candy cane ice cream

Saturday, November 27, 2010
Just in case you haven't noticed, Christmas is coming. I'm kind of indifferent to Christmas this year. I used to love Christmas, this year I'm kind of blah about it.

The husband and I usually attend 4 Christmas events between Christmas eve and boxing day.  Yes the movie Four Christmases could be based on my life. After all the running around we did last year, I'm not looking forward to doing it all over again. Don't get me wrong, I love putting up the tree, decorating and especially baking, but I think it should be done in December, not in November and definitely not in October. Alot of people may beg to differ, but this is just the way I like things done. No Christmas decor until at least the first weekend in December.

Obviously for most people, they love all the treats that Christmas brings. The cookies or cakes or pies that your family members make only once a year. Shortbread, butter tarts, sugar cookies, gingerbread, eggnog all that good stuff.  Besides any homemade goodies, the thing I love most about Christmas is that I can buy candy cane ice cream.

I first had it a few years ago and it was like nothing I'd ever eaten. It was a vanilla and peppermint sweetened ice cream base with pieces of candy cane and a chocolate swirl. It was heavenly. Last year we bought a tub (they only sell it in the 1 litre tubs) and ate the entire thing in a week. It is the husbands favourite ice cream.

This year I decided to try and re-create it. We received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift and what better time to bust it out than 4 weeks before Christmas with snow still on the ground. Obviously.

This ice cream uses just a basic vanilla ice cream base, but instead of using a vanilla bean and vanilla sugar, I've used a small amount of vanilla extract along with peppermint extract to re-create that unique flavour. I wanted to use the crushed candy canes as the main mint flavour and not overpower any other flavour.

We still have some ice cream left, but I don't think it'll last long. I think I'll be making this again before Christmas.

Candy cane ice cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 peppermint candy canes, crushed finely
1 100g dark chocolate bar, chopped into fine pieces

Pour milk in to a medium saucepan, add the vanilla and peppermint extract. Heat until near boiling and remove from heat. Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar using a whisk until thick and pale. Gradually add warmed milk mixture, whisking to combine.

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir continuously until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove bowl from heat and cover the surface directly with wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin. Place in fridge to cool completely. Along place crushed candy cane and chocolate into the freezer to chill. When adding extras into your ice cream, it helps if they are frozen so they don't break down further or melt.

Once cool, stir in heavy cream and churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. I have a Cuisinart 2Qt. Ice Cream Maker and it took 30 minutes. Refer to your owners manual.

Once ice cream has reached desired consistency, add the candy canes and chocolate, churn until mixed. If the ice cream maker won't stir the extras in fully, use a rubber spatula to combine them fully.  Pour churned ice cream into an airtight container and place in freezer to chill until solid. Using a wide, shallow container will help it chill quicker.

 Serve to your favourite elf, reindeer, grinch or scrooge.