Dessert for Breakfast – Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream

Hello, hello! If you were on the east coast this weekend, then you enjoyed some incredibly gorgeous and mild weather. I was in Richmond celebrating some birthdays, and it was a little disconcerting to experience almost 80 degree weather in the same city that saw 11 inches of snow earlier in the week.

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream

In any event, the return of the sun made me crave a cool and creamy treat – nothing that a little dessert for breakfast couldn’t fix!

I absolutely love maple & brown sugar oatmeal, and I don’t think I’m alone. I remember in college when I was an RA I set up a snack station in the study lounge during exam week; the maple & brown sugar oatmeal all disappeared over night.

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream

So it occurred to me to try making Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream, inspired by my favorite ice cream recipe book, The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More by Bruce Weinstein. You will need an ice cream machine for this recipe. You can actually buy some fairly decent yet inexpensive ones these days; I own a Deni that is probably 6 or 7 years old at this point.

It does have a bit of a chewy consistency because of the oatmeal. If you’d like it to be less noticeable then you can use Quick Quaker Oats (not instant) instead of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats. To get that maple taste I used pure maple syrup, feel free to use your favorite brand. It’s just enough to add sweetness, without being overpowering.

Also, because I try to lighten the fat content of things wherever possible, I used light cream instead of heavy cream. Most great custard recipes call for heavy cream, and if you’re making this ice cream for guests or to impress then you’ll probably just want to use heavy cream as well. Every time I use light cream it just doesn’t freeze as well in the ice cream machine, and I wind up having to freeze it overnight in a separate container so that it’s not soupy. I don’t mind doing this but it can be a hassle, and of course it delays the immediate gratification of enjoying the ice cream right out of the machine.* Good luck!

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream

Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Ice Cream
inspired by Bruce Weinstein

3/4 cup brown sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups roll oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups light cream*
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a medium bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until thickened. Set aside.

Bring the milk to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Add oats, salt and cinnamon. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring continuously until the oatmeal is thick and creamy (if you taste it at this point you’ll think it’s too salty… but don’t worry, it all comes together). Slowly beat the hot oatmeal into the eggs and sugar (this will kill any harmful bacteria present in the eggs). All the mixture to cool slightly, then stir in the cream. Cover and chill or refrigerate overnight.

Once chilled, stir the mixture into your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the ice cream will still be very soft. Transfer to a freezer-safe container (I usually use corningware or a covered glass bowl) and freeze overnight. Before serving, let it sit out for three minutes so that it’s easier to spoon the ice cream into your favorite bowl.

*Update: Hello, everyone. I received a few questions about light cream versus heavy cream. As you might guess, heavy cream has a higher butterfat content than light cream. This higher fat content lends itself to thickening and increasing in volume. Heavy cream can also hold its form a little better for pastries or cheesecakes. Substituting light cream for heavy cream in something like cheesecake will probably not work out well. I noted above that substituting light cream for heavy, as I did in this recipe, really doesn’t work well in ice cream machines and so you need to do extra freezing to harden the ice cream. If you choose to use light cream, make sure you plan ahead to allow plenty of time for freezing.