Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spiced Maple Almond Ice Cream with Orange Cranberry Swirl

On Saturday afternoon, I was staring out the window at the falling snow enjoying a cocktail in my pj pants and sweatshirt.  A relaxing way to spend it, and you would think I would have had something hot cooking on the stove for dinner, but instead I was churning ice cream.  A true Minnesota girl, I will eat ice cream year round, and winter doesn't stop me from enjoying it.  Besides I cannot have a piece of warm apple pie or a pear crisp if not accompanied by the cold sweet ice cream.  Hence the ice cream making Saturday, which was because I was going to be making an apple crisp soon and had to have it!  I don't buy ice cream at the store anymore, because half the fun of ice cream at my house is coming up with new and interesting flavors!  I decided that I wanted to make something with a cranberry swirl this weekend because it seemed festive and I love the beautiful ruby red color of cranberries.  I combined cranberries and a bit of orange and cooked them until jammy along the maple syrup, then added some vanilla for a sweet note.  All of this before I even decided on the ice cream base, which may seem silly but the cranberries were the real star here. 

Now, I suppose a simple vanilla ice cream base would have been good, but red and white seemed more Christmasy than fallish and I was thinking a nutty flavored base would be good.  So I went with maple almond spice.  Rather than blending up whole toasted almonds, I added almond butter because I have fallen in love with using it in ice cream lately.  It makes it wonderfully silky even more so than a plain coconut milk base.  I spiced it up with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, and laced it with maple syrup.  Upon tasting it before churning it was even delicious!  It was like a super rich smoothie, but I knew it would be fabulous once it was actually scoopable. 

It was hard to wait until it was done, but it was so worth it!  The cranberry swirl was beautiful and ruby red, sweet and tart, citrusy and jammy.  It was wonderful with the silky lightly spiced almond ice cream.  I will admit I ate a large bowl if it before I even made the apple crisp...because it is never too cold for ice cream.  Not for this girl.  Here is the recipe if you would like to enjoy some.

Spiced Maple Almond Ice Cream with Orange Cranberry Swirl
Makes 6 cups

Cranberry Swirl:
16 oz Cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
juice and zest of one orange
a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
To make swirl, combine all ingredients (except vanilla) in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.   Cook until cranberries have burst, are jammy and have fallen apart, and juices have reduced about 45 minutes .  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and puree with an immersion blender.  Strain through a fine meshed strainer and let cool.  
Ice Cream:
3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup organic roasted almond butter (no sugar added)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until well blended.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Once processed, pour 1/3 into a freezable container with a lid, then drop a few large Tbsp cranberries.  Pour half remaining ice cream over, then more berries, then the remaining ice cream and more berries.  Swirl with a knife to distribute berries throughout and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results.


  1. Oh, my gosh...you never cease to amaze me with your incredible ice cream flavors. This one is perfectly autumnal...but I'd eat it all year round. Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving, Amy!!!

  2. Nope, never too cold for ice cream. I used to love eating ice cream in winter and freeze my lips off! (Luckily not literally). This has really some fantastic flavors in there. Looks great too!

  3. Oh wow, you may juts have created the perfect=for-me ice cream flavor! :) That sounds amazing!!

  4. Gorgeous! It sound like a healthy ice cream too! I'll have to try your recipe, thank you for sharing! :)
    Happy Holidays!

  5. The first thing I do when I get my new ice cream maker is come to your site! You have the BEST flavor combos!!! Happy Thanksgiving! :D

  6. Love the use of almond butter and the spices. Happy Thanksgiving, Amy.

  7. Hi Amy! I am the Producer & Brand Manager for An Organic Conversation and would love to connect with you about the photos on this blog. Could you please e-mail me at kponger@organicmedianetwork.com

    Thank you and beautiful work!