Almond Cinnamon Ice Cream
When a person starts to learn how to cook, whether it is at age 10 or age 30, there is always that Thing. The Thing that they saw on TV one time, the Thing that seemed so decadent and wonderful, yet so difficult to make. It’s the Thing that we fret about when we begin our journey, the Thing that we want so badly to make but have so much anxiety about. It’s too complicated, too advanced, too scary to tackle.
For me, the Thing was ice cream.
The first time I ever gave any thought to making ice cream was in Spring 2016, when my food writing course assigned us to read A Mouthful of Stars by Kim Sunee. One of the recipes came from Mexico, an avocado ice cream. It simply called for a few ingredients and an ice cream machine, and yet it seemed so far away for a beginner cook like me. I was barely learning how to make pasta, how could I ever entertain the idea of making something like ice cream?
But the idea stayed with me. I couldn’t shake the thought of making something so tantalizingly yummy, a dessert that I looked forward to in the happiest and saddest of times. I wanted it deep down, but the fear of failure was strong in the beginning of my cooking journey. Over and over again, I talked myself out of it. It wasn’t like I had an ice cream maker anyways, and I wasn’t about to drop a bunch of money on one.
And then my birthday came. As I began to unwrap my mother in law’s gifts, I noticed a theme. A basket of sugar, chocolate syrup, and ice cream salt.
“That’s so thoughtful,” I said. I was about to add that it was a shame I didn’t have an ice cream maker when I eyed the two large gifts sitting next to the basket, each of them roughly the size of an ice cream maker. I squealed when I realized what this would mean. Now I had no excuses, nothing to hold me back from trying it out. And if I failed, well, it wasn’t like I had spent a bunch of money on the ingredients and equipment.
So, I began to experiment. From the very first batch, I was hooked. My homemade ice cream was so much richer, so more filling, so much sweeter than the most expensive ones I had ever purchased from the store. For the first time, I felt like I could do this. I could make delicious things that tasted better than anything I’d ever eaten before. For the first time, failure didn’t seem so scary anymore.
This almond cinnamon ice cream is a step above the typical vanilla or chocolate recipes, but it’s as easy as can be. The only special equipment you’ll need is an ice cream maker, which you can get for anywhere from $25-50 at any super center. The almond is unique and unexpected, but fits well with the heaviness of the cream and lightens up the dessert.
I hope that my recipe helps you see that you can overcome your Thing, no matter what it is.
Until then, let’s start with my Thing.
2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Sugar
Pinch of Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
9 Large Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Almond Extract
In a medium pot, add heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure that you get at the bottom of the pan, otherwise the mixture may burn here. In the meantime, whisk eggs yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Save whites in a Tupperware in the fridge to make egg white omelets later.
Once cream mixture has simmered, add almond extract and stir in for about thirty seconds. Then, add 1/3 of the cream into the egg yolks and quickly whisk in to temper the eggs. Once mixed, add yolks to pot and stir constantly over medium heat. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the mixing spoon, remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and place in fridge overnight (minimum five hours).
Bring out your mixture and churn according to your machine’s instructions. Keep in mind that rock salt can always be replaced by table salt, but you’ll need to Google the conversion. Freeze for 2-3 hours, then scoop out and enjoy. This mixture is great with vanilla cake and fruit pies.
If your mixture is lumpy: If your ice cream mixture turns out lumpy after adding the eggs, simply put it in a blender and run it for about five to ten seconds. It should get all the eggs lumps out without affecting the flavor, and no one has to know that there was ever a mistake.
Of course, serve frozen and enjoy.
After trying this ice cream, don’t be surprised if you stop buying ice cream from the store altogether. There really is no equivalent to the real ingredients put together in real time. Beyond that, you can’t package pride in a job well done. It’s a special part of the human existence, an experience I think everyone should have.
But enough preaching for today. I have some homemade ice cream to dig into.
Until next time, stay fearless.