Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Crazy Stephanie loves ice cream, even during a polar vortex.  So when it was too cold to go outside (-20 in Ohio?!) She (I) dreamed of food to pass the time.

And Gingerbread Ice Cream is the stuff dreams are made of!



Erin has this wonderful book Gingerbread by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn.

We wanted to try out some recipes.  The Gingerbread Ice Cream recipe called to me.

But, New Year's resolutions and all, I did want to lighten up the ice cream as best as I could.
The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups cream and 1 1/2 cups milk.  I decided to use 3 cups of fat free half&half.  Every little bit counts...


Please note that the ingredients of your ice cream will very much affect the texture and consistency.  Skim milk vs. whole, for example.  I do not recommend using skim milk in ice cream.  However, I have found success with using half and half, and I find that I don't have to compromise on the consistency or flavor.

Friends and family all love my ice cream and no one is the wiser.

Now get on with the recipe!!

Most ice creams have a similar base.  I've seen 6-8 egg yolks, some cream, (half and half in my case), salt, sugar, and flavorings.  Once you get that basic recipe down, I recommend experimenting with flavors and chunky deliciousness added into the ice cream (chocolate chips, cookies, etc.).

Here's my journey with Gingerbread Ice Cream adapted from the book by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn.

Total time: 2 days.  (This is because I mixed the base one day, let it chill overnight, then make the ice cream the next day.  Really, it's not hard, but everything needs time to set up.)

 Ingredients: Half&Half, ginger, egg yolks, light brown sugar, molasses, vanilla extract, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and salt.



 Stir together half&half and fresh ginger in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat.  Remove from heat and set aside to infuse 30 minutes to an hour.



 Strain the cream/milk mixture and discard the ginger.  Return the mix to a saucepan and boil again over medium high heat.



 Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and sat in a large bowl until smooth and thick.  (I recommend reserving the egg whites for meringues or really healthy omelets.)



 As soon as cream mix comes to a boil, temper the egg mix.  The book says "gradually drizzle" the cream into the yolk mix and whisk constantly.  I recommend taking 1/4 cup of the mix and whisking it in with the eggs.  This brings the temp of the eggs up slowly without scrambling them.  Do this a few more times.  When eggs are hot enough, add the whole bowl into the cream mix.



 Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mix coats the back of a spoon.  (It's better here to remove the mix from the heat too early rather than too late.  You don't want chunks.  Please note that the chunks in this recipe are spices and not scrambled eggs.  Eew.)  Also, KEEP STIRRING.  You don't want sticking or a skin.  Eew again.


By "coats the back of spoon" see the photo.  I ran my finger along the back of a wooden spoon.  The mix is thick enough to coat the spoon and hold its shape.  Perfect.

Strain the custard again (in case you did cook some eggs wrong--better safe than sorry!) and stir in that vanilla extract you forgot about.


The book says to set your bowl with the mix in it into a larger bowl of ice water and chill for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then, chill in the refrigerator for at LEAST six hours if not overnight.  I just covered the dish and put it directly in my fridge.  This is how I've always done ice cream before.


Next, the recipe says to use the directions on your ice cream machine to finish the process.  Here's Mine:


Freeze the bowl AT LEAST 15 hours before use.  I got it out of the freezer, hooked it up as fast as possible, and added my cream mix.



Ice cream can "stir" 20-30 minutes depending on texture.  You don't want to over mix!  If your machine starts clicking, stop it!  You can also stop with 10 minutes to go, add any chunky ingredients (dried fruit, chocolate chips etc.) at that time, then finish stirring.  Pop it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes after to set up.


Even with the half&half, as far as texture goes: NAILED IT!!!!



This stuff was awesome!  I recommend topping with it fun ingredients like chocolate chips, graham crackers, peppermint candies, currants, molasses cookies that are crumbled, whatever you want!

What would you add?


I also recommend adding less clove and nutmeg than the book calls for.  The suggested amount made the ice cream almost spicy.  No no.  We just want a taste.

So with that said, here's the Gingerbuilders' Version:

Gingerbread Ice Cream

3 cups fat free half and half
1 3-4 inch piece of fresh ginger (about 1 1/4 ounces) peeled and chopped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together half&half and fresh ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium/high heat.  Remove from heat and set aside to infuse 30 minutes-1 hour.  Strain the half&half and discard the ginger.  Return the mix to a saucepan and boil again over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl until smooth and thick.  As soon as the half&half comes to a boil, take 1/4 cup of the it and whisk it in with the eggs.  Do this 2 more times.  
Pour the entire egg mix into the saucepan with the rest of the half&half and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon.  (Better to remove too early than too late.)  Strain the custard and stir in the vanilla extract.  Cover the custard, and place it in the refrigerator to chill at least 6 hours, up to overnight.Follow the instructions on your ice cream machine to complete the dessert.  Freeze the ice cream at least 1 hour.  Serve with graham crackers, candy canes, currants, molasses cookies, chocolate chips, etc. etc etc!


I'll try a delicious variation on Gingerbread Ice Cream in another blog, so stay tuned!

~Steph