Cinnamon Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat the heavy cream, milk, cinnamon sticks, and ground cinnamon over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the liquid begins to bubble, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes and continue to stir as desired. You can remove the pan from the heat now, though this step is not required. Note that the ground cinnamon may clump and gravitate towards the top of the liquid at first, but have no fear. During the slow simmer the ground cinnamon will dissolve and disperse throughout the cream/milk while the cinnamon sticks release flavor. The spicy, warm aroma emitted by this process fills the kitchen. Oh, the simple pleasures of cooking at home!

Meanwhile, mix together the melted butter and brown sugar before adding to the egg yolks and granulated sugar. Beat the yolks, sugars, and butter with a hand mixer on medium speed until the yolks pale in color (approximately two minutes). Due to the brown sugar the pale yellow color you would typically achieve with granulated sugar alone will not appear. As far as I know, though, you cannot over-mix the yolks.

Back to the hot liquid yumminess! Remove the cinnamon sticks from the milk/cream mixture…they can be saved for a garnish if you feel so inclined. Then steadily and slowly pour about half of the hot liquid into the eggs/sugar with your hand mixer running on medium-low. Once you’ve incorporated the egg yolks, sugars, and cream pour the tempered mixture back into the remaining cream/milk still in the sauce pan. Turn the heat back up to medium and stir the ice cream base constantly until the mixture thickens. This step can take 3-5 minutes. You will see and feel the liquid thickening while stirring, and when you can drag your finger across the back of the spoon, leaving a clean path with no bleeding liquid, your ice cream mix is ready. Pour into a bowl through a mesh strainer, stir in the teaspoon of vanilla, and cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure the plastic wrap is pressed down into the bowl and touching the custard to prevent a film from forming.) Place in the refrigerator overnight to get nice and cold.

The next day, pour the ice cream base into your maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you prefer ice cream with soft-serve consistency, enjoy immediately upon completion of churning process. If you’re like me and think ice cream is better a little more, for lack of a better word, hard, store in the freezer for a few hours. Along with other accompaniments, cinnamon ice cream pairs great with apple desserts, caramel rolls, waffles, banana bread, and fried flour tortillas dusted with sugar and cinnamon. It’s also delicious as a stand alone treat.



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