If you’re like most people, the mere sight of candy canes hanging cheerfully in a store window display is enough to get you into full Christmas mode. You may well find yourself purchasing them on the spot, regardless of whether you actually have plans for them. (Never fear; you will.) During the winter months candy canes are a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot chocolate, or crushed and mixed into holiday fudge. However, that cool, bracing taste goes equally well with summer’s classic treat: ice cream.
Ice cream in some form has been around for literally thousands of years—and no wonder: It’s hard to imagine a more perfect summer treat. While you can certainly make peppermint ice cream in an ice cream maker, we’re suggesting an old school alternative. Making ice cream in a bag is a perfect low-tech summer activity with kids on a scorching day—with the added benefit that they can eat the tasty results.
Elf Squad Fun Fact: Peppermint is actually a hybrid, a cross between watermint and spearmint, but the word “mint” supposedly comes from Greek mythology. Legend has it that Hades, god of the underworld, became smitten with a nymph. Hades’ wife Persephone wasn’t too happy about this and transformed the nymph into a plant. Her name — Minthe.
Candy Cane Ice Cream Ingredients
- 2 cups half and half or milk, any kind
- ½ cup sugar, or to taste
- Candy canes or peppermint candies (These should be crushed ahead of time. Put them in a baggie, seal it tightly, and crush them with a rolling pin.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. peppermint extract
Candy Cane Ice Cream Special Equipment
- Mixing bowl
- Gallon size freezer bags
- Quart size freezer bags
- Rock Salt (Note: Yes, you can make this without rock salt, but it won’t freeze as fast or achieve the same creamy consistency. Please be careful when handling rock salt, especially if wet. We recommend gloves!)
Candy Cane Ice Cream Recipe
Mix the milk or half and half, sugar, and crushed candy canes / peppermint candies in the mixing bowl.
Transfer to the quart-size freezer bag. Make sure it’s tightly sealed.
Fill the gallon-size freezer bag about halfway with ice. Add a half cup of rock salt. Shake it well. (Kids enjoy this part.)
Open the large bag and place the smaller bag (with the ingredients) inside it.
Push out any excess air by laying the bag down and pressing on it.
Seal it up TIGHTLY.
Now shake the bag on and off for 5-10 minutes. As you see ice cream forming, you can also put it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. Then take it out and keep shaking it until the mixture has a creamy, ice-cream-like consistency. (Again, kids really enjoy this part.)
When it’s done, take the small bag out of the larger one. Carefully discard the salt and water, and quickly rinse off the outside of the bag with the ingredients in cold water. Make sure it’s sealed first.
Serve the ice cream with the toppings of your choice!
Elf Squad Recipe Note: You can also add almost any toppings to the ice cream in a bag. Next time try putting some mini chocolate bits for a chocolate mint flavor!
Be sure to check out some other holiday favorite recipes straight from The Elf Squad Kitchen!