Gingerbread Ice Cream (#40)

13 12 2012

Let me loose in a specialty food store and I’m like a kid in an ice cream parlour — giddy and over-excited.  Last week, my co-worker Leah and I squeezed in a lunch time trip to Galloway’s Specialty Foods.  If you’re a food nerd and haven’t been to Galloway’s, you must.  Every ingredient you could possibly need for cooking and baking can be found here.  French super-blue lavender flowers?  Yes.  Gluten free chestnut flour?  Yes.  Xanthan gum?  They’ve got that too.  If we weren’t pinched for time, I could have spent hours combing through all the aisles, looking at all the products, and learning ohhhh, so *this* is where I can buy beet powder!

I wasn’t looking for anything particularly obscure during this shopping trip though — just unsulphured blackstrap molasses, the key ingredient in Week #40’s Gingerbread Ice Cream.

unsulphured molasses, blackstrap molasses, Galloway's Specialty Foods

Rich, sticky molasses

Molasses are typically made from sugar cane and come in three grades or varieties.  Light molasses is made by boiling sugar cane juice and extracting the sugar.  The residual syrup is mild and quite sweet, since relatively little sugar is removed from the sugar cane juice.  Dark molasses is produced during a second round of boiling and sugar extraction.  Blackstrap molasses is made when the syrup is boiled for a third time and most of the remaining sugar removed.  Blackstrap molasses has a dark and robust flavour and is quite high in nutritional value, especially for manganese, copper, iron, and calcium.  Lately, I’ve been stirring a spoonful into my coffee every morning!  Many people choose light or dark molasses for cooking and baking, with the concern that the taste of blackstrap molasses can be overwhelming and bitter.  Personally, I love the taste of molasses, so I used blackstrap for this ice cream recipe.

All three varieties of molasses can be sulphured or unsulphured.  Sulphured molasses is made from young sugarcane and contains sulphur dioxide as a preservative.  Unsulphured molasses is made from old sugarcane, which has a higher sugar content compared to the young stuff.  This higher sugar content acts as a natural preservative for the molasses, so there is no need to add a chemical preservative.  While sulphured and unsulphured molasses can be used interchangeably, I opt for unsulphured.  No chemicals for me, thank you very much!

When cooking the custard, I noticed it started to thicken up at 160 degrees F / 71 degrees C.  I tried to keep the custard on the flame a little longer to reach my standard 170 degrees F / 77 degrees C, but the custard definitely didn’t need any further heating.  Take it off at 160, otherwise you might end up with gingerbread scrambled eggs!!

Gingerbread ice cream is one of my new winter favourites.  As with other syrup-sweetened ice creams, it is quite scoopable even after an overnight in the freezer.  The molasses gives the ice cream a rich, dark flavour and the spices… well, they make the ice cream taste like Christmas 🙂  If you’re a fan of candied ginger, you might also want to add a 1/2 cup of finely chopped candied ginger to the custard in the final moments of churning.

Gingerbread Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (light, dark, or blackstrap – your choice)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

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Maple Whisky Walnut Ice Cream (#34)

1 11 2012

I’m hardly a whisky connoisseur, but over the past two years, I’ve made an attempt to learn a little.  Top lessons learned to date?

  1. Buy your whisky at the duty free shops at the airport — you can save upwards of 50%
  2. If you like your whisky on the rocks, considering buying an ice ball mold.  A giant ice ball keeps your drink from getting watered down too quickly.
  3. The taste of whisky is enhanced when served in a Riedel whisky glass.
  4. Notwithstanding #3, no glass could ever make me enjoy whisky that tastes like diesel.
  5. Whisky is an awesome ingredient for ice cream!
bottles of whisky, whiskey

Whisky – a perfect warming drink in the fall and a great ingredient for ice cream!

Fall is the definitely the time to introduce the taste of spirits and liqueurs into ice cream.  Maple Walnut Ice Cream is a classic flavour that I thought could be made just a bit more sophisticated by adding a few shots of whisky.  Indeed!  Sweet maple syrup, toasted walnuts, and smooth Scotch whisky make for a fantastic combination.  I used the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  And if you like, top off your bowl of ice cream with an extra shot of whisky and drizzle of maple syrup!

Maple Whiskey Walnut Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (Grade B syrup has a darker, richer maple taste compared to Grade A varieties)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt
4 tablespoons whiskey
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

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Maple Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream (#11)

24 05 2012

Bacon has made quite the appearance on the culinary scene lately.  Bacon topped doughnuts.  Bacon tacos.  Bacon banana breadBacon ale.  Bacon chocolate chip cookies.  Edible Canada, one of my  favourite restaurants in Vancouver, has even launched an entire bacon themed menu.  Every dish on the menu, savoury and sweet, incorporates bacon as an ingredient.   Heaven!  I can’t wait to eat my way through the menu.  In the meantime, I’m jumping on the bacon bandwagon and cranking a batch of maple chocolate bacon ice cream.

slices of bacon on butcher paper

Bacon, baby!

Quality ingredients are key for this recipe (well, for any recipe, really).  Be sure to use REAL maple syrup (not Aunt Jemina’s), a couple of thick slices of bacon from your local deli counter (stay away from the packaged, pre-sliced stuff), and premium dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content (any less means it’s full of hydrogenated vegetable oil and sugar).

Result?  The perfect marriage of salty and sweet.  Trust me, this ice cream won’t last long in the freezer!

Maple Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Maple Ice Cream:

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (Grade B syrup has a darker, richer maple taste compared to Grade A varieties)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt

For the Chocolate Covered Bacon Bits:

150 g bacon
70 g of premium dark chocolate Read the rest of this entry »








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