Cinnamon Ice Cream
Happy (Belated) National Ice Cream Day!
A few weeks ago I was hanging out with my husband and about 1,000 of our newest friends at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon–an hosted annually by Chris Guillebeau. WDS is essentially a huge and inspiring community week long meetup filled with personal development workshops, motivating mainstage speakers, and bunches of smaller more specific themed meetups consisting of many people with a number of shared passions for living and self defining what it means to live a remarkable life. One of these meetups was an ice cream walk to Portland’s Salt and Straw, so naturally we joined in on the yummy goodness!
The ice breaker intro at this particularly delicious meetup was to tell everyone your name and a favorite ice cream flavor. “Hi, my name is Lori, and I am an equal opportunity ice cream eater, but one of my favorite ice cream flavors is Graeter’s Cinnamon Ice Cream!” We then preceded to walk 1.4 miles from Directors Park to the NW 23’rd location of Salt and Straw (BTW they have awesomely creative flavors–Olive Oil and PB&J were my two favs!) During this pilgrimage for the sweet creamy dessert, I made a few new friends that were so kind and encouraging about my food blog ideas, that I have found a renewed vigor for sharing my home cooking creations! Thanks WDS’ers!
Now unfortunately, Graeter’s only manufactures and distributes my favorite Cinnamon as a seasonal flavor, available in Ohio from November to the start of January. The past few years, I have managed to find 5-6 pints in the January pint sale so I can stockpile and pace myself for a few months, but somehow I missed it this year! Thankfully my sister got me my very own ice cream maker this past Christmas! Now I make my own copycat of their deliciousness anytime I please!
My only previous ice cream making experience prior to Christmas 2017, was watching Anne Burrell teach the skill to ‘Worst Cooks in America.” Now I feel like a pro! Let me tell you, this is such an easy recipe that I believe anyone with an ice cream maker can make this! The hard parts are choosing what flavor to make and being patience with the cooling and freezing processes!
Lets be honest, the first step is ALWAYS laying out ingredients! I will never tell you otherwise!
Next, I like to pre measure what I can. I also prefer to sift the sugar and get out any lumps before we start. I always have lumpy sugar thanks to the muggy Ohio summers!
Pro tip on separating the eggs–save the egg white for tomorrow’s breakfast omlet!
The first cup of Half & Half gets added to the sugar/egg whisking party, then we add heat on low. Whisk away! The goal here is trifold: dissolve the sugar, heat the mixture until the eggs are safe to eat (165 degrees), and try to do it slowly and gently enough to avoid scrambled eggs!
Either your basic meat thermometer or a candy thermometer (what I used) should have range to help you determine the temperature. Again–165 is the goal temp.
Once at temp, the mixture needs to be removed from the heat and strained. Technically, straining the base is optional, but I would rather not see the tiny bits of cooked egg when eating. No matter how slowly I heat the egg mixture, I always have a few cooked bits.
Adding the Heavy Whipping Cream and the second cup of Half & Half will help cook the mixture. I like to stir between each cup to create a homogenous mixture. Now for the favoring! The vanilla adds a subtle flavor that makes it all the more delightful to eat! If you were to taste the mix now, you may think it is too sweet. Once the mixture is frozen, our taste buds will dull from the cold and will no longer perceive it to be overly sweet.
If you were to stop here (aka you have done everything except add the cinnamon) then you have a perfect vanilla ice cream! This can be cooled and frozen as is, or you can add vanilla beans then cool and freeze, or cool and freeze then add candy/cookies into the ice cream maker toward the end of the freezing process! You have the permission to be creative!
Cinnamon is a fav and what I set out to make today, so this is where we add it! As you mix the cinnamon in, you might think it is incorporating badly and something horribly disastrous has gone wrong. DON’T WORRY! The cinnamon will mix a little with the majority of it floating to the surface of the mixture. This is normal!
Before freezing, we want the ice cream mixture to chill in the fridge until it is really cold. I usually plan for at least two hours, but more time in the fridge is fine too! The purpose of this chill session is because I use an ice cream maker that requires a special frozen bowl. Any extra heat in the mixture has the potential to reduce the efficiency of the freezing process and prevent the appropriate texture to develop. I know some of the fancier ice cream machines have electric cooling features, so depending on your set up, this may be an optional step.
We are ready to freeze! Turn your ice cream maker on to start churning and THEN add the chilled ice cream mixture to your ice cream machine. I recommend this order because my machine starts the freezing process fast! You don’t want to accidentally break a plastic piece off by letting the mix freeze before you start churning.
Now, have patience. It will take about 30 minutes. Start checking the consistency around 20 minutes, and continue until it has thickened and has the mouthfeel of soft serve. Too much churning, and it can take on an oily butter like consistency.
Once the ice cream has churned, thickened, and approximately doubled in volume, it is ready to either be served as soft serve or ripen in the freezer. ‘Ripen’ is fancy ice cream talk for allowing the soft serve time to harden in the freezer to a scoop-able consistency.
Depending on what size/shape freezer safe ice cream container you use, it could take between 2-4 hours in the freezer. And more patience is required here (and this is also where I sneak a bite or three)
I know there are many recipes out on the web for basic ice cream bases. I have found that the number of eggs is the most common variable between many similar recipes, and I think that three egg yolks to three cups of dairy is the best combo for a smooth, rich, and creamy treat. Note: You can also use all three cups of dairy as Half & Half, or two cups of Heavy Whipping Cream (easily found as a pint at the store) with one cup of normal milk. As long as I have a good amount of milk ‘fat’ the mixture has turned out well for me! Too little milk fat or too few egg yolks can cause the ice cream to become overly hard when it ripens.
The total time from start to finish on this recipe is about 4.5-6.5 ish hours, but like 95% of that time is patience with the mixture hanging out in the fridge/freezer. The recipe, as presented here, should make about 1.5 quarts once churned. Traditional store bought containers would say this is 12 servings, but you do you. I hope you enjoy one of my favorite ice cream flavors!
Cinnamon Ice Cream
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 2 Cups Half & Half, divided
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 Tablespoons Cinnamon, to taste
- Electric Ice Cream Maker
- Freezer Ice Cream containers (optional if you want ‘soft serve’)
- Gather and pre measure all ingredients
- Add sugar, egg yolks, and 1st cup of Half & Half to a sauce pan, then wisk
- Heat on low, while continuously whisking, until sugar dissolves completely and mixture reaches 165 degrees
- Remove from heat and strain mixture into a mixing bowl to remove any clumps of cooked egg. I use a fine mesh strainer because I always seem to have some of the egg cook too fast.
- Add the Heavy Whipping Cream and the 2nd cup of Half & Half, then stir
- Add the Vanilla Extract and stir again
- Add the Cinnamon and whisk well (it will rise to the top of the mixture but will better incorporate later during the freezing process)
- Chill well in the fridge! I plan for about two hours minimum. (Note: this step may be optional if your ice cream maker has an electric cooling feature–I use the kind with a special frozen bowl)
- Set up ice cream maker and add creamy mixture according to manufacturer instructions
- It is ready as soft serve after 20-30 minutes churning, or place in freezer safe ice cream containers and allow to ripen in freezer for 2-4 hours minimum