January 26, 2014

Maple Rum Walnut Ice Cream And Two Years Blogging

Two years ago today, I decided to carve out a space for myself on the internet.  However small, it was a place where I could share my passion for baking, my highs and lows as a PhD student, and any other thoughts that happened to be littering my mind at the moment.  

My posts were few and far between and the photography was horrendous.  I’ve considered deleting those posts – the ones before I started using a good camera, styling, and editing, but I don’t.  They let me see how far I’ve come.  They show the journey, not just the destination.  

I still have a lot to learn as I enter another year, and I am jumping into it headfirst!  I’m looking forward to sharing everything I learn with you.  There will be still be lots of baking, but there will be other things too: things I’m loving, things I’m making outside of the kitchen, ideas for party styling and menus, my newfound love of arranging flowers.  There’s so much happening and I hope you’ll stay to see it all!  

But for now, let’s pop open a bottle of sparkling wine (my fave lately) and celebrate two years with ice cream.  

A little while ago, despite the bone chilling wind outside, I got an urge to make some ice cream.  “What’s a wintery ice cream flavour?” I asked Alex.  And that’s when maple rum walnut was born.  

Maple is a winter classic.  Warm maple syrup being turned into maple candy over a bed of clean, fresh snow.  Walking in the crisp, cold air through the groves of maple trees hiding their sweet sap.  Toasted nuts evoke thoughts of fireplaces and warm, cozy homes.  If there is a wintery ice cream flavour, this is it.  

I didn’t come up with the maple walnut combination and I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to add rum to it, but I made this version and it was delicious.  So even though it’s cold outside, I’ll eat ice cream today and celebrate.  

Two years since I started blogging.

One year since I started blogging seriously. 

And hopefully many more years to come.  

Maple Rum Walnut Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop

1/2 cup (125 mL) maple syrup
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark rum

For the maple walnuts:

Heat oven to 350F.  Spread walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring around once or twice during baking to ensure even toasting.  Let cool.  

Bring maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in the toasted, cooled walnuts.  After the syrup comes to a boil again, stir for 10 more seconds.  Remove from heat, stir in salt, and let cool completely.  The nuts will still be wet and sticky when cool, that’s good.  This is not praline.  Chop roughly, depending on how big you like the chunks in your ice cream.  It’s best to use the nuts on the same day, but they can be stored in an airtight contained for up to 1 day.  

For the ice cream: 

Combine milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl and set beside the stove.  In a large bowl, pour the cold cream.   Prepare an ice bath by combining ice cubes with ice cold water in a bowl large enough to fit the bowl of cream.  Place the bowl with cream into the ice bath, making sure the water will not get into the bowl even if it sinks.  Set aside. 

Now we’re ready to start!  Heat milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved and milk is steaming.  Slowly, whisking constantly, pour hot milk into the egg yolks.  Once combined, pour mixture back into the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the spoon/spatula.  Strain into the cold cream to remove any egg lumps, and stir to combine.  Stir in maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and rum.  Continue to stir over the ice bath until the mixture is cold.  

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge (overnight is best) and then churn in your ice cream maker.  Once done churning, stir in maple walnuts, and freeze.  I found there was a little too many nuts if I used all of them, so add to taste.  

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