Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream

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Looking for a unique frozen treat or specialty cocktail for Memorial Day weekend? How about rolling them into ONE and serving up Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream. Seriously.

I’m not that much of a drinker. There are several reason for this. Most importantly, alcohol usually doesn’t sit well with my stomach. Two, I’d much rather EAT my calories than drink them. Three, when I have a cocktail I inevitably say really stupid things… in front of people… in inappropriate situations. There, I said it. I’m better off staying away from booze and avoiding the embarrassment.

That is, unless I’m cooking. Whether it’s wine, beer or straight liquor, I’m in the kitchen I often find myself reaching for the bottle. Liquor is crafted and aged with the sole purpose of creating intense depth of flavor. This flavor has to shine above the potential burn of the alcohol. Therefore it is the perfect ingredient to add “intense depth of flavor” to any dish.

Crystal bar-ware and cutlery from Villeroy & Boch.

My libation of choice is whiskey. With variations like Scotch, Bourbon and Irish Whiskey, the possibilities are endless. Each holds it’s own distinct flavor that can saturate and perfume dishes with intoxicating gusto. I tend use Bourbon most often; it’s American made, it’s sweet and the aroma it hard to beat.

Ice Cream is the perfect place to let whiskey shine. The smooth creamy texture of ice cream accentuates the pure essence of Bourbon. Adding fresh vanilla bean, brown sugar and spiced walnuts gives this Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream recipe dynamic boldness and a little crunch for good measure.

Homemade ice cream is a relatively simple task. You need a little time for chilling, but not a lot of skill. Just make sure to be on guard for curdling.

Curdling is the one thing that can ruin your liquored-up ice cream lick fest. Most ice cream recipes call for egg yolks. If the egg yolks are simmered too long–WHAM, curdle! Whisking your egg yolks with sugar before adding them to the cream mixture helps eliminate curdle. In this recipe, the whiskey can also curdle the cream. So it’s best to add the bourbon, right at the end, before the ice cream is poured into the ice cream maker.

Here’s how to do it: (CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE)

Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk well. Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Once the cream mixture is warm and ALMOST simmering, add the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time. Whisk vigorously (or use a immersion blender) to combine the egg yolks, so they don’t curdle. Stir another 1-2 minutes, until the mixture thickens a little. Then remove from heat. Place in the fridge for at least four hours. *You can speed up the chilling process by placing it in the freezer for 1 hour—just don’t forget about it!

Meanwhile, make the Spiced Walnuts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the walnuts in a bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, salt and spices. In a third bowl, whisk the egg white and whiskey together until frothy. Pour the egg mixture over the nuts. Toss until well coated. Then add the sugar mixture and toss. Pour the walnuts onto the baking sheet. Try not to pour any of the extra liquid on the sheet. Separate them as best as possible. Bake for 20-25 minutes—stirring once. Allow them to cool completely.

Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, pour the mixture into an electric ice cream maker. NOW add the whiskey and let it churn for 20-30 minutes to soft serve consistency. Add the spiced walnuts to the ice cream maker and churn in, or reserve them to serve on top! Serve immediately on place in an air-tight container and freeze.

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