Lemon Mint Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Chips

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Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chip

Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips

This cool, breezy, creamy combo is perfect for the adventurous frozen dessert lover in search of novel flavor sensations. Lemon zest, fresh mint, tangy yogurt, and a custard base indulge the palate, while chocolate chips punctuate the experience with familiar deliciousness…Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips.

The inspiration

It probably won’t come as a surprise that this unique flavor combination began with a unique inspiration. My orchid-collecting and botanist extraordinaire friend Dave Janas posted a photo of the stunning Stanhopea occulata. He said it had a “complex fragrance that varies from nose to nose. I got mint chocolate chip ice cream crossed with lemon lysol…”

That intrigued me, and I was struck by the fact that the flower even looks like Dave’s description of the fragrance. And so the idea for lemon mint with chocolate chips was born. I made it a frozen yogurt because the cool, refreshing flavors blend so nicely with the tang of yogurt, but it would make a fine ice cream, too.

Stanhopea occulata, the inspiration for lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips.

Stanhopea occulata, the inspiration for lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips.

The technique

You can make great soft serve frozen yogurt simply by blending strained yogurt, sugar, and fruit or flavoring, but the texture is extremely crumbly when frozen to a harder, scoopable dessert.  I wanted something with a smooth texture that would store well in the freezer and scoop like regular ice cream. That is accomplished in this recipe by blending strained yogurt with a custard base. For a really smooth texture, you will need an ice cream maker. I swear by the one I’ve been using for many years: Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, White

The ingredients

As with so many other recipes, I learned the hard way that subtlety is a good thing. At first I used too much lemon and mint, and steeped the mint for way too long.


Be sure to use only the yellow part of the skin, because the deeper white portion can be bitter. I grate carefully with a fine grater.


I use fresh common mint from the backyard garden, the same kind you find in the produce section of most grocery stores. It has more of a spearmint flavor, rather than peppermint. In fact, I tried making it with peppermint extract, and it just didn’t mix well with the lemon. So, if you prefer to use an extract rather than fresh mint, use spearmint extract: OliveNation Pure Spearmint Extract 8 oz., and don’t overdo it. I would start with 1/8 tsp, adding after mixing the strained yogurt with the custard base. Taste it, and add more if desired.

The yogurt

Straining yogurt

Straining yogurt

I think this is best with a really tangy yogurt, but use whatever you like. I use whole milk yogurt, and cannot promise great results with low fat or fat free.

The recipe calls for strained yogurt because it has a much lower water content, which makes for a smoother, creamier dessert. You can buy already strained “Greek” yogurt, or strain regular yogurt yourself, through 6 layers of cheese cloth and a fine mesh strainer set on a large bowl. I pull the ends of the cheese cloth together and tie it closed. Put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight to let the whey drain out. Don’t waste the whey. You can drink it, use it in soup or in baked goods, or check out some additional uses for whey here.

The chocolate chips

You can use ready made chocolate morsels, or, for a slightly softer chip that doesn’t get rock hard in the freezer, try this simple recipe:

  1. Melt 4 oz of semisweet or dark chocolate.
  2. Stir in 1 and 1/2 tsp mild tasting vegetable oil, and pour onto an aluminum foil lined plate.
  3. Spread to a circle about 7 inches in diameter.
  4. Freeze for 30 min, or refrigerate for longer.
  5. When completely firm, break into small chunks.

Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips

Makes about 1 quart

Steeping the lemon zest and mint leaves

Steeping the lemon zest and mint leaves

  • 3 large to extra large whole eggs
  • Grated zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, torn leaves of common mint
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup tapioca syrup (can use corn syrup, but high fructose corn syrup is too sweet for this recipe)
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 1 and 1/2 cups strained, whole milk yogurt (I use whatever quantity I get from straining 1 quart of yogurt. The yield varies from brand to brand.)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (see above)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until yolks and whites are blended. Set aside.
  2. To a 3 or 4 quart heavy bottom sauce pan like this one: All-Clad Stainless 4-Quart Saucepan, add zest, cream, milk, sugar, syrup, and salt. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Cover the pan and let steep for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the torn mint leaves and let steep for 15 minutes more.
  5. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean 3 or 4 quart saucepan
  6. Return to a bare simmer over medium high heat.
  7. Remove from heat, and temper the eggs by slowly drizzling about 1 and 1/2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, while whisking the eggs constantly.
  8. Carefully pour the egg/cream mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture.
  9. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, preferably with a heat proof spatula like this: Rubbermaid Commercial Products 1963 Scraper for High Heat, 13-1/2″ Long (though a wooden spoon will do), scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Cook until mixture becomes noticeably thicker than the raw cream, and reaches a temperature of about 170-175 degrees F.
  10. Remove from heat and place in an ice water bath for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  12. Mix together the strained yogurt and custard base until there are no lumps.
  13. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  14. Transfer to a 1 quart freezer container, stirring in the chocolate chips as you go.
  15. Store in freezer for at least 2 hours for a scoopable consistency.
Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips

Lemon mint frozen yogurt with chocolate chips

Shared on: Real Food Fridays #33, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays #18, Homesteaders Hop #8, Simple Life Sunday #13, Homestead Barn Hop #155, Mostly Homemade Monday #75, Thank Goodness it’s Monday #66, Natural Living Monday, Backyard Farming Connection #76, Tuesdays with a Twist #54, Tasty Tuesday, Down Home #84, HomeAcre Hop #66, Weekend Re-Treat #63, Saturday Night Fever #34, Weekend Recipe Link Up #7


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