Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Archive for December 2009

Cinnamon Scoops!

I ended up making this ice cream the day I caught a flight to Orlando for Christmas vacation. I had intended to showcase it as a Christmas flavor, but didn’t have the time unfortunately. Not that Cinnamon Ice Cream is exclusively for the holidays, but this ice cream tastes great on top of all sorts of seasonal desserts! From chocolate cake to apple pie, Cinnamon Ice Cream is a genial sort of fellow who seems to be compatible with just about everyone. And even if you have nothing to accompany it, don’t write off Cinnamon Ice Cream as boring or bland. It is really, surprisingly delicious and satisfying. It is a classic and simple favorite!

Little sticks of flavor!

Part of the simple genius of this recipe lies in the use of real cinnamon sticks to flavor the base. You coarsely crush up about five 3 inch cinnamon sticks and add them to a warm milk/cream mixture. Then you just take the mixture off the heat, put the lid on, and let the whole thing sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry and ripen. The result is a cinnamon flavor thats sweet with just the mildest touch of heat.

Cinnamon au naturel.

I also add about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon after I finish cooking the ice cream base. It boosts the cinnamon flavor, and adds a nice speckly color not unlike the look of vanilla bean ice cream. I also think it gives the ice cream a slightly grainy “mouthfeel” that I enjoy. It’s not dissimilar to the textural feel that cocoa powder gives to ice cream, but if you prefer a smoother ice cream feel free to omit it. Just add more cinnamon sticks in the beginning half of the recipe.

Cinnamon swirly!

This ice cream is a no brainer because it tastes like the classic combination of cinnamon/sugar. I think that sometimes in our quest for new flavors we overlook how truly great time honored flavors can be. Cinnamon Ice Cream is one such flavor, and can be adapted in many different ways. So try it this winter, either alone or atop one of the season’s many pies, cakes or crisps. Either way it’s a foolproof winner, and a recipe I think you’ll find useful and versatile for years to come.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ingredients:

 1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

5 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

5 cinnamon sticks, coarsely crushed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.)    Place milk, cream and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the barest simmer for a few minutes and then cover the mixture, take it off the heat, and let it steep for 1-3 hours.

 2.)    After steeping, strain out cinnamon sticks. Heat the cinnamon milk mixture in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

 3.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add both sugars. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

 4.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add cinnamon milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-7 minutes.

 5.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and ground cinnamon and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

With Cinnamon Ice Cream, the sky’s the limit on sundae combinations! One of my favorites would have to be Cinnamon Ice Cream, drizzled with a whisky caramel pecan sauce (Perfect Scoop author David Lebovitz has a great recipe!), caramelized apples and whipped cream. If you’re a fan of Mexican chocolate, try it with hot fudge or as a part of a brownie sundae!

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Even better than the drink!

Eggnog is such a rich and uniquely Christmassy flavor that it really just begs to be turned into an ice cream flavor. Even as a drink, it’s practically an ice cream base already with its copious amounts of cream and egg yolks. And the flavors of nutmeg, rum, bourbon, and vanilla encased in a rich yellow custard were even more delicious in ice cream form. Try it alone or on top of a wide variety of holiday cakes and pies and you’ll be sure to impress guests with this twist on a classic!

You've got to break an egg to make some Eggnog Ice Cream!

I know that looks like a lot of egg yolks, but it is Eggnog Ice Cream right? You really need a few extra yolks to give it that unmistakable rich, custardy eggnog flavor. You’ll have quite a few egg whites left over, but I usually put them to good use and make an angel food cake. Which actually would taste great with a scoop of Eggnog Ice Cream on top!

Freshly ground nutmeg.

I’ve talked about this before, but whenever possible it always make a big difference to grind your own fresh spices. I think we all tend to think that spices can’t ever go bad, but they can. And if you’re spices have been there years, they are probably stale at best and rancid at worst. And with a spice grinder it’s just seconds to some amazing flavor! In regards to the liqueurs in this recipe, I used dark rum and bourbon, but feel free to switch them out if you’d like. I looked at many different recipes when I decided to make this flavor and every recipe was different. Some of the most common liqueur’s used were rum, bourbon, brandy, and even grand marnier and anisette.

A happy ending!

This was a really rich and complex Christmas treat that my whole family loved. It really did taste just like eggnog, except better. Pretty much anything turned into an ice cream is better, come to think of it! Merry Christmas!

Eggnog Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk

2/3 cup sugar

7  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 tablespoons dark rum

      1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.     Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-6 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, nutmeg, vanilla extract and liqueurs and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.  

 Make it a sundae!

I think that this ice cream would taste fabulous with a bourbon-caramel sauce drizzled over the top. Add plenty of toasted pecans and whipped cream!

Another great Christmas flavor!

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….”

