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

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Posted on: December 30, 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


 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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