Eggnog Ice Cream (#41) + Christmas Ice Cream Options

20 12 2012
Christmas tree

Our wee tree

Five day countdown!  The tree is up, the halls are decked, and our stockings hung by the gas fireplace with care.  Time to kick back with some rum and eggnog.

I must admit I was tempted to pour the rest of the carton of eggnog into my Donvier ice cream maker and call it Week #40, but that would be cheating.  Besides, anything made from scratch always tastes better!  I haven’t made homemade eggnog before, but I figured it’d be quite easy to capture the taste of this festive drink in ice cream format.  After all, the main ingredients for eggnog are pretty much the same as a basic ice cream custard: milk and/or cream, eggs, and sugar.  Add a sprinkling of holiday spices and a few glugs of alcohol, and there you go!

For this recipe, I added two extra egg yolks to the standard two eggs I typically use for a bit of extra richness.  If you’re after an ultra decadent treat, you could use six yolks and no whites.  Whichever you choose, make sure you add lots of freshly grated nutmeg to the custard — nutmeg is what gives eggnog its distinct taste.

If you’re not a fan of eggnog but still want to serve a Christmas-y flavoured ice cream for dessert, you still have plenty of other flavour options.  My top picks would be: Gingerbread Ice Cream, Spiced Rum Raisin Ice Cream, Cranberry Orange Ice Cream, Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream, or Classic Vanilla Ice Cream with a half cup of crushed candy canes mixed in.

An early Merry Christmas to all!

Eggnog Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons rum

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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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