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

Archive for the ‘Halloween’ Category


Two snacks in one!

This is what I ate on Halloween instead of candy. I unfortunately had a cold at the time so my tastebuds were a little off, but still, this was way, way better than a Kit-Kat. I’ve been munching on fun size Halloween candy for weeks now, so by the time Halloween rolled around, I was ready for a non-chocolate based ice cream.  I wanted to create an ice cream that had a connection to Halloween, but didn’t involve just smashing up some random candy bits and throwing it into my ice cream maker. Not that that flavor sounds bad, mind you, but I wanted to push myself and come up with a more creative ice cream recipe. I started brainstorming about popular halloween treats when a friend brought up popcorn balls. You know, those old school, sticky popcorn balls that people always make for Halloween? I’ve never been a huge fan of them, but it got me thinking about how popcorn might taste in a ice cream recipe. Well, as it turns out, pretty sensational. The popcorn here is in cased in a salted toffee sauce and baked up until light and crispy. Mixed into the sweet cream base it becomes heavenly, a treat without any trick.


The buttery toffee sauce...

For the popcorn, I used a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and it came out beautifully. The flavor is very similar to Poppycock, but with less fat and calories. The popcorn was so delicious on its own that I’m considering making a large batch around Christmastime and giving it away as gifts. The toffee sauce here was rich and buttery with a hint of warm molasses underneath it.


The best caramel corn ever!

The only issue with popcorn in ice cream is that it doesn’t sit very well if you want to store for a while in the freezer. It will still taste good, but the popcorn will get soggy. This really wasn’t an issue for me however, because my family and I gobbled it up in one sitting. So for this ice cream I would recommend that you serve it when you know that there will be lots of hungry mouths around. Which shouldn’t be to hard because, heck,  I’m getting hungry just looking at the pictures!


The sweet cream base.

The sweet, buttery and slightly salty popcorn was divine when folded into the sweet, cream base. As always, I used once pasteurized, and non homogenized milk and cream for a super creamy and deeply flavorful sweet cream base. The caramel popcorn became little crunchy, nuggets of caramel flavor that enhanced and intensified the flavor of the cream. I definitely think that this ice cream could be an improvement over those old Halloween popcorn balls. I enjoyed this ice cream so much that I wouldn’t trade it for a lifetime supply of fun size candy. And coming from me, that’s really saying something! So enjoy and I hope you all had a Halloween that was both spooky and safe.

Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream


2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream, preferably unhomogenized

Caramel Popcorn recipe (recipe follows)

 1.)    Whisk eggs together in a large bowl for a few minutes. Then, gradually add the sugar to the eggs, all the while whisking. Add the milk and cream and whisk until well mixed. Pour into ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is finished churning, fold in caramel popcorn and enjoy!


Caramel Popcorn (from Cooking Light Magazine, December 2002)

Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)


 Cooking spray

1  cup  packed dark brown sugar

1/2  cup  light-colored corn syrup

1/3  cup  butter

1  tablespoon  light molasses

1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract

1/2  teaspoon  baking soda

1/2  teaspoon  salt

12  cups  popcorn (popped without salt or fat)


Preheat oven to 250°.

Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.

Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Make it a Sundae!- You could easily create a Poppycock sundae by topping this ice cream with caramel or toffee sauce, mixed salted nuts, and fresh whipped cream for an over the top treat.

In its natural state.

In its natural state.

Just in time for Halloween! I love themes, so of course as Halloween approaches I have to feature some ice creams appropriate to the season. And  regardless, pumpkin ice cream is just plain delicious. It’s like a cold, crustless pumpkin pie and how could that be bad? So put down your carving knife and back away from that jack-o-lantern and make this spooktacular ice cream!


Pumpkin and spice and everything nice!

I wanted an ice cream that resembled the filling of a pumpkin pie as closely as possible. So taking inspiration from the recipe on the can of pumpkin, I added some evaporated milk, swapped white sugar for brown, and added plenty of egg yolks for that pumpkin custard flavor. When it comes to something as classic as pumpkin pie, I have to say that I’m pretty traditional kinda gal, so I tried to make ice cream as close to the original as possible.


Freshly churned!

When making this ice cream, you can use canned pumpkin or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, roast your own. Just make sure you get a sugar pumpkin, other types of pumpkin can be stringy and flavorless when roasted. Either way, you just want to make sure you have 3/4 cup pumpkin puree.  Also, when comes to adding spices, my measurements are approximations, so feel free to add more or less spices as you see fit.


Fresh Pumpkin Ice Cream!

This ice cream came out beautifully, creamy and comforting with just enough spice. This is one of those happy occasions where what I had imagined really did come to life. It was an ice cream version of pumpkin pie filling, to the T. And if you really wanted to kick it up notch, you could add pie crust pieces or even pour it into a baked, cooled pie crust for a frozen twist on the original. Either way, this ice cream would be perfect for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or just as a celebration of fall!

Pumpkin Ice Cream


2 cups half and half

¼ cup heavy cream

¾ cup evaporated milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

6  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

¾ cup pumpkin puree

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

  1.) Combine half and half, heavy cream and evaporated 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 5-6 minutes.

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

Make it a sundae!

 This might sound strange, but I actually really like chocolate and pumpkin together. This ice cream would taste great with hot fudge drizzled over it and whipped cream. Pumpkin ice cream would also make an amazing sundae with applesauce, toasted pecans and freshly whipped cream layered on top. Trust me, this combination really works.

Lighten up!– To lighten this recipe you could easily convert this recipe into a gelato by swapping the half and half for whole milk.