


  6. Lauren on February 8th, 2010 7:42 pm

    The spinach sounds like an awesome addition!! Thank you so much as well for mentioning the ebook. I can’t believe how many are selling!

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 9:28 pm

      Hi Lauren–Thanks! It makes it green and doesn’t taste any different, so it’s a winner. ;-)

      It was my pleasure to help out in a very small way with this great project. Woohoo on successful selling! I’ll be purchasing my copy before the Feb. 12 match deadline. :-)


  7. Kristy on February 8th, 2010 10:40 pm

    This sounds great, added bonus that it is vegan as I’m vegan and g/f

    I made a similar one here:

    but I love the use of spinach, one question is the coconut flavour strong?

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 11:04 pm

      Hi Kristy–Welcome to gfe! :-) It actually occurred to me today that I should have marked this recipe vegan. Need to do that … thanks for the reminder. So glad it’s a recipe that works for your diet. Your ice cream looks delicious, by the way!

      To me the coconut flavor is subtle, but I know we all have different preferences. I’d give it a try and see what you think. If the coconut flavor is too strong for you, some chocolate syrup topping (make with cocoa, etc.) might help balance the flavor to better suit your taste. ;-)

      Hope you enjoy and please report back. :-)


  8. Chaya on February 8th, 2010 10:56 pm

    You really are amazing. I would never have thought of spinach. Mint Chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream.

    I never got my ice cream maker. I got an immersion blender instead and I use it almost every day so it was a good choice.

    I will just watch you make these great ice creams and I will keep saying, “immersion, immersion.”

    You reminded me that I have to get my Haiti post up. There is a bloggers badge that one can get. I have to check where. Anyone who is interested, let me know and I will give you the information.

    Thanks for letting me use your comment form. That was not my intent but you reminded me.

    I will behave.

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 11:53 pm

      LOL, Chaya … no worries. I’m sure everyone appreciates hearing about the blogger badge related to Haiti.

      Thanks so much for your kind words on my spinach surprise! My mind works in mysterious ways sometimes. ;-)

      I think you should request an ice cream maker for your next notable occasion or look on Craigslist, etc. for a slightly used one. You’d have a blast coming up with new creations! :-)


  9. SnoWhite on February 8th, 2010 11:52 pm

    that looks wonderful! I’ve got it bookmarked.

    • Shirley on February 8th, 2010 11:57 pm

      Hi SnoWhite!–Nice to see you here again at gfe. :-) Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it.


  10. Sharon M. on February 9th, 2010 4:33 pm

    I cannot wait to try this ice cream! Thanks for thinking of me. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have to add to a previous reply that I cannot taste the coconut flavor at all. Just a rich, creamy taste.


    • Shirley on February 10th, 2010 11:32 am

      Hi Sharon–So good to see you! I think you’ll love this ice cream. I really appreciate you adding the comment about the coconut milk. I don’t really taste it either. If I really think about it hard (LOL), I can perhaps detect a little of its taste. But mostly I taste rich, creamy goodness like you said! :-)



  11. Jennifer R. on February 12th, 2010 6:15 pm

    Shirley, made this ice cream this week — it was gobbled down fast by all!! Excellent and so easy to make!! I think I would double it next time for our family of five. I’ll send you the picture of Ryan getting every last bit out of the container — too funny!

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2010 11:34 pm

      Hi Jennifer–So glad you made this ice cream that you inspired. ;-) What a testimonial! Yes, I’d love to see that photo of your son getting the last little bit. This amount would be hard to share among five folks. Do they make a bigger ice cream maker? :-)

      Have a great Valentine’s Day weekend!


      • Jennifer R. on February 16th, 2010 4:57 pm

        I did recently buy another insert for the freezer so I could make two batches back to back. Your recipe only seemed to fill up halfway on my ice cream maker, so I think I could double it, and it may still fit in one batch. I’ll have to try it and let you know (I have the 1 1/2 quart one, i think). Hmmm… let me go put 2 cans of coconut milk in the fridge now :) LOL!

        • Shirley on February 16th, 2010 10:47 pm

          Jennifer–Another insert is a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Interesting that it filled your IC maker halfway. I think mine was full and it’s the 1 1/2 qt one. Hmmm, will have to pay strict attention on the next batch.

          Yes, it’s smart to keep one’s coconut milk chilled .. just for ice cream. ;-)


  12. Heather Eats Almond Butter on March 23rd, 2010 8:21 pm

    I love adding spinach for color. Who needs fake food dyes? :)

    Ice-cream sounds wonderful Shirley. So minty fresh!

    • Shirley on March 24th, 2010 2:07 pm

      Hey Heather–Great to see you! Ah, someone else who has learned the value of spinach. :-) No, on fake dyes here. The ice cream is delicious. Hope you give it a try some time! ;-)


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