Don’t you just love the smell of fresh mint? Whether it’s in a cocktail, mixed into a fruit salsa, or growing in the garden, that fresh scent and taste hits the spot.
Have you ever tried growing mint in your garden? If you have, you know it is amazingly easy and actually will take over if you’re not careful, but what’s better than a fresh handful of mint leaves whenever you want?
And there are so many varieties to choose from. Peppermint leaves are wonderful dried and steeped in hot water to make a simple, d’lish tea. And there are so many tasty varieties – Chocolate Mint, Pineapple Mint, Lemon Mint, Orange Mint… even Lime Mint that is perfect when muddled into mojitos!
Also, for you cat lovers out there, remember catnip is a mint too. So careful planting mint, unless you want to attract every kitty in a quarter mile!
As the weather gets warmer, cool off with my Fresh Mint Ice Cream. Nothing beats nibbling on fresh made ice cream under a shady tree!
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.
With the Kentucky Derby coming up mint juleps are on the horizon… oh yea! If you plan on hosting a Derby party, try making a batch of my Spiked Iced Tea Punch. Fresh mint pairs well with white whiskey, black tea, fresh juices, and brown sugar.
So get minty with it in your garden this year! –Kathy
Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Mint Candies
I like to serve this garnished with a bit more chopped mint candy and a fresh sprig of mint.
Makes about 4 cups
4 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups packed mint sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
6 egg yolks
1 cup coarsely chopped Chocolate Mint Candies (recipe follows) or Frango Mint candies
Combine the cream and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan. Tear the mint sprigs (to bruise them) and add to the cream mixture. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the cream. Whisking constantly, bring to a bare simmer and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk frequently to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Strain the mixture and discard the mint leaves. Stir in the chopped mint, then pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the ice cream is finished, stir in the chopped candies. Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze until ready to serve.
Chocolate Mint Candies
Makes 24 nice-sized pieces, or enough for 1 recipe of ice cream plus 12 extra pieces of candy
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 Tbsps. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl or double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, salt, and extract together over a pan of barely simmering water, whisking until the chocolate is just melted. Remove from the heat, sift in the confectioners’ sugar, then stir to combine well. Spread the mixture in an 8-inch square baking pan.
Let cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours, or refrigerate to harden faster.
To remove the candy from the pan, invert the pan onto a piece of plastic wrap or a cutting board, lay a hot towel over the pan bottom for about 1 minute, then tap the bottom of the pan. Loosen the candy with a spatula if needed. Cut the candy into 24 pieces to serve as candy, or coarsely chop to use in ice cream. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.
Spiked Iced Tea Punch
Punch is the perfect party cocktail! For a more-spiked interpretation, let guests add a little more whiskey to their individual drinks. For summertime sipping add in a few slices of fresh peach or nectarine. For a demo on how to make this, check out this episode of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen.
Makes about 8 cups, enough for 10 to 12 servings
6 very large sprigs fresh mint
3 tea bags black tea
3 cups boiling water
1 cup ice water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups Woodinville Headlong White Dog Whiskey
Poke the cloves into the orange, then cut it into 3 slices. Put the orange slices, mint, and tea bags in a heatproof pitcher or bowl. Add the boiling water, let steep for 1 hour, then remove the tea bags.
Add the ice water, juices, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, add the whisky, and chill until ready to serve. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Garnish as desired.
Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps.