For me, maple syrup evokes memories of family and friends with food. Whether topping the heaping stack of oatmeal pancakes my dad made me after I completed my first triathlon or enveloping a big browned Belgian waffle at the annual summer brunch I throw with close friends, maple syrup has a way of knitting together components on a plate as well as the people enjoying them. I have adapted Jeni's classic maple ice cream recipe by adding griddle-browned waffle bites and candied bacon bits in order to try to capture the flavors of a Sunday brunch in a frozen treat. Fried eggs and a big glass of OJ are optional! —Claire Rudolph
about 1 quart
fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups
light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups
Grade B or C pure maple syrup, preferably from a small batch producer
applewood smoked bacon
light brown sugar
frozen waffles (or homemade if you are so inclined!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a jelly roll pan or any similar pan with raised sides, place 1/2 pound of bacon (usually 8-9 strips) on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle generously with light brown sugar (about 1/4 cup or so). Bake for 20-30 minutes– check often, as everyone’s oven is different and some pieces finish before others. Be sure to flip bacon slices to check both sides for that delicious caramelization. After letting cool, slice bacon into very small pieces (about 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch). Feel free to pick out the most beautiful piece and save that for a mouth-watering garnish. Set aside.
Toast frozen waffles until deeply toasted (should be nice and brown). Watch them carefully and flip and rotate them as needed to attain an all-around golden brown with darker sections for extra flavor. Let them cool, then slice into small bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch).
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch (both the teaspoon and the tablespoon) in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling for 8 minutes, or until it has reduced by one-half and has begun to darken around the edges. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add the cream and corn syrup mixture, then add the remaining milk.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes (the mixture may appear curdled from the acidic maple, but it will come back together in the finished ice cream). Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry (Note: After sitting for a bit, this mixture often hardens, so make sure to give it a whisk before stirring it in to make sure the corn starch is evenly mixed throughout the milk).
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. Another option is to pour the ice cream mixture into a Ziploc freezer bag or plastic container and place that in the fridge overnight to ensure the mixture is nice and cold before freezing. Speaking of which...
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Add the candied bacon bits a small handful at a time (separating the bacon bits as much as possible in order to mix them throughout or, if you would prefer pockets of bacon, adding clumps at a time) once the ice cream is the consistency of melty soft serve.
Once the ice cream is done freezing, layer a generous amount of waffle bits at the bottom of your storage container and then alternate layers of ice cream and waffle bits as you go (leaving a small handful for the top layer!). Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Before serving, let the ice cream sit out for a few minutes so it’s got that nice American scoop shop feel of which Jeni is a fan! I'd like to thank Jeni for the base recipe and for her inspiration to me as a chef!