Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream

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Our home ice cream production is ramping up with the spring – or sort of. We make ice cream when it is warm and then end up eating the rest of the batch when it is cold again. This has been even more of a roller coaster spring than usual here in St. Louis. But never let it be said that we backed off from eating ice cream just because the weather was a little nippy.

I made this ice cream when we were having my parents over for dinner. We had made mint chocolate chip ice cream the day before, but I wanted to have another kind of ice cream to give everyone a choice (especially me, since mint ice cream isn’t my favorite). We also had a batch of homemade caramel sauce in the fridge that had been calling me, and I wanted an appropriate ice cream to go under it – mint chocolate chip certainly wasn’t it.

I posted a recipe for cinnamon ice cream last year, but it used white sugar instead of brown. The brown sugar adds a caramel flavor that complements the cinnamon nicely. It is amazing what a difference it makes to use brown sugar instead of white. If I were serving the ice cream with apple pie I would probably stick with white sugar, but then again, maybe not. I like brown sugar an awful lot and will almost always use it instead of white sugar, when I have a choice.

Without further ado (or any further rambling) I will give you the recipe, since brown sugar cinnamon ice cream really needs no introduction, especially with caramel sauce on top.

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Download or print the recipe here.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream
From The Cook’s Life
Makes about 1½ quarts

The optional vodka helps the keep the ice cream from freezing quite so hard, especially after a day or two in the freezer.

⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Dash salt
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)

Stir brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl with a whish until the cinnamon is mixed in and there are no lumps in the brown sugar. Add half and half and vanilla and stir until the brown 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.

Chocolate Amaretto Ice Cream

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I was trolling though past posts yesterday, trying to think of some new things to write about. After looking at a few ice cream pictures I was in the mood to make some. The chocolate ice cream pictures were calling to me, but I wanted a new flavor. I remembered that Rich had requested a chocolate amaretto ice cream a while back. It is his favorite flavor to get when we go out for ice cream, but it is hard to find. After my experiments we may be going out for ice cream a little less often this summer. Who am I kidding? We go out for ice cream year round. And I have been known to eat ice cream in the dead of winter, wrapped up in a blanket to keep warm. At home. I don’t tote my blankie to ice cream shops. At least not yet.

This is a deep, dark chocolate ice cream, with undertones of almond. The amaretto gives it a little bite, but isn’t overpowering. I usually use about a tablespoon of vodka in our ice cream, especially in chocolate, to keep it a little softer in the freezer. The large amount of cocoa tends to make it hard to scoop and a little icy after a day or two in the freezer. The alcohol lowers the freezing point of the ice cream just a bit, so it stays creamier and more scoopable.

I figured I would swap in amaretto for the vodka this time. I upped the amount a bit because amaretto is lower in alcohol than vodka. I wouldn’t worry about serving this to kids, since there is less than two tablespoons of alcohol in the whole batch. It works out to less than ½ teaspoon per scoop, depending on how many scoops you get from a batch. The chocolate is pretty dark, though. There won’t be many kids who will enjoy it, though mine does. Vegetables aren’t always a go, but dark chocolate is always on the favorite list.

Rich gave this one an enthusiastic thumbs up. We are already planning a Black Forest amaretto ice cream cake for his birthday, which isn’t until late September. You never can start planning too early for these things, you know.

Do you eat ice cream all year, or only during warm weather?

Download or print just the recipe here.

Chocolate Amaretto Ice Cream
From The Cook’s Life
Makes about 1½ quarts

This is a deep, dark chocolate ice cream that might appeal more to adults than to kids.

⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa
dash salt
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1½  tablespoons amaretto liqueur

Stir sugar, cocoa and salt together in a medium bowl. Gradually add half and half, making a paste at first to get all the cocoa mixed in thoroughly. Add vanilla and almond extracts and stir until sugar is dissolved. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions – ours takes about 25 minutes. Add amaretto during last 5 minutes of freezing. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for several hours before serving.

Frozen Treats in January – Cinnamon Gelato

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Gelato is the hot ice cream lately. Or at least it seems to show up in articles in food magazines and on restaurant menus that we have seen lately. We have been thinking about making our own for quite awhile now, but have never managed to find the time. This weekend all the stars aligned and we made our first gelato.

Gelato, according to various sources, is Italian ice cream that is heavy on egg yolks and often uses whole milk as the base instead of cream. I found recipes online that ranged from a dozen egg yolks to none. I settled on one that had a modest amount of egg yolks and both cream and milk that I found on the blog Italian Food Forever. The original recipe was for vanilla, and called for a vanilla bean. We didn’t have any on hand, so I used vanilla extract and then decided to make cinnamon gelato, so we added two teaspoons of cinnamon.

We beat the egg yolks with sugar, heated the milk and cream, tempered the eggs with a little hot milk and then cooked the whole shebang until it thickened. Then we strained the mixture into a bowl to chill in an ice bath until it was cold. Then we churned it in the ice cream maker and put it in the freezer until it was firm enough to serve. After all that we expected perfection.

It was good, but nothing special. And I thought it tasted more like eggy custard than gelato. I prefer my own cinnamon ice cream, which is much less work and doesn’t make a mountain of dirty dishes. I think I am going to leave the gelato making to the professionals, which is not to say I won’t enjoy the rest of our batch. Maybe it just needs some caramel sauce