Servings: 8 Prep: 20 mins Cook: 20 mins Total: 1 hr 15 mins
I’ve been eating various versions of this diet since I first lost weight, back in 2010. Sometimes I lean harder into Frankenfoods, sometimes I eat a bit more fruit, occasionally I lean hard into fatty meats, whilst other times I eliminate dairy. A lot is due to my level of fitness. Other times, it’s to cut a bit of waddle. And occasionally, just to mix it up and play with the formula. In all cases, each phase or iteration, it’s involved ice cream. Always. For going back 12 years, now. Ice cream. Almost daily.
I got lucky. My folks moved and had a big, fancy, Italian ice cream machine that they didn’t plan to move. They offered it to me, and I quickly accepted. Since then, I’ve made roughly 1 batch per week, generally making a new flavor. This suggests I’ve whipped up over 500 different flavors, over the years. And, while I definitely recreate favorites, there’s no question I’ve made hundreds of flavors, from the more exotic green tea and chai flavors to standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. One of the more interesting flavors was an Orange-Rosemary and Bacon (tasty!). Some are bit more hard-earned, like a fresh Spearmint-infused Cream with Cocoa Nibs. It’s my playland. It’s where I go to lavish my inner indulgence gremlin, cheating it of actual sugar, while holding it at bay.
This particular flavor takes a bit more work than some, but it also happens to be one of my most absolute flavors, having been recreated several times. A friend of mine just had me make a massive batch for a gathering he was hosting. Word is out, on this flavor. It’s fantastic!
Note: I created a substantial write-up on my approach to sugar-free ice creams, right here. Give it a read to scoop up a bit more insight!
Spiced Caramel Apple Ice Cream with Walnut StreuselPrint Pin Rate
- 1 1/4 cup sugar replacement
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 medium apples like Granny Smith
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 large egg yolks
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 Tbsp vegetable glycerin optional
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 Tbsp yacón syrup substitute: blackstrap molasses or honey
- salt to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the sweetener, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of salt. Mix these ingredients, then set aside.
- Pre-heat a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat.
- While the pan is heating, cut the apples into small 1/4-inch (1/2cm) cubes. Peeling is optional (I rarely do).
- Once the pan is hot, add 1 Tbsp (15mL) of the fresh butter and quickly swirl around the pan. It should lightly brown around the edges, but not burn. Quickly add about 1/4 of the apple cubes and toss, to coat with the butter. Turn the heat to medium and evenly distribute them along the bottom of the pan, so that a single layer of apple cubes is formed. Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp (15mL) of the sweetened spice mixture over the apples. After about 1 minute, one side of the cubes will take on a nice, caramelized color. Toss the apples, so that most have a new side facing down. Allow them to sit for about 1 minute. Continue cooking and tossing until they are nicely browned on the outside, but not overcooked, soft and mushy. The process should be fairly quick, taking about 3 minutes. Place the browned apple cubes in a plate to cool. Repeat this step 3 more times, until all the apples are sweetened, spiced, and caramelized. Set the plate in the refrigerator, to cool.
- In a medium sized saucepan, gently heat the cream over low heat until it’s just about to simmer.
- Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly temper the hot cream into the egg by pouring a very small amount of the hot cream into the eggs, while whisking. This will help prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once the bit of cream is incorporated, add a bit more, all while continuing to whisk. Then, add a bit more. Continue adding the hot cream to the eggs, while whisking, until all of the cream has been added and whisked into the eggs. Pour the hot egg mixture back into the saucepan. Place the pan on the stove, over the lowest heat. Stir, consistently. Keep the liquid moving, being sure to scrape down the sides as it continues to heat up and cook. Again, we’re trying to avoid scrambled eggs.
- Take 2 Tbsp (30mL) of the sweetened spice mixture and set aside. This will be used for the streusel.
- If you’re using the xanthan gum, add to the remaining cup of sweetened spice mixture and mix into the dry ingredients. This will distribute and disperse it evenly throughout the dried mix, helping to prevent clumping.
- Whisk the cup of sweet, dry ingredients and vanilla into the egg mixture. Whisk quickly and thoroughly, again to keep the xanthan from clumping. Once everything is smooth and dissolved you can relax, somewhat. Although you do want to keep whisking to keep from scrambling the eggs. It should stay smooth. Keep whisking, until the frothier bubbles stop forming on the surface, it thickens, and coats the back of a spoon and the temperature is about 165°F (74°C).
- Remove from the heat and add the almond milk, mostly just to cool it down. Whisk in the vegetable glycerin.
- Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine and get it whirring along!
- If you haven’t toasted your walnuts, please do (roast in a 350°F (177°C) oven for about 7 to 9 minutes, or aromatic).
- Chop the walnuts. I like a mixture of half chopped and half powdered walnuts. It helps form a nicer streusel. I place half of the walnuts in a spice/coffee grinder or food processor and quickly pulse it (turn on and off, in quick little bursts). This will form a rustic little powder. Don’t actually puree them, as it’ll turn into a nut butter.
- Place your chopped and pulverized walnuts into a small mixing bowl. Add the 2 Tbsp of spiced sweetener, melted butter, yacón or molasses, and a dash of salt. Mix the ingredients together. Set this mixture in the refrigerator, to cool.
- When the ice cream is ready, add the chilled caramelized apples just before removing the mixture from the machine. I tend to like adding my “goodies” towards the end, as the churning process can break them up. I like the nice, periodic burst of apple flavor and prefer larger, whole chunks.
- I personally use this mixture and divide between 8 or 9 small deli cups. However, you can load this all into one large freezer proof container, if you’d like. I just find individual portions is more flexible and keeps me a bit more honest. I’ll just eat one cup, rather than grabbing a shovel and sitting with the whole container.
- Set the deli cups on the counter, then divide the apple ice cream between the cups.
- Take the streusel from the refrigerator and evenly sprinkle the mixture over the top of each ice cream mound.
- Place the lids on the cups, then slide them into the freezer. Oh, happy day!
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