Autumn Indulgence: Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Friday, November 2, 2012

Maple Walnut Ice CreamLast time I wrote about ice cream it was strawberry basil to celebrate summer strawberries. Today I’m featuring one of autumn’s favorite flavors, maple. (It’s not just for maple dijon vinaigrette, you know, drizzled upon a roasted butternut squash salad or seared scallops.) It’s a good time for this post, too, given my recent trip to the country with a maple leaf prominently featured on its national flag. Born in Montréal, I’m a dual citizen of the US and Canada and grew up eating all kinds of maple-flavored things. I also have fond memories of watching maple trees being tapped and seeing massive vats of syrup being boiled in a local farm on the Canadian countryside.

Beyond all that, it’s one of my husband’s favorite flavors, so I made up a quart last week as a special treat for him while I was out of town. I’m excited to share this recipe with you, as we both agreed this is one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2-3 teaspoons maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Instructions

Whisk all ingredients except toasted walnuts together in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn 25-30 minutes, adding the walnuts during the last 5 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container to ripen in the freezer for at least two hours. (And take a taste of the soft ice cream, too—it’s fabulous, but you’ll also get a chance to see how the flavors do indeed develop over time.)

Notes

While I’ve made maple walnut ice cream before, this recipe was certainly the best. I’m quite sure it’s because I employed three different ingredients—granulated maple sugar, maple extract, and maple syrup—that really brought out the desired flavor. (In other words, when I’ve made it in the past my husband and I both agreed the maple flavor was too subtle.) But even if you just use regular white sugar it’s still great. And, unlike other recipes, there is no need to reduce maple syrup or make a custard, which adds time and expense. Maybe one day I’ll try that just for experiment’s sake. For a somewhat lighter version, you could use skim milk rather than 2%, but remember that will freeze up much, much harder so you need to give it adequate time to sit before serving. I’d say go for the 2%—it’s plenty rich given there’s 2 cups of cream—and just eat it less frequently rather than have a less tasty version more often. And the combination of higher fat dairy and pure, unreduced maple syrup retains the perfect texture for serving almost directly out of the freezer.

I know this because I occasionally pop into the kitchen, grab a spoon, and take a lick.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream Dish

Though I don’t encourage this behavior.

Love this dish? Then you’ll adore my pumpkin whoopie pies with maple buttercream. An the recipe for the divine wet walnut topping is here. 

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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