Maple Syrup Ice Cream With Candied Walnuts

I’m a nut for nuts. I’m so happy I’m not allergic to nuts. I think Mr.Peanut is hilarious, I can eat peanut butter with a spoon. And walnuts are the healthy brainfood nut. I also love maple syrup. I’ve always loved maple flavoured things. Pour it into the little squares of a crisp homemade waffle that’s covered in summer berries and plain Greek yogurt and I’m the happiest person on planet Earth.

Back to ice cream: I’ve decided to start a new project: Ice Cream Love. Makin’ my favourite peoples’ favourite ice cream flavours! I decided to start with my dear pal Amber, who is nuts for maple walnut ice cream. Whenever I meet someone I like, I can’t help but ask them what their favourite food is. I feel like it can help define my relationship to that person, or how well I know them. For instance, I know my husband’s favourite ice cream is mint chocolate chip, and he likes anything chocolate hazelnut, and he dislikes very much mushrooms, tomatoes and mustard (three things I love!). Amber’s favourite ice cream is maple walnut. My friend Toni loves the combination of chocolate orange just as much as my friend Heather despises it.

Me, I try to like or at least attempt to like all flavours, or, rather, understand why other people like them. I like most things actually. One flavour I think that is super grody to the max though is black licorice. Even so, I will still occasionally try it (the allure of the shiny black salted licorice studded with tiny candies) to make sure I still don’t like it. Who knows? Maybe my palette suddenly has changed and I’ve become a black licorice maniac!

My favourite flavours actually shift fairly often. I love lemon and citrus flavoured things, but I also love a beautiful piece of chocolate. I’ve always loved caramel in any way shape or form — poured as a thick sweet syrup on top of ice cream, or eaten in individually wrapped squares in between bites of a granny smith apple. Maple syrup of course, and green tea flavour too, both thumbs up in my book. All these flavours are pretty varying and no rhyme or reason! Such is the strangeness of humanity!

Okay. So onto the recipe. I figured those walnuts had to have something goin’ on besides just being thrown in all plainsies style. Pralined? Candied? Sugared? I flipped through The Perfect Scoop and saw a recipe for “Crouquant.” Essentially, nut brittle. So I decided to make that! (Only after I made the croquant did I look at a few recipes for maple walnut ice cream and it called for walnuts that had been bathed, per se, in maple syrup at a high temperature, which I will try next time.)

{Maple Syrup Ice Cream With Candied Walnuts}

You will need:

1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (10% milk fat)

3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspooon pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On baking sheet, lay a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle walnuts evenly. Toast walnuts in oven, 6-8 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn.
2. Remove walnuts, let cool.
3. Place 1 cup of sugar in a heavy bottomed pan. Heat on medium high until golden, beginning to bubble and liquefying. Stir gently to ensure all sugar melts and liquifies!
5. Once liquified, add in toasted walnuts into melted sugar and coat walnuts completely. Mix ‘er up. Pour mixture back onto same piece of parchment paper, spread out with spatula and let cool.
6. Once cool, place in food processor and pulse until pieces become smaller, or you can place brittle in a ziploc bag and beat it with a rolling pin…
7. In medium sized pot, heat 1 cup of heavy cream and maple syrup on low until combined. Add the rest of the heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
8. Cover and chill mixture, 1 hour in freezer or 3-4 hours in fridge.
9. Pour into ice cream maker and churn it up according to ice cream maker’s instructions. I churned it for 25 minutes. At the last minute, pour in candied walnut pieces and churn for 30 seconds or so until combined.
10. Scoop out and enjoy!

PS– there are no eggs in this recipe — but the sugar content from the maple syrup ensures a creamy dreamy delight! No jacket required! (er, no eggs required)…

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