If you can't decide between serving cake and pie on Christmas, offer a totally different treat: ice cream sundaes! With homemade peppermint ice cream and a super rich hot fudge sauce, this childhood favorite becomes sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy. The ice cream must be made in advance, so you can start on this today. To get guests involved, consider setting up a sundae bar with the ice cream, sauce, and other delicious treats like fudgy brownies or chewy sugar cookies. Check out the recipe after the break.
Peppermint Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy Sundaes: Hot fudge sauce Whipped cream
Candy canes, optional for garnish
Make the peppermint ice cream: Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Make sure the sugar and salt completely dissolve.
Pour the cream into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and place a medium-mesh sieve on top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden or heatproof rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes.
Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Then stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
One the mixture is thoroughly chilled, add peppermint extract, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting the mixture after each addition, until you reach the desired level of peppermintiness. (Different peppermint extracts vary in strength.) Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Once the ice cream has been formed in the ice cream maker, it will be fairly soft. Fold in the crushed peppermint candy. Put in an airtight plastic container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.
To assemble the sundaes: scoop several large spoonfuls of the ice cream into a festive serving bowl. Drizzle liberally with the hot fudge sauce. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream, garnish with a candy cane, and enjoy!