You can finish the rest, I’m sure! This ice cream might seem unconventional to anyone from America, but it’s a staple in France and all over Europe. Sweetened chestnuts in desserts in general are very common in the old country. And for good reason- they taste delicious! I wasn’t sure how this ice cream was going to taste but I ended up loving it. It ended up being an interesting, sweet and nutty flavored ice cream with great Chestnut flavor. Chestnuts are also so deeply evocative of the Christmas season. They spark warm memories of Christmas eves spent by the fireplace singing Christmas carols- even if those memories never happened! It’s just the perfect ice cream flavor for Christmas.

Nutty and sweet, just like me!

I recently found out a interesting piece of history on chestnuts in America. The reason why they are so ubiquitous in Europe and foreign here is that in the early 1900’s there was chestnut blight that effectively wiped out every American chestnut tree. The blight was accidentally introduced through imported chestnut lumber and by 1940 there were no surviving chestnut trees left. If the blight hadn’t happened, who knows, chestnuts might be as popular here as they are in England, Italy and France. In fact, when looking at recipes from before the blight, chestnuts were a commonplace ingredient.

My own personal bowl of ice cream!

This recipe calls for pureed, unsweetened chestnuts which can be a bit of a devil to locate. I found mine at a specialty food store. I’m pretty sure they carry them at Whole Foods, so you should check them out too. I’d used marrons glaces, or candied chestnuts, previously when making this recipe, but comparing the two I prefer the use of the unsweetened puree. I think it gave the ice cream a stronger and cleaner Chestnut flavor while allowing me to be in control of the sweetness levels.

Way better than roasted chestnuts.

This ice cream flavor surprised me by really standing out as one of my favorite flavors. I think I’m going to have to make it a new Christmas tradition, actually. I also think I might start cooking with chestnuts more in both sweet and savory applications. It’s flavor you just have to try for yourself, and what better time than Christmas!

Chestnut Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups whole milk

 1 ½ cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

¾ cup unsweetened chestnut puree

1 tablespoon rum

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1.) Combine heavy cream and milk in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.    Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-7 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and chestnut puree and puree until smooth in blender, making sure lid is on very tight. Transfer to a bowl and add rum and vanilla extract, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

 If you’ve never tried chocolate and chestnuts together than you’re in for a great treat! It’s a classic combination that’s a Christmas tradition in many European countries. Try this ice cream with this delicious Salted Milk Chocolate Sauce from Food and Wine Magazine and Chef Matthew Rice:

MILK-CHOCOLATE SAUCE

  1. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. 1 cup high quality milk-chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger
  6. 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, such as Maldon

 

1.) Make the milk-chocolate sauce: In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream and cocoa powder to a simmer. Cook over moderately high heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pitcher and let stand until cooled slightly, about 30 minutes. Stir in the salt just before serving.

 Lighten up!– To lighten this recipe you could easily convert this recipe into a gelato by reducing the heavy cream to a ¼ cup and filling the rest in with whole milk.

A cake made into ice cream!

I was inspired to make this ice cream after looking at a recipe for a very popular Pear and Dried Cherry Frangipane Cake from the December 2003 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. Here’s the link if you’re interested in the cake-

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pear-and-Dried-Cherry-Frangipane-Cake-108972

The cake was listed as a part of a Christmas Tree Trimming Party and I thought it looked so perfect for Christmas with its copious nuts and fruits sparkling like plump jewels. I knew I had to see if I could ice-creamify it! I made an almond flavored ice cream base and then added some amaretto macerated dried cherries and some pears lightly sauteed in a bit of butter and a light sprinkling of cinnamon. I actually haven’t made the cake yet, but I’m proud to say that this ice cream twist on the original was very delicious and complex!

The almond infused base.

The word “frangipane” simply refers to any recipe with almonds as the base. Most of the time, an Italian almond paste is used. For my recipe I wanted to infuse the flavor of almonds right into the base of my ice cream. I ended up steeping some toasted almonds with the milk and the cream and then pureeing the mix in a blender before straining the almonds back out. I’ve used this method before in my Hazelnut-Frangelico Ice Cream, and it’s a great way to infuse the base of your ice cream with a rich, nutty flavor. It’s a little extra effort, what with the steeping and the pureeing and all, but the results are completely worth it!

Almonds and cherries and pears- Oh my!

 I wanted to give the dried cherries in this recipe some moisture and extra flavor so I boiled and then let them sit in some Amaretto. This process, also know as maceration, made the cherries plump and juicy and prevented them from freezing rock hard in the ice cream. You could use any alcohol for the maceration process, but Amaretto worked particularly well here as it’s an almond flavored liquer. The Amaretto flavor married very well with both the roasted almonds in the base and the dried cherries.

A Tree-Trimming Ice Cream!

