Remember that ice-cream making attachment that I bought for my KitchenAid mixer a few months ago? I first talked about it in June, when I made mango ice cream--does that ring a bell? Well, anyway, since I got it I've tried about five ice cream recipes, only two of which were really very good. One of the good ones was produced this week--that would be pumpkin ice cream.
Now, before this morning, I can assure you I'd never tasted pumpkin flavored ice cream before in my life, nor ever craved it. I know I've never considered ordering anything like it in an ice cream shop, when faced with 31 or more predictable flavors (doubtless I'd pick something chocolatey and very chunky; that seems to be my ice-cream shop M.O.). But, I must say I'm pleased with the way this recipe turned out. It's truly interesting, and seems to have layers of flavor. There's a little grated orange zest in it, and that brightens the taste in a subtle way. It's not like pumpkin pie filling frozen on a stick, in case you were wondering. (Were you wondering?)
There seem to be quite a few variables that affect the success of homemade ice cream, most of which I simply haven't figured out yet. Some recipes contain a cooked custard mixture, others might contain a bit of corn starch, some contain boatloads of heavy cream, while others . . . well, you get the drift. What determines what will help to thicken some ice creams beautifully but not others? Je ne sais pas. (Beats me.) No, I haven't cracked the code yet as to why some recipes work well and others leave much to be desired, but I'm workin' on it. (I think I'd better put David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop on my Christmas list--based on reader reviews, that seems to be the last word lately on great homemade I.C.!)
In keeping with the ubiquitous autumnal theme (there is an autumnal theme that's just raging in food/baking blogs lately . . . raging, I tell you) I figured ginger cookies would complement the pumpkin nicely, so I made a few this morning and they do indeed mesh well. The cookie recipe is one that I adapted from Gourmet magazine, in the December 1998 issue, for "Swedish Ginger Thins." (Poor Gourmet . . . you've probably already heard over and over that the magazine's just closed up shop. What a pity and a shame.) They're really very much like ginger snaps, except not rock hard and super crunchy. In fact, these are nicely crispy on the outside, in a tender sort of way, and a little bit soft and chewy on the inside. They're so thin, I'm not quite sure how they accomplish that feat, but they do.
These are cookies that are designed to be rolled out and cut with a cutter, but that can be a hassle with this type of very sticky, soft dough (even when properly chilled, this type of dough gets soft again at the speed of sound). I made a few of them that way, but then decided to just scoop the rest and press them down with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, in the interest of time and sanity. Those would be the round ones you see in the photos.
I altered the recipe just a bit, by racheting up the ground ginger, racheting down the ground cloves, adding a smidgen of salt, and omitting the almonds entirely. I also revised the instructions slightly. They indicate, for eg., that you should use a rolling pin cover and a pastry cloth--I assume because of the stickiness of the dough. I don't know about you, but I don't routinely use those items, and though I own a rolling pin cover I don't even remember where it is!
The ice cream recipe came from the book Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt, by Gar and Mable Hoffman, and it couldn't possibly be simpler. The only thing I'd do differently, if I were to make this recipe again, would be to strain the liquid ice cream mixture before it goes into the fridge to chill.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
(For a printable version of this recipe, and the ginger cookie recipe below, click here!)
16 oz. of canned pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used light brown)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used fresh grated nutmeg)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup half & half
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
2 cups heavy cream
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill or freeze according to your specific ice cream maker's instructions. (For the KitchenAid attachment, I chilled the liquid for at least a full day in a glass bowl before churning it in the ice cream attachment; then I poured that into a glass container, covered it, and froze that for a full day before serving it. It gets very firm.)
Crispy Ginger Cookies
3 cups All Purpose flour
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
In a small/medium bowl with an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until it just forms firm peaks. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. On low speed, add in the corn syrup and the whipped cream, beating just until combined.
Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Form the dough into a disk, and chill it in the fridge overnight, or in the freezer for an hour or so. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the dough into quarters and work with one section at a time, keeping the others in the fridge while you work. If you want to use cookie cutters, roll out the dough to about 1/4" thickness, space the cookies at least 2" inches apart, and bake for about 7 minutes.
If you'd prefer not to use cutters, use a small scoop to portion your cookie dough. Dip the dampened bottom of a glass in sugar and press that into the top of the cookies to flatten them a bit. They'll spread out quite a bit on the pan. Bake them for about 7 minutes.
Let your cookies cool on the pan until they seem stiff enough to move to cooling racks.
Yummy with milk, or how about with pumpkin ice cream?
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