Before we had our ice cream maker, well even after, we had only eaten cinnamon ice cream in restaurants and ice cream shops. I’m not sure why we hadn’t tried making it ourselves – it is a nice change from vanilla ice cream for topping apple pie or chocolate cake. That is, if you like cinnamon as much as we do.
We don’t buy cinnamon at the grocery store, not in those little jars. We are lucky enough to have a Penzey’s spice store about twenty minutes away and we are regulars. They sell cinnamon in four ounce bags for refilling your spice jar and we buy two of those every four months or so. I know, that is half a pound of cinnamon in four months. But we use a lot of it. And it is certainly cheaper to buy it in bulk. And the Penzey’s cinnamon is fresher and just better than the grocery store cinnamon. (I am not in any way affiliated or compensated by Penzey’s – I just like their products.)
Back to the ice cream – the recipe is basically our vanilla ice cream with added cinnamon. We use a heavier hand with the cinnamon (see the above paragraph) so use the lesser amount of cinnamon if you want a less intense flavor.
Homemade ice cream can sometimes get pretty hard after the first day in the freezer. One way to offset this is to add a little bit of vodka at the end of the freezing process. It doesn’t affect the flavor, just the texture. The alcohol has a lower freezing point than the ice cream, so it keeps the ice cream from freezing as hard. You are only adding a tablespoon to the whole batch, so there are no worries about serving this to everyone, including kids. But if you are uncomfortable using it – don’t. Your ice cream will be wonderful without it. We use it sometimes, and not others. It is totally optional, but if you have no objection to the alcohol, try it once and see how you like the texture of your ice cream after a day or two in the freezer. This is also assuming you don’t eat all the ice cream in one sitting, in which case the vodka is totally not necessary.
Cinnamon Ice Cream
from The Cook’s Life
Makes about 1½ quarts
Use the larger amount of cinnamon if you want your ice cream spicier. You can always taste your mixture before you freeze it in your ice cream maker and adjust the cinnamon level. Flavors will be a bit more muted after freezing.
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups half and half*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
Stir brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. This will help the cinnamon mix in more evenly. Add half and half and vanilla and stir until sugar is dissolved. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions – ours takes about 25 minutes. Add vodka, if using, during last 5 minutes of freezing. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for several hours before serving.
* You can use all cream, which will make a richer ice cream. Half and half makes a creamy ice cream, with a little less fat and without the greasy mouth feel you can sometimes get with all cream.