Cold weather ice cream: Gingersnap with caramel oranges

by Jessie K on December 7, 2012

I was never a big fan of gingersnap cookies until I sampled my friend Karen’s around this time last year. She’s an amazing and generous confectionary overlord whose gingersnaps are sturdy on the outside and chewy on the inside and explode with spicy fresh ginger flavor. Yum!

In honor of Karen and her cookies, I tried my hand at making gingersnap ice cream with orange caramel sauce the other night.

The recipe calls for a tablespoon of cracked peppercorns, which gives the ice cream a subtle hot and spicy flavor but the flavor grows a teensy bit more pronounced after a few days in the freezer, so it’s a good idea to stick to the called for amount.   And this was my first ever crack at homemade caramel sauce — boiling sugar in water until it caramelizes — and I quickly realized it’s important to use a small, heavy bottom saucepan as directed (no big tin pans here!) or else the caramel sauce may scorch.

See my previous cold weather ice cream recipes: mulled wine  and pear pecorino.

Gingersnap ice cream with caramel oranges (adapted from Gramercy Tavern in New York City)

  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon cracked peppercorn
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, crushed
  • 2 cracked cardamom pods
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • Caramel Oranges (recipe below)

1. Bring small saucepan of water to boil. Add ginger, and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer ginger to large saucepan.

2. Add milk, cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom to saucepan; bring to simmer. Turn off heat; let spices infuse for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, brown sugar and molasses.

3. To make the base, bring milk mixture back to boil, and remove from heat. Add a little hot milk mixture to yolk mixture to warm it, stirring constantly to keep yolks from curdling. Pour yolk mixture into rest of hot milk mixture, stirring constantly.

4. Return custard to stove, and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat, and strain custard through fine sieve. Chill until thoroughly cold, for at least 4 hours.

5. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve ice cream topped with caramel oranges. Yield: about 5 cups.

Caramel oranges
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 small oranges

1. In small, heavy saucepan, combine sugar and salt with 1/4 cup water. Stir mixture over medium heat until sugar dissolves, raise heat to medium-high and cook caramel without stirring until it turns medium amber in color, for about 10 minutes. Immediately, remove from heat.

2. Very carefully, add another 1/4 cup water to pot (caramel may splatter or bubble over). Set saucepan over low heat, and cook, stirring, until caramel dissolves and is smooth, for about 5 minutes.

3. While caramel cooks, peel oranges, removing white membranes around segments. When caramel is done, turn off heat. Add orange segments to pan, and stir to combine. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate. Drizzle over gingersnap ice cream.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups


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