gingerbread ice cream & festive cheer

While it’s been heating up outside during the past week, I’m trying to keep things cool inside my apartment.

My routine during the holiday break has been hitting the beach early in the morning, which I think is the best time of day to enjoy it (normally my internal work alarm clock still has me up by 05:00am even on my days off!).

Getting down there around 06:30am means avoiding the fierceness of the sun later in the day, the crowds of weekend dog-walkers and the sea breeze that descends by late morning to whip the ocean into a sea of white caps.

Leighton Beach even experienced a small token of Christmas festivities, with a small ornament-adorned tree appearing near the shore during the week – the work of whimsical, kind-spirited local. I couldn’t resist taking a snap…

This lovely ice cream recipe is perfect for the hot weather but also using up any leftover gingerbread from Christmas. Not that I had any remaining to speak of – I had to bake a batch especially because the box of gingerbread unwrapped on Christmas morning was devoured in the subsequent 24 hours.

For this recipe I took inspiration from one of my favourite food blogs, If the Spoon Fits.

It’s a site dedicated to the creamy, dreamy frozen creations of ice-cream lover Lindsay, whose fantastic photos and tempting recipes rarely fail to trigger my internal ice cream craving radar.

Concoctions from her site that went straight on my to-make list include key lime pie ice pops, peanut butter and jelly ice cream and meyer lemon pie ice cream.

Lindsay posted a recipe for brown butter gingerbread swirl ice cream back in December and it immediately moved to the top of my festive treats priority list.

I went to the effort of making my own gingerbread cookies (because the scent of spices and baking at Christmas time is heavenly) but you can of course use store-bought.

gingerbread ice cream

inspired by the recipe found on if the spoon fits

2 cups heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 2 vanilla pods, split lengthwise 1 large piece of fresh ginger, trimmed of skin 1 cinnamon quill 5 whole cloves 6 egg yolks ⅓ cup brown sugar ⅓ cup golden syrup 1 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger 1 ½ cups roughly crumbled gingerbread cookies

To a medium saucepan add the milk, cream, fresh ginger, whole cloves and vanilla pods.

Heat until just at boiling point, then remove from the stove and allow the cream to steep for half an hour. This will infuse the ice cream base with those lovely fresh spices and the fresh ginger.

Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks, golden syrup, brown sugar and ground spices until you have a thick, rich and even mixture.

After the cream has rested for 30 minutes, remove the piece of ginger and return the saucepan to medium heat, stirring gently until the mixture starts to simmer.

Remove from heat, strain through a sieve to remove all the solids and then slowly add the sieved cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk.

Once all the cream has been incorporated, return the entire mixture to the saucepan. Heat on medium-low and stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Gently pour the cream into a large glass or stainless steel bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool. A lot of ice cream recipes recommend at least four hours or overnight but I’m impatient so my cream mixture only spent about two hours chilling out.

When the mixture has cooled and you’re ready to make the ice cream, add the cream to your ice cream maker and follow the directions. Once the cream has gone through the churning cycle, tip into a loaf pan (or other freezer-appropriate receptacle) and stir through the crumbled gingerbread cookies.

Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

angelica talen

photographer & stylist

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