Peppermint Oreo Ice Cream

When my youngest brother went away to college a few years ago, he picked up a pretty serious Oreo-eating addiction. Somewhere along the way, he graciously passed it along to me, making Oreos a standard item in my pantry and a frequent ingredient in many of my sweet creations.

A personal favorite of mine, this peppermint Oreo ice cream is a slight variation on my vanilla bean recipe. It’s base is a sweet cream base that I use all the time, adding in whatever I have on hand and pretending it was all planned.

If you have a peppermint lover in your life this is the perfect treat! The Oreos add a nice crunch to an otherwise super creamy ice cream. As a note, when working like extras like Oreos, it is important to wait until right at the end of the ice cream making process to add them in because we want the batter to be thick enough to support them. No one wants to make it through a pint of peppermint ice cream only to find that the oreos have sunk to the bottom of the container during the freezing process.

While I’m on the topic of ice cream, I thought I would touch on the ‘egg’ factor. There is some controversy about whether including eggs in homemade ice cream is really necessary. While there are alternatives, the truth of the matter is that eggs play a critical role in homemade ice cream - acting as an emulsifier much as they do in mayonnaise. Basically, the more eggs in the recipe, the creamier the ice cream will be and the longer it will last in the freezer without crystallizing.

Do you need to cook the eggs before making ice cream? Probably. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises heating your ice cream mixture to an internal temperature of 160 degrees fahrenheit to eliminate any chance of salmonella contamination. On the other hand, the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cookbook includes an egg-based recipe that doesn’t call for cooking the eggs and many vocal internet-users have declared that by sourcing their eggs from local farms they trust, they are safe from any sort of contamination. At the end of the day, it is a personal decision but cooking the eggs will always be the safer choice, regardless of where you are sourcing your eggs from.

Working with egg yolks requires a consideration of what color you want your ice cream to be. The more egg yolks you add, the more yellow your ice cream. It is all about striking a balance and finding your personal preference. If you want to know more about figuring out the right amount of eggs, Serious Eats did an experiment a few years ago to find out what people truly prefered. In their words: “Is there a magic ratio of eggs to dairy that we should use? The short answer: not really.”


Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups of Oreos (about one row of Oreos in a three-row pack)

Recipe

  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar together vigorously for about 1 - 2 minutes
  • Add the milk followed by the heavy cream to a saucer over medium heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit
  • Slowly pour cream mixture into egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly
  • Add batter back to saucer over medium heat until internal temperature returns to 160 degrees fahrenheit
  • Once desired temperature is achieved, remove from heat and mix in peppermint extract
  • Place batter in freezer to completely cool before adding to the ice cream machine, 4 - 5 hours (or overnight)
  • Put batter in ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions
  • While the ice cream batter is in the machine, chop up the oreos to the size of your liking
  • A few minutes before the ice cream is ready, add in the Oreos

*Ice cream lasts about a week when stored in a sealed container in the freezer