Every Christmas season, I make a homemade holiday gift for everyone on my gift list. I feel like homemade gifts are the best gifts because they are made with love. Anyone can buy a gift in a store, but homemade gifts take time and effort. And I love how my homemade treats make people smile and their tummies happy! Usually I make some sort of baked good, like cookies or quick breads, or a small personal item like soaps, candles, and bath fizzies. This year I decided to make something that represented by new home state of Louisiana – candied pecans. The recipe was inspired by my favorite store bought nuts that have a hint of orange and pepper in every bite.
I made several pounds of candied pecans, and after shipping them to friends and loved ones far and wide I still had some leftover. Hmmm, what to do with them? Put them in ice cream of course! Thus candied pecans were my inspiration for the third ice cream in my holiday ice cream series. I decided that a simple brown sugar ice cream would be a good compliment to the nuts. Either mixed in or placed on top, the crunchy nuts and creamy, sweet ice cream will make a great holiday treat! Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday and a happy new year! Enjoy!
2 egg whites
1/2 Tablespoon water
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
1 pound pecan halves
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon course salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Put sugar, salt, cinnamon, pepper, and orange zest in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Combine egg whites, water, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until foamy. Pour pecans into bowl with egg white mixture and stir until pecans are well coated. Gradually add sugar mixture to pecans (about 1/4 cup at a time), stirring well after each addition.
Pour pecan mixture on to a prepared rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring pecans every 15 minutes (this helps prevent the pecans from burning and/or sticking to the sheet).
Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.
Brown Sugar Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
Xanthan gum is added to the base to achieve a nice texture in this ice cream, however the addition of this ingredients is not necessary. Add 3 Tablespoons of cream cheese to the base to help improve the scoop-ability.
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (165 g)
1/8 c dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon course salt
2 teaspoon whiskey or bourbon
In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream, brown sugar, and dark corn syrup in a large saucepan. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes.
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. Pour the hot milk mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl. Whisk in xanthan gum. Whisk in vanilla extract, salt, and whiskey/bourbon. Cover (or pour into a baggie) and place mixture in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours.
Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container when finished. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
To make Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Candied Pecans:
Chop approximately 1/2 cup of candied pecans (more or less depending on how much you want in your ice cream). When ice cream is near completion of churning, add pecans and continue churning until well combined. Continue with freezing instructions above.