Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ice Cream Cinniminions!

When my husband and I were registering for our wedding, he decided that he wanted an ice cream maker. I found it amusing and went along with it. I mean, how often do people make homemade ice cream? Especially when you can go out to the store and buy some.

I let it sit for a while before attempting to make a Guinness ice cream one Super Bowl. It didn’t turn out how I had hoped (icy and hard) and the ice cream maker sat in our cabinet for another two years. It wasn’t until last Thanksgiving when I had the idea that cinnamon ice cream would go really well with the pie I was making for dessert. And I figured why not test out the old ice cream maker.

This batch was everything that my Guinness batch wasn’t; it was creamy and smooth and delicious. I’m not a huge fan of cinnamon, I loathe Big Red gum and generally avoid adding too much of it to any breakfast dish I make. But this ice cream was different. It had a subtle flavor, more vanilla like, with a hint of the cinnamon; just enough to notice it and make it delicious as its own dish, or bringing out the best flavors in an apple pie.

And since that point I’ve decided to make special ice creams for holidays. Last Easter I made a deconstructed s’mores bar with graham cracker ice cream (I’ll post that at some point too). But for this Thanksgiving I went back to my year old ice cream making roots and alongside my pork fat crusted apple pie (see previous post) , made a delicious batch of cinnamon ice cream. The recipe is really easy and you can get an attachment to your kitchen aide mixer for $80 or buy a standalone (Ice cream makers)

The key to this recipe is grinding the cinnamon yourself. I’ve done it with a zester, with a mortar and pestle or you can do it with a cleaned out (VERY WELL so as to not taint the flavor) coffee/spice grinder. I promise you, it takes time, but it’s worth it. Fresh cinnamon makes 150% of a difference. And make this the night before you serve, it takes time to set.


1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup heavy cream

1 TSP vanilla extract

2 TSP FRESH ground cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk half of the mixture into the eggs. Whisk quickly so that the eggs do not scramble. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir in the heavy cream.

Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside to cool. If you just leave it out on your counter, this takes about 2 hours. I would recommend stirring it every 20 minutes or so. The mixture will continue to thicken.

Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you are using a Kitchen Aide Ice Cream Maker attachment, I recommend keeping it in the freezer for at least 3 days before you make the ice cream. You want the bowl to be absolutely freezing. The recommended 15 hours just isn’t enough.

Also, I should warn. All of the manufacturer’s directions say that the ice cream will actually turn INTO ice cream while you’re mixing it. I have never found that to be the case. It will thicken up, and will look like the consistency of melting ice cream but you will need to put it in an air tight container in the freezer for at least 10 hours before serving.


  1. If you steep 10 or so broken up cinnamon sticks in the warm half and half (I usually make my own with a cup of cream and a cup of milk, just because cream comes in pints) for about an hour, you can save the hassle of grinding and still get that great subtle flavor. You can use this technique with nearly any spice or herb ice cream - vanilla bean, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, even mint or basil.

    You'll also get a better textured custard if you use just the yolks from more eggs, but it'll also be a lot less healthy. When you remove the mixture from the heat, if you strain it into another bowl over an ice bath, you'll get rid of some of the solid egg pieces that can get in there, and also cool it faster.

    With the kind of bowl you have to put in freezer, it's always a race to have your ice cream freeze before your mixing bowl heats up. You can chill your base in the fridge before you spin it and it'll freeze faster in the ice cream maker. This also lets you make the base one day, and the ice cream another.

    And you're right about putting the final ice cream in the freezer to harden (not enough recipes say this). The ice cream maker whips air into the mixture while it freezes, but it'll never really get it cold enough to become hard. In fact, once it gets too hard, the ice cream machine can't turn anymore anyways.

    Can you post the Graham Cracker ice cream recipe you used? I love the deconstructed smores idea.

  2. Dave, Thank you for the great advice! My poor husband loves the ice cream, but as his job has been to grate the cinnamon, he also hates the ice cream. I am going to test this out next time I make some ice cream.

    And when it comes to ice cream, I'm a firm believer that if you're doing it, do it big, so I'll also play around with the more yolk thing. When you use yolks, what is your ratio? 2 yolks for everyone 1 egg? 2 for every 1.5?

    I'll post the Graham Cracker shortly! Keep an eye out for it today.

  3. How many yolks is really up to you - my favorite ice cream book (The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz) usually uses 5, but you can go up to 9 or 10. When I've seen ratios, it's been anywhere from 2 yolks per cup of milk, to 4:1 ratio of cream to eggs (by volume).