Gingerbread Cookie Ice Cream (Beta version)

partially based on Alton Brown’s Serious Vanilla Ice Cream recipe

gingerbread-ice-creamPrep Time: A minimum of 11 hours
Cooking Time: Around half an hour

The genesis of this recipe is my love of gingerbread in all forms – I’ve been perfecting my cookie recipe for decades and as with my Chocolate Chunk Cookie Ice Cream recipe, I wanted to see if I could realize that same flavor profile in an ice cream – and voilà, here we are! The butter, once browned and included in the ice cream base, really gives the ice cream that “cookie” flavor and the spice mixture is essentially a scaled down version of the spices I use in my gingerbread cookie recipe. The resulting ice cream is intensely spicy with a dark kick of molasses and brown sugar, while at the same time being rich and creamy.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼  cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground anise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat butter on low to medium heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan until lightly browned. Add molasses, spices, and salt and stir for 2 minutes. As soon as all of the spices have permeated the molasses and butter, turn heat to low and while keeping it all in motion, add the dark brown sugar and vanilla extract, stirring until well combined. Finally, add the milk and cream – slowly and while stirring. Make sure any lumps in the brown sugar have completely dissolved.

Adjust heat to medium. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan, or spot check with an instant read thermometer. (If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly – if you’re in a rush to cool it down, have a large stainless steel mixing bowl with ice and water handy and partially submerge the saucepan into the ice bath and gently stir ice cream base until cool enough to store). Pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight or at least 8 hours to mellow flavors and texture.

When ready, process mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container. (I’ve found that covering the top with plastic wrap helps to discourage ice crystallization – just peel back to dish out and then recover when done). Seal the container and harden in the freezer at least 2 hours before serving.