I adore Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream and was happy to find this recipe in The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. In days of yore, every Christmas our mother would drive to the nearest Howard Johnson’s, on Route 11 in Greenville, Virginia, and buy 2 quarts of Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream. Tasting it now transports me to magical childhood Christmases.
Howard Johnson’s was one of America’s first restaurant chains, predating McDonald’s. Howard Johnson’s restaurants had orange mansard roofs and turquoise cupolas. They offered table service, clean bathrooms, and reliable food. A big attraction was 40 flavors of ice cream, including Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream.
In later decades when driving from Chapel Hill to Staunton or camp, we would stop in “Lunchburg” at the Howard Johnson’s on Route 29 for ice cream. I always got Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream even in summertime.
When you make Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream, don’t be tempted to use candy canes with red and green stripes. Red and green combine to make brown, which doesn’t look so attractive. Stick to red and white candy canes.
I must point out that this recipe doesn’t really replicate Howard Johnson’s Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream. I don’t know how they did it, but each bit of candy was cradled in a semi-liquid puddle of candied sweetness. Still, any kind of peppermint-stick ice cream is a delicious treat that celebrates the Christmas season.
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk (whole)
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup peppermint candy (about 8 6-inch candy canes,) crushed
Heat the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan until sugar and salt are dissolved (don’t let boil). Set the cream in a bowl nested in a larger bowl of ice. Place a sieve on top of the bowl with the cream. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour in the warm milk mixture while whisking constantly (take care not to scramble the eggs – this is why you temper them with the warm milk slowly). Pour the contents back into your saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium flame and stir constantly with a spoon or spatula. It’s good to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan so you don’t get uneven cooking. Do this for about 5-7 minutes until you get nappe consistency (coats the back of the spoon). Pour the custard through the sieve into the cream. Stir to cool over ice and then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Once mixture is chilled, add peppermint extract to your desired taste. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the ice cream is done in the machine, stir in your candy and then store in an airtight vessel and freeze.