Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pumpkin Ice Cream and Maple Candied Walnuts

As promised, here are the desserts we made for our holiday dinner last weekend: Pumpkin Ice Cream and Maple Candied Walnuts!  We own an ice cream maker, but I've only ever tried making ice cream once before.  I attempted making peach ice cream, but renamed it "peach dessert" since it didn't quite have the texture or consistency of ice cream.  It was a tasty dessert, but not quite ice cream per se.  This time around I wanted to make pumpkin ice cream.  I did a lot of research and reading to come up with this recipe.  I knew I wanted to use Snowville Creamery's whole, grass-fed milk, and local honey (that we got from our friend John!).  I also didn't want to have to mess around with adding eggs (which many ice creams require).  Finally I came up with the following recipe, inspired by many different pumpkin ice cream recipes out there.  I also learned that adding a bit of alcohol to ice cream keeps it softer and more "scoopable," so I tried adding some bourbon to my ice cream and it really did the trick!  The ice cream was easy to scoop, even after a few days in the freezer.  I recommend making this as a special holiday treat!

Pumpkin Ice Cream

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 c whole grass-fed milk
2/3 c honey 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp good quality bourbon

Mix all ingredients with the whisk attachment on an electric mixer until well combined.   Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions, 15-20 minutes.  I recommend pouring the mixture in to the ice cream maker slowly- that's what I did and it seemed to work well.  (Most ice cream makers require the main compartment to be frozen before churning ice cream, so plan ahead and freeze this piece at least 24 hours before you plan to make the ice cream).  After 15-20 minutes the ice cream should be the consistency of soft serve.  You can eat it just like this OR freeze it in a shallow container.  Mine kept well for 5 days in the freezer.  I haven't experimented enough to know how long it would stay good past 5 days, so let me know if you try it.  This makes about 3 cups of ice cream.  

Maple Candied Walnuts

These are amazing and incredibly addictive on their own.  I've made them twice already this week and have eaten more than I care to admit.  They are also a great topping for the pumpkin ice cream! 

1 cup walnuts
1/4 c grade B maple syrup
1/8 tsp coarse salt

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, add the walnuts, maple syrup and salt.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the maple syrup has caramelized (the walnuts will be completely coated in syrup and there will be little left sticking to the pan), about 5-7 minutes.  Spread walnuts out onto parchment paper and let cool.  Store in an airtight container on the counter (if they last long enough to put in a container- I'm telling you, these are addictive!)

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