It’s become that season in Seattle where my scarves are no longer decorative and my suede boots get a heavy coating of waterproofing spray. I begin my slow, but familiar descent into forgetting what the sun looks like and my dog cries as he poops because the sky is giving him an unwarranted bath.
Clearly it’s the season for ice cream.
What’s that, ice cream is for sunny, hot days?
Ice cream is a year round food. If you need to curl up in blankets while you eat it, the experience is just all the more cozy!
Perhaps it isn’t the season for a light lemon sorbet or a fruity strawberry ice cream. But ’tis the season for cinnamon, ginger, cloves… perhaps a pinch of cardamom?
Okay, okay, so that’s not ice cream. But it can be a part of ice cream.
David Lebovitz knows ice cream. So when David Lebovitz tells you that you can put brown bread in your ice cream, you put brown bread in your ice cream. And you like it. Also, you read the little additional notes he adds, suggesting to try out day-old bran muffins or gingerbread in place of the brown bread in his recipe.
This is genius.
This isn’t just dumping squishy pieces of gingerbread into heavy cream and hoping it makes magic. Crumbled gingerbread gets baked off with sugar and spice and everything nice (read: butter) to become little nuggets of crunchy goodness.
You’ll have to refrain from doing two dangerous things. 1 – putting more gingerbread crumbles in your mouth than your ice cream. 2 – getting really excited and putting more than the recommended amount of crumbles in the ice cream.
I did #2. Don’t get me wrong, it is still glorious with my large amount of crumbles in it, but David Lebovitz’s recipe has an ice cream base with cream cheese in it. It’s as if the smoothest, creamiest cheesecake you’ve ever had, one day decided to moonlight as ice cream. The amount of gingerbread crumbs I put into it may have overpowered its wonderfulness a little.
That hasn’t stopped me from eating multiple scoops of it a night in front of the tv, dogs asleep on my legs while rain bounces off my windows.
Ice cream ain’t just for sunshiny parks.
Gingerbread Crunch Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz
My main change from David’s original recipe (other than taking his suggestion of using gingerbread) was reducing the sugar and cinnamon the gingerbread gets baked with as gingerbread is sweeter and spicier than brown bread. If you choose to go the brown bread route, go with David’s original recipe!
- 9 oz. of day-old gingerbread (I used this recipe which was deeeelicious with or without its journey into ice cream)
- 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Ice Cream Custard
- 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup (65g) brown sugar (dark or light), or 3/4 cup (170g) granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 8 ounces (225g) cream cheese, cubed
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Crumbs: Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
- Crumble the bread into small, bite-sized bits. The largest should be no bigger than a kernel of corn.
- In a skillet, heat the butter until it melts, then continue to cook until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and stir in the bread bits, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Spread on the baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes (because of how moist gingerbread is, you will likely need closer to the 30 min mark), stirring a few times during baking, until the bread bits are well-toasted and crunchy.
- Cool completely then store in an air-tight container until ready to use. (They can be made a few days in advance and stored at room temperature.)
- Ice cream: Heat the milk, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, sugar and salt in a saucepan.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup cream (250 ml) into a medium-sized bowl and the cubes or cream cheese or sour cream. Set a mesh strainer over the top and ready an ice bath.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the warm milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
- Strain the custard into the heavy cream and cream cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and whiskey, if using. Set bowl into ice bath to cool quickly.
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, quickly fold in about two-thirds of the brown bread crumbs, or as much as to your liking, then store the ice cream in the freezer until firm and ready to serve.