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


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Janelle December 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm


Oh. You are so adventurous. Just made vanilla (again) last night. But… my daughter made brownies and I had some older bananas. Added some chocolate sauce and nuts. Believe me, I didn’t want for anything after that.

Sarah December 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm


Lol, I just left the grocery list with my husband and included all of the goodies to make this later in the weekend. It looks so delish!

Jessie K December 10, 2012 at 10:13 am


Wonderful! Let me know how it turns out.

Karen S. December 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm


Oh my goodness that looks good. But where do you find cardamom pods around here? I guess the internet can be a small town cooks friend.
I’ve never been an overlord before. I’m thinking of doing cookies tomorrow while we decorate the tree. Triple ginger cookies are definitely on the menu.

Jessie K December 10, 2012 at 10:02 am


I’m pretty sure the healthy food co-op has whole cardamom pods in the bulk food section. Either there or Cool Springs. Eating gingersnaps while decorating the tree sounds wonderful!

Olga December 10, 2012 at 3:40 am


Oh!!! this be good as creme brulee. I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I might make a creme brulee version of it.

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