Fashonistas eagerly anticipate the September issues of fashion magazines; I eagerly anticipate the Williams-Sonoma holiday catalog, filled with all sorts of goodies that a gluten-free girl like myself can’t actually eat.
Should they ever develop a pill to make it safe to occasionally indulge in gluten, I’m going to go hog wild one year with the lobster mac and cheese, mini beef wellingtons, and chocolate croissants.
But until that day comes, I’m stuck with the gluten-free items in the holiday catalog, including their peppermint bark which has become a holiday favorite of mine over the past couple years. And since my willpower seems to go into hiding anytime peppermint bark is around, I try to find ways to extend its life by incorporating it into other desserts, like this peppermint bark ice cream.
Here, chunks of peppermint bark get swirled into a subtle peppermint flavored ice cream. It’s reminiscent of one of my favorite holiday treats growing up- Friendly’s Peppermint Stick ice cream.
And I’m now in the market for some peppermint schnapps. I’m thinking a schnapps-spiked peppermint bark affogato would be pretty killer on a lazy winter morning. When you add espresso to ice cream, it makes it OK to have for breakfast, right?
Peppermint Bark Ice Cream
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
* 3 cups half and half
* 6 egg yolks
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
* couple drops red food coloring (optional)
* 1 cup chopped peppermint bark
* whipped cream for topping (optional)
* chocolate fudge sauce for topping (optional)
* crushed candy canes or extra peppermint bark for topping (optional)
Pour the half and half into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Warm until steam begins to rise from the surface; remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. While whisking constantly, gradually add several ladles of the hot half-and-half. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens and can coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes.
Pour the custard through a medium-mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Add a couple drops of red food coloring to get the desired color of pink. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (if you’d like to speed up the process you can place the bowl over an ice bath). Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Just before the cycle is complete, add the chopped peppermint bark and continue processing just until it is blended into the ice cream. Transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Serve with whipped cream, fudge sauce and crushed candy canes, if desired.