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

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

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.