This ice cream steals all the best flavors—molasses, ginger, punchy-warm spices—from holiday cakes and cookies. And the method, from Sicily: Essentially, you thicken the ice cream base with cornstarch, which creates an extra silky texture, no eggs needed. Serve with chopped, candied or crystallized ginger, or whipped cream, or even "real" gingerbread. —Emma Laperruque
Combine the cream, milk, and molasses in a pot. Set over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine the sugars, cornstarch, ginger, cocoa, pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir with a fork to get rid of any lumps. When the cream mixture is very hot, add a splash to the sugar mixture. Stir with a fork until smooth. Add another splash. Stir. Add another splash. Stir. When you’ve added about half the liquid, pour all that back into the pot. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens, like a thin pudding—the whisk will leave a trail—about 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and press a piece of plastic on top to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge until very cold or up to 2 days.
Churn for about 25 minutes. Transfer to a container and freeze. Serve with candied ginger sprinkled on top.
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.