Last time I wrote about ice cream it was strawberry basil to celebrate summer strawberries. Today I’m featuring one of autumn’s favorite flavors, maple. (It’s not just for maple dijon vinaigrette, you know, drizzled upon a roasted butternut squash salad or seared scallops.) It’s a good time for this post, too, given my recent trip to the country with a maple leaf prominently featured on its national flag. Born in Montréal, I’m a dual citizen of the US and Canada and grew up eating all kinds of maple-flavored things. I also have fond memories of watching maple trees being tapped and seeing massive vats of syrup being boiled in a local farm on the Canadian countryside.
Beyond all that, it’s one of my husband’s favorite flavors, so I made up a quart last week as a special treat for him while I was out of town. I’m excited to share this recipe with you, as we both agreed this is one of the best ice creams I’ve ever made.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated maple sugar
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2-3 tsp maple extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Whisk all ingredients except toasted walnuts together in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn 25-30 minutes, adding the walnuts during the last 5 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container to ripen in the freezer for at least two hours. (And take a taste of the soft ice cream, too—it’s fabulous, but you’ll also get a chance to see how the flavors do indeed develop over time.)
While I’ve made maple walnut ice cream before, this recipe was certainly the best. I’m quite sure it’s because I employed three different ingredients—granulated maple sugar, maple extract, and maple syrup—that really brought out the desired flavor. If you can’t find granulated maple sugar, you might consider consulting a recipe that uses reduced maple syrup or use regular sugar plus more maple extract. But if you can find these specific ingredients, I assure you it makes a superior dessert. (In other words, when I’ve made it in the past my husband and I both agreed the maple flavor was too subtle.) And, unlike other instructions, there is no need to reduce maple syrup or make a custard, which adds time and expense. Finally, this recipe is richer than that for my strawberry basil flavor, which used skim milk. Given I only make ice cream two or three times per year, though, I went for a creamier variety this time around and employed 2% milk, which was plenty rich, believe me. Skim milk would be great as well (I’ve done it before), just remember that it freezes up much, much harder so you need to give it time to sit before serving. With this recipe, the combination of higher fat dairy and pure, unreduced maple syrup retained the perfect texture for serving almost directly out of the freezer.
I know this because I occasionally pop into the kitchen, grab a spoon, and take a lick*.
Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading.
* I don’t encourage this behavior.