Winter Ice Cream with Maple, Cinnamon and Cranberries

Winter Ice Cream with Maple and Cinnamon

Would you think I was crazy if I suggested we all make winter ice cream? Would you throw down your snow shovel in a slippery act of defiance? Would you shoot me a cool glance of certainty and pronounce that ice cream is a sweet treat reserved for the long, hot days of summer?

Would it help you to know that I live in Southern California where it’s not exactly “wintery” right now? Still, I try to adhere to the seasons in chronological order. How else will I ever get to wear cashmere? I’m not the only one. Mufflers and knee high boots are everywhere you look these days on Hollywood Blvd.

Paying attention to the calender includes seasonal eating as well. Because the whole truth is– we have seasons here just the same as any other part of the country. Well, not exactly the same. But if you put me in a time machine and didn’t tell me what month you were sending me off to, I could pretty much guess what season it was as I sniffed around Los Angeles. Seventy-six and sunny with that certain quality of light, tells me unmistakably that it’s January. Time for ice cream, right?

Winter Ice Cream

Just what is winter ice cream? When I lived in Michigan, winter ice cream was snow, flavored with concentrated Kool-Aid. Lemon was never a popular choice (if you know what I mean). But now that I live in Southern California, I define winter ice cream as an extra-rich scoop, chock full of the flavors we typically associate with the short, dark days of winter.

So that’s where I started. Sugar and spice make winter nice. Maple syrup too. We all associate cranberries with holiday meals. All you have to do you add a big dollop of mascarpone to make it extra-rich, while I go get my muffler and knee high boots. Baby it’s cold outside (somewhere).  GREG

Winter Ice Cream with Maple and Cinnamon

Maple Ice Cream with Cinnamon Pecan Pralines and Cranberries 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 quartSource Technique adapted from Jeni Britton BaurPublished
Maple Ice Cream with Cinnamon


  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice
  • 2 ounce pecan halves (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
  • water and ice (as needed)
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
  • 1¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ cup pure maple syrup


Prepare the cranberries: Place the cranberries in a small bowl. Heat the cranberry juice in a small sauce pan just until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Pour the warm juice over the cranberries; set aside about 1 hour. Once plumped drain the berries.

Make the pralines: Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Combine pecans, brown sugar, honey, butter, cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

Spread the nuts in a single layer onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Move the nuts around with a fork to keep them from clumping. Bake 2 more minutes, move the nuts around again, then cook 2 or 3 more minutes. The nuts will look bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Move them around several times during the cooling process to keep them from sticking to each other as much as possible. Once cooked break any large clumps up with your fingers. Set aside with as few of the nuts touching as possible.

Make the ice cream: Half fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.

Mix 2 ounces milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir until completely and smoothly incorporated; set aside.

In a separate medium bowl whisk the mascarpone and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt together until well incorporated; set aside.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup into a pourable measuring cup; set aside.

Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil lower the heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes. It will have reduced by about one-half. Remove from heat and, stirring constantly, slowly pour in the cream and corn syrup mixture, then add the remaining milk.

Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat and gradually mix in the cornstarch mixture. Return to the heat and allow it to come back to a boil, whisking the entire time. Remove from heat and let cool about 2 minutes then gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the medium bowl with the mascarpone cheese mixture. Keep whisking until it’s very smooth. Allow it to cool about 5 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a 1‑gallon Ziplock freezer bag. Seal the bag and submerge it in the bowl of ice water. Let the bag become well chilled, about ½ hour. Replace the ice cubes as needed to keep the water very, very cold.

Freeze the ice cream: Pour the chilled mixture through a fine mesh sieve directly into the bowl of the ice cream maker. This improves the texture of the ice cream. Follow the manufactures direction on the machine until the ice cream is smooth, thick and creamy. It should be pulling from the sides just a bit as it churns.

Pack the ice cream into a 1‑quart storage container, folding the pecan pralines and cranberries in intermittently as you go. Seal with an airtight lid. Freeze the ice cream until very firm, at least 4 hours.