Last week I had an eye doctor appointment and it just so happened that the doctor’s office was right next door to our local Graeter’s Ice Cream Shop. Graeter’s is well-known here in the Cincinnati area. Me being the weak person that I am, had already decided upon arrival that I would be making a visit next door after my eye appointment.
When I walked in the door, I was so amazed at all the different flavors of ice cream that I simply couldn’t choose. That’s when I saw a sign advertising their newest flavor…Maple Cinnamon Crunch! OMG! Yes, I’ll have a scoop of that, please! It was a little pricey at $4.50 a scoop so I thought to myself, this had better be the best ice cream I have ever tasted.
Once I returned to my car, I took one bite while swooning over it. Then I immediately started dissecting the wonderful creamy concoction. A true maple flavor was definitely pronounced along with the rich flavor of pure cream. Hidden inside were these little pieces of some sort of shortbread with a cinnamon taste…a true complement to the maple flavor. I was totally in heaven. I knew exactly what I had to do when I got home…replicate the recipe!
The first order of the day was figuring out how to make maple syrup the star of the show.
Note: All organic pure maple syrups are not equal. Trust me on this one. A few weeks ago I tested two different organic maple syrups while making maple caramels. There was no comparison. The Kirkland syrup, pictured on the above right, had a true pronounced Maple flavor, whereas the Coombs Family Farm’s syrup, pictured on the above left, was sweet with just a hint of maple flavor. The Coombs syrup was hardly recognizable in my caramels.
So, here’s how I made sure that the maple flavor was the star of the show. I poured 1 cup of pure organic maple syrup into a small saucepan. Then I simmered it over medium heat for about 30 minutes until it was reduced to about 2/3 cup. Most grocery stores carry grade A maple syrup, which is milder than grade B maple syrup. I wanted to make sure that the maple flavor was the star of the show here, so I wanted it to be as concentrated as possible.
The next thing I needed to do was to figure out the shortbread cookie part of the recipe. I knew it was very thin and had a cinnamon flavor. So instead of experimenting with shortbread recipes, I just made it easy on myself. I borrowed a simple recipe from Food Network and increased the cinnamon. It took just minutes to mix up and bake. It was thin and cinnamony and more than enough to put in an ice cream recipe. Perfect! I cut the cooled cookie into small squares, about the size of cinnamon toast crunch cereal, which by the way, would also work well in this recipe, especially if you want extra crunchiness.
Once I reduced the syrup I set it aside and started working on my custard for the ice cream. Here’s all I did…
- I used egg yolks, milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. I cooked it just long enough to slightly thicken it and removed it from the heat.
- I placed it in my freezer for 30 minutes until it was very cold, added whipping cream and my reduced maple syrup and mixed everything together.
- Then I folded in my cinnamon shortbread pieces.
Now it was ready for the ice cream maker…
Twenty-five minutes later, I had the most creamy and delicious maple flavored ice cream ever! The little pieces of cookie just sent it right on over the top!
Oh, and I didn’t have to pay $4.50 for a scoop of this delicious creamy ice cream either!
From My Country Table to yours… Maple Cinnamon Crunch Ice Cream!
FOR THE CINNAMON WAFER COOKIE:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 3 large egg whites, beaten to a froth
- 1/2 stick melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE ICE CREAM
- 1 cup pure organic maple syrup, Grade A or B. I used Grade A. *See notes below on syrup grades.
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup milk, I used 2%
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups cookie wafer shards (recipe above)
FOR THE CINNAMON WAFER COOKIE:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking sheet and set aside.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon until combined.
- Spread the mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet. The mixture will be thin.
- Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Invert onto a piece of parchment paper. Allow to cool and cut cookie into small pieces or break into small shards. Set aside.
FOR THE ICE CREAM
- Add the maple syrup to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until syrup has reduced to about 2/3 cup, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon to a medium saucepan. Whisk everything together until the eggs are well blended with the milk. Place pan over medium heat and stir slowly until mixture begins to thicken. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla and syrup and mix to combine. Place pan in a freezer until the custard becomes very cold, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the custard from the freezer. Add whipping cream and whisk to combine.
- Add the cookie shards.
- Pour mixture into an electric ice cream maker and follow instructions per your ice cream maker. I ran mine for 25 minutes on ice cream.
- Eat the ice cream soft serve as soon as it’s finished churning or freeze it for a couple of hours. This ice cream is still creamy when frozen, but firmer than soft serve.
- Freeze ice cream in an airtight container.
Prep time includes chilling and churning ice cream.
The wafer cookie can be baked 2 to 3 days prior to making the ice cream.
*Grade A syrup is a milder syrup, harvested early in the season. It’s a light golden color, also known as golden syrup. This is the grade predominately found in grocery stores. Grade B syrup is a much darker syrup with a stronger maple flavor. It is harvested later in the season. Most home cooks seem to prefer the sweeter tasting grade A syrup over the grade B. In this recipe I reduced the grade A syrup to give it more of a pronounced maple flavor.
Not all grade A maple syrups are the same. I tested two organic maple syrups and found one to be far more superior than the other brand. The winner was Kirkland brand syrup, that I purchased at my local Costco store. It was excellent!
Cinnamon Wafer Cookie adapted from Food Network.
Keywords: food, recipes, ice cream, frozen desserts, maple ice cream, maple cinnamon crunch ice cream,