Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

that's what this ice cream is made of. And by "everything nice" I mean fatty fat milk fat. Yum. This week's IHCC theme is Spice Caravan, and we are all meant to dig into our spice cabinets for little used spices or to pair new spices together to create new flavors. I have a bit of a spice problem. It's not quite as bad as my food hoarding pantry issue, but it's a hurdle. I had to get creative and build a little stacking unit to store all of my spices and still keep them all within reach. I have a thing for spice blends in particular and I admit, I rarely use them. The best and most sadly neglected is a Chai spice blend I've used only once, for one of my favorite cookie recipes. I needed to break in my new ice cream maker, too, so I went hunting.

I discovered Mark Bittman's NY Times post about using cornstarch for ice cream instead of egg based custard. Having never made ice cream, I don't have any bias about methods or recipes, so I figured it makes sense to start with the most controversial (if you would call ice cream controversial, which you wouldn't unless you're a total food snob, and then there's no way you'd be reading my blog). I took Mark's method and added my own flavorings to make what turned out to be an incredibly creamy, smooth, and fabulous dessert. If you have an ice cream maker, make this.

Chai Spiced Ginger Crunch Ice Cream 
Adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe for Cornstarch Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups low fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. chai spice blend (or make your own blend)
3 Tbls. cornstarch 
1/2 cup crushed ginger snaps (about 6-8 cookies)

Reserve 1/2 cup of milk. Mix remaining milk, cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until mixture begins to steam.
In a bowl, whisk cornstarch, chai spice, and remaining  milk; there should be no lumps. Add cornstarch mixture to pot. Cook, stirring, until it starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 5 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to very low and stir for 5 minutes or so until thick. Stir in vanilla extract.
If mixture has lumps, strain it into a bowl. Chill until cool, a couple of hours (you can skip this step if you have a machine with a built-in freezer). When cool or if there are no lumps, pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding ginger snaps at the end of the process.

Print the recipe!


Pierce said...

Joanna, if it has cream, it’s a definite treat. Ice cream can’t be controversial, can it? :-)

Kim said...

Oh my gosh.....I'm totally on my way up there! I really need to have this ice cream. What a fabulous choice for the spice them. Can you tell I'm totally digging on this recipe? Awesome!

Carla and Michael said...

Oh my gosh is right! This is surely the recipe I am going to use to initiate my brand new ice cream machine with. What a wonderful idea for flavoring ice cream. Thanks.

melissa said...

Oh. My. God. I need an ice cream machine so I can make this. NOW!

Great job!

Debinhawaii said...

Yum! I have made Chai ice cream before but want to give this one a try. It looks amazing--great pick!

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Oh boy, this has got my name all over it - I love making my own ice cream - I'm still pretty new to that and love experimenting with ice creams and sorbets. Very interested to try the cornstarch method and see how that goes. I love ginger snaps too, so putting them into ice cream sounds like a great idea.

Joanne said...

I think my spices outnumber my shoes...which is saying a lot. I have more than I can even remember. It's crazy.

This ice cream sounds fantastic! I just got an ice cream maker and haven't really used it yet. This is making the list.