Homemade maple ice cream

Can you see happiness in a pair of hands?

I think so. Especially when they're clutching a pint of homemade maple ice cream, churned from just whole milk, cream, and maple syrup.

I don't know why we haven't talked about this ice cream before. I certainly would never withhold dessert on purpose. I think it's just that it's so routine, so everyday, that I would no more make a fuss over it than I would over my morning bowl of granola. It is my go-to ice cream, and it is so simple that we don't buy ice cream anymore. Really. If you own any sort of mechanized homemade ice cream maker, whipping this recipe up is literally easier than going to the store.

To be fair, it's really more of a formula than a recipe. I learned it from Heidi, over here, who in turn picked it up from a woman named Patricia Wells. You take 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 cup of whole milk, and 1/2 cup of sweetener. (In my experience, honey, maple syrup, and brown or white sugar all work.) If you want to get fancy you can infuse the milk with ginger—ginger ice cream, we've found, makes an excellent accompaniment to pumpkin pie—or add a bit of lemon extract or a pinch of nutmeg. But we usually keep it simple: for apple pie, plain maple; for a berry crisp, honey and a spoonful of vanilla.

Over time, you'll find your own favorites, too. I'd love to hear what you come up with!


Maple is the simplest flavor, because you don't need any extracts, and you also don't need to melt the sweetener with the milk.

(If you use honey or sugar, you will need to heat them with the milk until they dissolve, and then chill the mixture until it gets back down to fridge temp. Another thing to keep in mind is that maple and honey both impart their own particular flavor to the ice cream, which is compatible with some extracts and spices but not with others. Sugar tastes more neutral.)

With maple, you can just grab the cream, milk, and maple straight from the fridge (if your maple isn't refrigerated, you should put 1/2 cup in to chill before you begin), pour them into the ice cream maker, and sit down for dinner. When you're done, the ice cream will be too.

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup maple syrup

Mix all three ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture into the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until thoroughly frozen. Eat some now, but also know that the ice cream will improve in flavor and texture over the course of a few days in the freezer. The maple flavor generally becomes more pronounced, and the ice cream firms up.


Againstthegrain said...

I use maple syrup to sweeten my homemade ice cream quite often, but I use a little less than you use, about 1/3 of a cup. I think maple syrup flavored ice cream is soooo much better than bland vanilla. And I agree it's so fast and easy to make ice cream. I like having control over the ingredients and sugar content. I find commercial ice creams much too sweet for my taste and my BG control, even simple formulations like Haagen-Daz Five flavors (five ingredients).

I also use two fresh raw eggs or a combination of whole eggs and yolks in my ice cream base (as per one of the basic bases in the Ben & Jerry's ice cream book), either whisking well or blending with a handheld stick blender to break up the egg whites. No, I am not worried about the raw eggs. I get them from a local backyard flock and we consume them raw all the time in homemade mayo, ice cream, smoothies, and eggnog. Then again, I often use fresh raw milk and cream, too, as I have a good dairy source that I trust.

I also lightly whip some of the cream separately and fold it into the mixture right before freezing, as the added air improves scoop-ability once the ice cream has been frozen hard in my big freezer. The whipped cream does increase volume, so it's important to make a slightly smaller batch or there can be overrun as the ice cream nears completion during the initial freezing phase.

Mindy said...

That sounds wonderful. When it finally warms up here and stops raining - we are in the Pacific Northwest and it is cold and nasty - I'll have to make some. Thanks for sharing!

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Good work

Jack said...

I also like to do the egg yolk addition. Always help with the creaminess.

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