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Thin Mint ice cream

When my sister and I were little, we were friends with three brothers whose parents owned a Baskin-Robbins. Once in a while they’d invite everyone over to the shop for unlimited free ice cream. As we watched their mom scoop mountains of rainbow sherbet and jamoca almond fudge, the rest of us kids thought about our engineer and accountant parents and wondered where we’d gone wrong.

The other day I stopped by Grange Hall Burger Bar in the West Loop — not for a burger, but because I’d heard their monthly ice cream special was Girl Scout Thin Mint. I don’t need to tell you how good it was because it’s a no-brainer. What truly impressed me was that it perfectly blended our favorite ice cream flavors growing up: mint chocolate chip for me, cookies and cream for my sister. So I re-created this treat in homage to childhood BR binges, when calories didn’t exist, and the Yapp brothers, wherever they are now.

Grange Hall Burger Bar Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream. Not mine! I wish!

My ice cream recipe is really easy. It doesn’t use a custard base, mostly because I didn’t want to spend the time on one, so it doesn’t have that wonderfully silky texture. Besides, the best thing about homemade ice cream is (nearly) instant gratification. But if you’d like to cook a custard, try this recipe by Martha Stewart (which mine is based on); just omit the vanilla and add peppermint.

Thin Mint ice cream
makes 1½ quarts

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional; I think it rounds out the flavor)
1 sleeve Thin Mints, roughly crushed

Combine the cream, milk, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the extract(s) and mix thoroughly. Freeze ice cream according to your machine’s instructions. The ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve at this point. Mix in the Thin Mints. Transfer to freezer until the ice cream reaches desired consistency. If it’s rock solid, let it defrost for a few minutes to soften up before serving.

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