Thursday, May 22, 2014

Maple Walnut Ice Cream!

It's ice cream season once again! Finally its that time of year where its warm enough to play with my beloved ice cream machine. I may or may not have left the freezer bowl in the freezer since last summer... but hey that only means its ready for me to use whenever I decide to use it, that's my excuse anyways. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was too lazy to get take it out when summer was over... In my defense, it was in the outside freezer so, out of sight, out of mind? You know what, I'm glad I didn't, for once lazy worked out okay.

Really what sparked interest in ice cream making was last week, when northern CA got hit with a hot spell, like record breaking temperature hot, and sometime during that week, both my brother and I decided some ice cream would be awesome at this point. Of course there was no ice cream to be found during that time frame only me making a commitment to make some for us once the weekend comes when I have more time. Unfortunately (and very thankfully) the temperature dropped from 90s back down to 70s by the time we reached weekend status. Well that's not going to stop me, I've already made up my mind, I'm going to make ice cream and I will enjoy it whether it be 100 degrees or 60...turns out, it was closer to 60. Oh well, ice cream is ice cream, its still delicious.

So once again, I crack open my handy dandy ice cream cookbook I bought last year, love that thing, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, for some delicious suggestions. I'm not quite sure how I landed on this particular recipe out of so many in the book, it must've been one of those flip to a random page and it just so happens that I had everything this recipe called for AND I've never had maple walnut ice cream before. Sure, why not?!

This came out so smooth and creamy and delicious! The maple and walnut paired with each other flawlessly. Slightly sweet but not over powering so that you can't taste it and the toasted walnuts helped enhanced the maple flavor as well as giving it that extra bite. A must try!

Maple Walnut Ice Cream
from Bi-Rite Creamery's cookbook: Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
** note: requires an ice cream machine for best result

Ingredients:
  • 5 large egg yolks (edit: I just realized I wrote "eggs" rather than "egg yolks"! I hope no one's tried it with all of the egg, sorry!)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup ~ 12 tbsp (grade B preferred, organic; I used regular and it came out just fine)  
  • 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts (I placed the chopped walnuts in a sheet pan and baked at 325 F degrees for about 8 minutes)
Procedures:
  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of the maple syrup (about 6 tbsp), set aside.
  2. In a heavy nonreactive pan, stir together cream, milk, salt, and the remaining maple syrup (about 6 tbsp) and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce heat to medium.
  3. Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
  4. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat stirring constantly, until thicken (this part is tricky, because it doesn't get really thick just thick enough so that the mixture coats the back of the spatula and when you run your finger along it, it holds a clear path) and then cook for another 1-2 minutes longer (don't over cook otherwise it becomes grainy and egg-y in flavor)
  5. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set container into an ice bath, using a clean spatula, stir the base occasionally until it becomes cool (or you can stick it in the fridge and stir it every 5 minutes until completely cooled). Remove from ice bath and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight
  6. Freeze in ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add in walnuts in towards the end of churning or mix in by hand before transferring the ice cream into its container.   

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