Sunday, July 28, 2013

Grape Nut Ice Cream

If you’re from New England or Eastern Canada (or apparently Jamaica too) you know what I’m talking about and have likely had it.  If not, well then let me introduce you – Grape Nuts are not just for breakfast my friends. 

My dad’s family is from Massachusetts by way of Nova Scotia by way of Massachusetts and back to Nova Scotia….seriously, I just got a history lesson from him and there is so much overlap in these two places its confusing.  At any rate, he grew up eating this ice cream, both at home in MA and when he’d spend his summers in Canada.  As a result, I also grew up eating it when we traveled North for family visits.  Even if you aren’t a fan of the cereal as a cereal, you should give the ice cream version a try.  The base is a rich vanilla custard – easy, who doesn’t like that?  Then you add the Grape Nuts and as they churn together you end up with this malty, slightly nutty flavor.  The cereal gets a little soft in the cream, but towards the end of churning you add some more for crunch, and of course there is always the option of topping your bowl with even more.

I have to admit, I tried to go the healthy route and use way less cream than the recipe calls for, substituting with more milk – do not follow my lead – this turned out a little icey for my taste.  The flavor was spot on, but the texture left much to be desired.   I only used 1 cup of heavy cream and the rest skim milk, rather than whole – I always sub the milk with skim for ice cream and do not usually have an issue.  But I think this needs at least 1.5 cups of cream in order to maintain a good creamy consistency (if not the full 2 but it pains me to use that much fat!).  Make it according to the recipe or according to my alterations, but definitely make it.  My dad loved it and that should be proof enough that it’s good.

Recipe adapted from The Washington Post


6 egg yolks
⅔ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, warmed (microwave or stove-top; warm, not hot)
1 cup chilled whole milk
¼ tsp salt
1 cup Grape Nuts cereal, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract


In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined.  Slowly add the warmed cream, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Add the salt, vanilla and chilled milk and stir to combine. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but I strained the mixture at this point just in case there were any egg bits in it.  Do so into another medium bowl then cover with plastic so the plastic is resting directly on top of the liquid.  Refrigerate for at least a couple hours, until completely cool.

When cooled, remove from the fridge and add ¾ cup of cereal then pour into the frozen bowl of your ice cream machine.  Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions, but for about 20 minutes or so.  During the last couple minutes of churning, add the remaining ¼ cup of cereal.  Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until hardened.  Or, enjoy it soft-serve style right out of the ice cream maker.

**For those of you in DC, I have noticed that Trickling Springs Creamery is making Grape Nut Ice Cream these days – it can be found at their shop inside Union Market.  If you don’t feel like making your own, go try it!**