Hark! Winter has arrived on our doorstep in all its frosted glory! We’re donning fuzzy slippers and drinking nog (the egg variety), with hair that smells like smoke from wrestling logs and kindling into the wood stove, coaxing them into flames.
For the last couple months we’ve been packing up our belongings and tying up loose ends in Portland, Oregon, in preparation for a long road trip to our new locale: a small town in Indiana.
I bought an ice cream maker during that (very inopportune) time, stashed it away in our moving boxes, and began scribbling down flavor possibilities in a manic frenzy knowing I’d soon be able to unleash my inner mad scientist on a canvas of sweet cream.
As soon as I unpacked the ice cream maker, I got to work filling the kitchen with the aroma of mulling spices. I don’t want to toot my own frozen confection-horn here, but I’m so smitten with this recipe. My (not-at-all-biased – HAH!) boyfriend says that it’s the best ice cream he’s ever had.
There are so many layers to this treat: it’s tangy, yet creamy…spicy, yet comforting…floral, yet not too sweet. It’s nostalgic, yet tastes like nothing I’ve ever eaten before. It may become a new holiday tradition ’round these parts.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup white cane sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup non-high-fructose corn syrup or tapioca syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 2 whole star anise
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced and peeled
- Strips of orange zest from 1 mandarin orange
- 1 (750-ml) bottle dark, fruity red wine (I bought a $2.99 bottle of cabernet sauvignon that was on sale – don't waste your money on anything too sophisticated, the spices eclipse the wine's flavor)
- 2 whole cloves
- Directions: Mix brown sugar, sugar, salt, and xanthan gum together in a bowl. Pour cold milk into a pot, and whisk sugar, brown sugar, xanthan gum, and salt into milk. Add corn syrup. Heat the milk on low until warm, stirring until all ingredients are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Wrap peppercorns, allspice berries, star anise, ginger, orange zest, and cinnamon sticks in cheesecloth and tie closed.
- Pour red wine into large pot, and drop in the spice bundle. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and reduce wine to approximately 1 cup of liquid (around 45 mins). Strain liquid to catch any stray spices that may have escaped the cheesecloth packet. Refrigerate 12 hours. Combine with ice cream base, and churn to a soft-serve consistency according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Serve, or freeze overnight for a scoopable consistency.
- Depending on how big your ice cream maker is, you may need to churn half of the mixture at a time.
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