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.)
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
- 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.
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.
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.”