I love the dichotomy of dark chocolate and fresh mint.
On one hand, you have the deep, rich weightiness of the chocolate. On the other, the breezy lilt of the tingly mint.
Put them together and you get the best yin-yang: one ingredient so devilishly decadent it can’t help but lure you in, and the other so fresh and vibrant, it clears your palate to egg you into enjoying another mouthful — and yet another — of chocolate.
Chef Sarah Rich of the wildly popular Rich Table in San Francisco knows this. Trained in both the savory and sweet side of the kitchen, she knows just what is bound to tempt.
That’s why I couldn’t have been happier when I asked her to contribute a recipe to my debut cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Lyons Press), and she chose “Mint Chocolate Sable with Mint Chocolate Cream & Iced Milk.”
It was one of the first recipes I tested. (Hey, I’m no fool!)
Think of this as a fanciful yet rustic version of an ice cream sandwich. (You see why I wanted to try this one right off the bat.)
A tender chocolate cookie dough, imbued with mint extract, is rolled out, baked, then cracked by hand into fun, irregular pieces. Iced milk is churned in an ice cream maker. It tastes of pure milk with a smooth texture that’s not quite as heavy as other ice creams. The mint chocolate cream is thick and velvety like chocolate mousse only with a splash of mint extract. Fresh mint leaves garnish the dessert, adding another whoosh of brightness.
Don’t be alarmed by the multiple steps in this recipe. The iced milk can be made one day, the mint chocolate sables another and the mint chocolate cream yet another day.
In fact, the various components can be enjoyed on their own, if you didn’t want to fuss with making all of them. The iced milk can be scooped onto cones or into bowls with fresh berries. The mint chocolate sables can be nibbled on just as they are. And the mint chocolate cream? I’ll let you in on a secret: It’s pretty darn amazing just eaten by the spoonful out of the bowl. Oh, yeah.
Mint Chocolate Sable with Mint Chocolate Cream and Iced Milk
(Serves 8 )
For the iced milk:
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup milk powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the mint chocolate sable:
8 ounces 70% chocolate, cut into small pieces, frozen
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, or 3/4 teaspoon kosther salt
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the mint chocolate cream:
8 1/2 ounces 66% chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the garnish:
Fresh mint leaves, torn
To make the iced milk: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all ingredients. Mix on low speed just until the mixture is smooth, without any gritty bits. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate overnight.
(While you’re at it, make sure the 70% chocolate for the sable is in the freezer, too.)
The next day, process the milk mixture in an ice cream machine, according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a lidded container, and place in freezer for a couple of hours to firm up the ice cream. Makes about 1 quart.
To make the mint chocolate sable: Take the 70% chocolate from the freezer and grind it in a food processor to form tiny pieces. Set aside.
Stir together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in salt and peppermint extract. Add flour mixture, beating on low speed until just incorporated. Add chocolate pieces, and mix until evenly incorporated.
Dump dough out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use your fingers to press the dough into a thick rectangle. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour to allow the dough to firm up.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove dough from freezer, unwrap, and place on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press or roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are firm and center is set. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
When completely cooled, use the edge of a spatula (or your hands) to break cookies into irregular pieces about 2 by 3 inches.
To make the mint chocolate cream: Place chocolate in a large bowl with a fine sieve positioned over it. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over moderately low heat, combine milk and cream, and heat just until small bubbles start to appear on the surface, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. Slowly pour in half of the cream mixture, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan that has the remainder of the milk and cream. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in peppermint extract, gelatin, and salt. Pour warm milk-cream mixture through the sieve onto the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute to allow chocolate to melt. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and uniform.
Allow to cool for a few minutes. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until using.
To serve: Place mint chocolate cream in a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized pastry tip. (Or place in a resealable plastic bag, then snip off one corner to create your own pastry bag.) Pipe a small amount of cream onto the center of each serving plate. Place a piece of sable on top, so that the cream acts as a glue to hold it in place. Pipe 6 dollops of cream, each about the size of a Hershey’s Kiss, onto the edges of the sable. Take another piece of sable (this will be the top, so choose one that looks good) and pipe another 4-6 dollops of cream onto the top. Set aside.
Scoop a large spoonful of the iced milk and place it in the center of the bottom sable so that the cream dollops surround it. Carefully pick up the top piece of sable and rest it on top of the iced milk, gently pressing the sable onto the iced milk so that it adheres slightly. Garnish with torn pieces of fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.
From Sarah Rich of Rich Table as published in the “San Francisco Chef’s Table” by Carolyn Jung
Another Fabulous Ice Cream Sandwich to Try: Peanut Butter Dream “Ice Cream” Sandwiches