Guest Post: Mint milk with chocolate ice cubes

Our guest post this week comes from Meredith of Garden in the South. Meredith is a talented cook, wife, and mother of two adorable children. She is our College Archivist and Information Resources Librarian. Jack and Meredith work together at the library and I’m so grateful they do because I have had the pleasure of getting to know her these past 2 years and she is fabulous! She cans, cooks, bakes amazing baklava and so much more. Please be sure to head over to her blog and show her a bit of love today.

First of all, I’d like to thank Tiffany for asking me to guest post! I blog (such as it is) at Garden in the South, but not nearly as often, or with as much focus as I’d like. C’est la vie, for now. But I love The Kitchen Curtains, and everything Tiffany posts I think, “Oooh! I want to try that!” So this is an honor.

The other day, my friend Sarah sent me a link to this [Vanilla Milk with Chocolate Ice Cubes]( en “Le Petrin”) at Le Pétrin (Google translates this as “Trouble.” That seems an apt title, given the deliciousness of this recipe, and how much of it I want to drink.) I had to make it immediately, but first I had to go to the store for some chocolate (because all of mine was old and chalky looking) and instant coffee powder (which I generally do without, but often wish I had). I considered Via, because it’s better, but went with Maxwell House, because I think it’ll mix in more completely, being that it’s freeze-dried. Via, which I’ll drink in a pinch, is super-finely ground, and so doesn’t dissolve well. Also, it’s crazy expensive. So $2 jar of Maxwell House it is.

I also did not have a vanilla bean. Sarah used one for her Vanilla Milk, and I suspect it’s essential. In something this simple, extract might be a bit harsh. I also live far from my spice purveyor of choice, and definitely couldn’t wait for shipping. But I do have a beautiful pot of fresh mint, and very fond memories of a Fresh Mint-Chocolate Truffle Tart I’ve made a few times. Mint is refreshing, of course, and perfect for summer, but the herbal quality of the fresh mint steeped in the cream is a little unexpected and wonderful. So I decided to go with Mint Milk, instead. And I’m so very glad I did. I’m sure the Vanilla Milk is wonderful, but the Mint . . . Seriously. This might become a staple in my refrigerator. The Chocolate Ice is nice – it melts into the milk, and I think it’d be good in all sorts of drinks. But it was all my husband and I could do not to drink the milk right up, and make more immediately.

So here’s the recipe. I was going to be all helpful and do the metric-American conversion, but then I realized my handy 2-cup Pyrex has mls on the other side, and I’ll bet yours does, too.

For the Chocolate Ice:

200 ml milk

50 ml water

1 T instant coffee

1 T unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t sugar

70 g dark chocolate, 66% (I used a combination of 82% and 60%, because I forgot to write down what I needed before I went to the store, and was thinking I was looking for 77%. It worked out ok.)

Whisk the coffee, cocoa powder, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Whisk in the milk & water, and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking often. Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate, and put into heatproof, pourable vessel (I used the aforementioned 2-cup Pyrex.) Pour hot liquid over chocolate. Let stand a few minutes, and whisk smooth. (The original suggests a wooden spoon, but I’m pretty excited about my new 4-inch whisk, so I used it.) Pour into ice cube tray, and freeze. This made 12 cubes for me.

For the Mint Milk:

600 ml milk (I used 500 ml 1%, which is what I had, with 100 ml 1/2 & 1/2 for richness. I think I’d just use the 1% next time – I’m not sure the creaminess added that much.)

60 g sugar (about 1/4 cup)

8-10 sprigs fresh mint

Heat the milk & sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When milk is very hot and sugar dissolved, remove from heat, toss in mint sprigs, and cover. Let steep half an hour or so (I forgot to look at the clock when I started, which, of course, I didn’t realize until some time later.) Remove mint, and chill. I poured it through a strainer into a Mason jar, but there wasn’t really anything to strain out.

To Serve:

Place 2-3 cubes chocolate in glasses, and pour milk over. This recipe makes 4 servings (at three cubes each, and milk divided 4 ways.) I think next time, I’ll double the milk, and use 2 cubes per serving. We had a hard time sipping slowly enough to let the chocolate melt in, and ended up topping off with regular milk (and a splash of Bailey’s) just so we’ll have more Mint Milk left for tonight. But, seriously, the Mint Milk? You must try it.