 This ice cream is another great choice for the Christmas season. The flavors of roasted almonds, buttery pears and juicy, Amaretto soaked cherries were perfectly complementary to each other. I think next year I’ll make this ice cream with the cake it was inspired from and serve them together as part of my own tree trimming party! Somehow the nuts and the dried fruits and pears say “Christmas” in a way that seems to be etched into our collective psyche. Like our need for fruitcake at this time of year, despite the fact that almost no one seems to like it! So use that old fruitcake as door jamb or a bookend or an anchor for your yacht and make this fresher and more vibrant homage instead. Season’s Greetings!

Frangipane Ice Cream

 Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, toasted

3 cups half and half

½ cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1/3 cup Amaretto or other almond flavored liquor

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1 ripe pear

¼ cup dried cherries

pinch of cinnamon

pat of butter

1.)    Place 1 3/4 cups toasted almonds and half and half in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the barest simmer for a few minutes and then cover the mixture, take it off the heat, and let it steep for an hour.

2.)    Pour the almond mixture in two batches into a blender with a sturdy lid. Process in blender until pureed. Then, set a sieve lined with cheesecloth over a medium bowl and carefully pour pureed mixture into sieve. Gently squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much milk from the mixture as possible, discarding the almond solids. You should have approximately 2 ½ cups of almond milk. If you have less, add more milk or half and half to make up for the desired amount.

3.)    Combine almond milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

4.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

5.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add almond milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 4-5 minutes.

6.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and almond extract and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. After freezing, stir in remaining 1/4 cup toasted almonds, sautéed pears and Amaretto cherries. Enjoy!

 Amaretto Cherries

 1.)    Combine dried cherries and Amaretto in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for a few hours. You can make this up to a day ahead.

 Sautéed Pears

 1.) Chop the ripe pear into ½ inch cubes. Sauté in a pan over medium heat with a bit of butter until cooked all the way through and beginning to brown. Add a dash of cinnamon and sprinkling of extra sugar, stirring well. Cool to room temperature.

Make it a sundae!

This flavor is very complex, so I’d be hesitant to add a sauce. I’m afraid a sauce would mask instead of enhancing the rich and complex flavors of this ice cream. I do think that an amaretto, frangelico, or even a bourbon spiked whipped cream would be unbelievably good dolloped on top.

My First Christmas Flavor!

This flavor was inspired by those dinky little Christmas ornaments they make you make in grade school. You know, the ones where your teacher tells you to stick some cloves in a orange and call it decoration? Then you’re left with a slowly rotting orange on your Christmas tree, and many wasted whole cloves that could have been put to good use. So instead of making one of those, why don’t you make my ice cream instead? It’s very Christmassy, with strong seasonal flavors of orange and clove perfuming the sweet cream base. And instead of using cloves to make an ornament that resembles Pinhead from Hellraiser, you actually get to taste the warm and invigorating spice of cloves.

Orange you glad you made this ice cream?

I used the rind of 3-4 oranges to make this ice cream. I like to use rinds over fruit juices when making fruit-based ice creams if I can. Fruit juices, and particularly citrus juices can make an ice cream base icy if you’re not careful. So for this recipe I steeped the grated rind with some warmed milk, which adds a deep orange flavor right into the base of the ice cream. When grating orange rind, it’s best if you have a microplane (see above picture). This kitchen tool will grate orange rind very quickly and easily. If you don’t have one, you could always use a regular fine grater, but it will probably take longer to accomplish this simple task.

Warm milk and orange- like a creamsicle!

For the sweetener in this recipe, I used honey instead of granulated sugar. I made this decision based on another holiday family tradition of mine- Baklava! My mother is Greek, so every year we come together and make this deliciously sticky treat to give away in holiday baskets to friends. And two of the cornerstone flavors of Baklava are cloves and honey. Orange isn’t a traditional flavoring of this dessert, but I think that orange and honey complement each other perfectly. Especially considering that I used a floral orange blossom honey in my ice cream. To tie all the flavors together and pump up the flavor volume, I also added a teaspoon of orange flower water.

The finished product!

This is my first of several Christmas themed ice creams. It was so delicious! The orange and clove flavors worked great together and were a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Make sure you use a good quality honey, and grind your own cloves and your ice cream will be spectacular! Its honey and spice and everything nice. Enjoy!

Orange Clove Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

½ cup good quality honey, such as wildflower or orange blossom

¼ cup sugar

5  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

12 whole cloves, finely ground,

10 whole cloves, coarsely ground

3-4 oranges

1 teaspoon orange flower water

  1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Grate oranges directly into the milk.  Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil. Take off the heat and let steep for at least 1 hour. After steeping, strain the orange rind out of the milk, pressing on rind for the most orange flavor, discard rind. Heat strained milk until steam begins to rise again.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar and honey. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-7 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, ground cloves and orange flower water and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

Going with the baklava theme, you could easily turn this into a baklava sundae! Gently warm some honey with some cinnamon and toasted, chopped walnuts and drizzle over ice cream. You could even butter some phyllo pieces and bake until golden brown and add that to your sundae as well. Top with softly whipped cream. Yum!