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To paraphrase the great Will Rogers: I never met an ice cream I didn’t like.
Wait. I take that back. I accidentally had a bite of banana ice cream once, and I can honestly say that I didn’t like that ice cream. Blech! Cough! Gag! Who in the world would put something as demonic as a banana in something as heavenly as ice cream? To this day, I’m still confused. And I’m still gagging.
But aside from that scary, awful, horrible, terrible bite of banana ice cream…I never met an ice cream I didn’t like. And this ice cream—in all its cinnamony sweet goodness—pretty much changed everything I thought I knew about myself and ice cream. Before I made it the first time, I would have said my favorite two flavors of ice cream were coffee and chocolate, in that order. But this totally threw a wrench into that whole thing, and I’ll be darned if this isn’t up there with coffee, fighting violently for first place. It really is that good.
Here’s how to make it.
Pour some half-and-half into a medium saucepan…
Along with some sugar.
Half-and-half and sugar. Great start to any recipe, I’d say!
Next, drop some cinnamon sticks in there…
Then split and scrape all the caviar out of a vanilla bean…
And add it to the saucepan along with the empty pod. (You can also just add a little vanilla extract if you don’t have vanilla beans!)
Stir this mixture around and let it heat up until very hot but not boiling.
And while it’s heating up, separate some eggs and put the egg yolks in a bowl.
Use a whisk and whatever strength you can muster to vigorously beat the yolks for a couple of minutes, until they’re slightly lighter in color.
Now that the half-and-half mixture is nice and hot, remove the cinnamon sticks…
And the empty vanilla bean pod…
Then you need to temper the yolks: Grab a ladle full of the hot mixture…
And gently whisk it as you add it in.
Then do it again with a second ladle full of the mixture. This slowly raises the temperature of the egg yolks so that when they get added to the hot saucepan, they don’t immediately freak out and scramble.
Scrambled egg ice cream is grody! Almost as grody as banana ice cream!
Next, slowly pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan, stirring with a spoon.
Then just cook it slowly for a couple of minutes…
Until it’s thick enough to coat the spoon.
Next, force the mixture through a strainer. You don’t have to do this, but it gets rid of some lumps and larger chunks of vanilla here and there. There are times, though, when I haven’t strained the custard…and the ice cream still winds up being delicious!
How could it not?
And speaking of “how could it not”…the next thing to do is add heavy cream to the custard.
Whoa. Things are getting serious now.
Mix this together…
Then, for good measure, whisk in a little ground cinnamon.
Now, if I have the time, I like to chill this mixture before adding it to the ice cream machine.
Then pour it on in…
And churn it up! My machine takes about an hour to get it to this stage, and since it made twice this amount, I had to do two batches. Some ice cream machines hold more volume—just judge it when you pour it in! I usually fill it about 2/3 to 3/4 full to allow for some expansion while the ice cream freezes.
Now, you can serve it in this soft-serve stage if you like, but I prefer to freeze it from here so it’s firm and scoopable.
Scoopable. That’s a word, right?
It takes several hours to get to this stage, so if you’re having company over, it’s usually best to make the ice cream at least the day before.
I like to put smaller scoops in a stemless wine glass…
Along with a cinnamon stick or two, just to make it purty.
Or just a big, single scoop in a small bowl is always inviting.
But it doesn’t really matter how you serve it. Once they take one bite, their eyes will be closed from the sheer bliss of it all.
This ice cream is out-of-this-world, guys! Put it on your list of things to make this summer. You’ll be so glad you did!
(This recipe is also in my Holiday cookbook if you have it!)