If you know us, you know there are few things we love as much as bacon, and even fewer things we love more than bacon. (Shhh, don't tell our kids.) Ice Cream is one of our absolute favorite sweet summer treats, so when a friend of ours suggested making Maple Bacon Ice Cream from our Maple Sugar Small Batch Strips we were elated to say the least!
This simple recipe starts with a custard base that's churned like traditional ice cream. So what the heck is the difference between frozen custard and ice cream you ask? Well, both frozen custard and ice cream are made with milk, cream and sugar however custard has a super silky decadently dense texture derived from egg yolks. The egg yolk acts as a thickening agent and also helps to keep the ice cream colder longer.
The base ingredients are, however, quite simple—in fact, you may have most of them currently in your pantry. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of salt are added to milk (we like to use half & half), heavy whipping cream, sugar and, of course, egg yolks. You can use this as the base for any ice cream recipe from Maple Bacon to Banana Bacon to Bubblegum Bacon Surprise. Hey, we don't know what kinds of flavors you're into, and we're not here to judge.
Now, there are a few ways to freeze your custard into ice cream. We used a Cuisinart ICE-21 from Crate a Barrel. It's the simplest version of an ice cream maker and produces a quart and a half of ice cream at a time. It comes with a metal inner bowl that needs to be frozen overnight before using it so no ice or salt needed. After your custard is made, it's transferred to the frozen bowl for churning. As the custard freezes, 2 blades scrape the sweet frozen treat from the walls of the bowl. It churns at just the right speed to infuse some air into your custard giving it a nice fluff. You then transfer it to an air-tight container and place it in the freezer to firm up.
We also understand that you may not have the space or budget for yet another appliance, let alone a seasonal one, so if you don't intend on investing in an ice cream machine, Bon Appetite has this great method for making ice cream without a machine. If you are using this method you'll need a whisk and a spatula. Either way, this Maple Bacon ice cream had us in a state of euphoria for a week straight. Enjoy!
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
3 large egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
8 slices of cooked bacon
Pinch of salt1 cup half & half
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Pinch of nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of vanilla—we like a bourbon vanilla ;)
Combine the half & half and heavy whipping cream in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat.
Add the brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Stir until almost at a simmer.
Pre-cook your bacon ahead of time or put it in the oven before you begin preparing your ice cream. Chop the cooked bacon strips into inch long pieces and add to the half & half mixture.
Turn stovetop to low and let steep for 10 min.
After 10 mins remove larger pieces of bacon with a skimmer or slotted spoon and add maple syrup.
With your half & half mixture still on low separate the egg yolks into a small bowl and combine with the white sugar.
Whisk or beat until smooth, creamy and a bit fluffy.
Next, you’ll need to temper your egg mixture. If you’ve never done this before not to worry. The key is to take your time. Starting with ONE TABLESPOON AT A TIME, add a total of ½ cup of the half & half mixture to your egg mixture and stir. If you add too much of your hot cream to your eggs at once you’ll cook the egg and cry and have to strain it later. And while we love scrambled eggs with bacon, ice cream is not the medium we’d like to use to enjoy them. So again, take your time. Continue to add the cream to your eggs and sugar while stirring until the mixture is warm smooth and creamy.
Next, pour your tempered eggs to the saucepan and stir until mixture thickens up. Dip a clean spoon into the pan, if the mixture coats the spoon it’s ready.
Transfer your cream to a bowl and let it chill in the fridge for no less than 2 hours.
Pour cooled mixture into your ice cream machine and churn until it thickens and gets icy.
Chill in freezer until ready to serve.
For a fun topping that packs a bit of sweet + heat, try sprinkling a little of The Baconer's Original Candied Bacon Rub on top. Delish!