Some of my favorite inspirations for ice cream flavors are other desserts. Cakes, cookies, pies - they all make great ice cream flavors. While seeking ideas for new flavors, a friend requested that I make a gingerbread ice cream. As you know I love filling requests so I got to work. One of the primary flavors in gingerbread cake is molasses, so I took a few notes from the Jeni's playbook about how to make a molasses-based ice cream and then added some spices to make it taste more like gingerbread. But I couldn't stop there. Why not make a gingerbread ice cream with pieces of gingerbread inside? The results were exactly like I wanted, each bite a complete ice cream and cake experience.
Gingerbread ice cream seems to be a favorite among the kids. My 2-year-old neighbor ate an entire bowl! And the friend who requested the ice cream and her 2-year-old son also had great things to say. I think that this ice cream flavor is the holidays in a scoop. Enjoy!
Gingerbread Ice Cream
Adapted from recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Half of gingerbread cake (below), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt. Fill large bowl with ice and water and set aside.
Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream, sugar, molasses, and spices in a large saucepan. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes (mixture may look curdled from the acidic molasses but it will come together in the finished ice cream).
Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Sprinkle a layer of gingerbread cake pieces on the bottom of a plastic ice cream container. Lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of cake pieces and ice cream until the container is full. Sprinkle a few more pieces on top. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Note: This cake will not look or taste exactly like real gingerbread. It is designed to hold its shape in the ice cream and compliment the flavor. If you use real gingerbread it will turned to mush. Another note, 3/4 cup cake flour can be substituted for flour-cornstarch mixture.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1/8 cup corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch of ground nutmeg
Large pinch of ground cloves
Preheat over to 350 degreed F.
Butter the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan or line with parchment paper.
Melt butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add vanilla and set aside.
Combine flour and cornstarch in a small bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.
Combine egg, egg yolks, brown sugar, molasses and salt in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip for 8 to 10 minutes, until very thick and tripled in volume. Fold in spices (ginger through cloves). Fold in flour-cornstarch mixture. Fold in the melted butter mixture.
Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and baked for about 20 minutes, until the cake is gold brown and pulling away from the side of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes on a rack them unmold and let cool completed.