Candied Bacon Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Just because the weather has turned cooler outside doesn’t mean my cravings for ice cream have gone away. That’s why I always have my KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment on standby in the freezer for when a hankering hits. And oftentimes, especially in the fall, that hankering is for this autumn flavour-inspired candied bacon maple walnut ice cream.

If you haven’t made your own ice cream yet, this recipe alone is worthy of you giving it a try. To me, there is nothing creamier or more flavourful than homemade ice cream. And this version, with its sweet and salty notes thanks to the pure maple syrup, candied bacon and toasted walnuts, is sure to be a new favourite for the entire family. You can play around with the flavours, too, by omitting the walnuts and adding chocolate chips, for example. Get creative!

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To start, measure out your ingredients for the ice cream base. The combination of egg yolks, half and half and heavy cream make the ice cream creamy and decadent, and the maple syrup gives it sweetness. I love using Grade B maple syrup because of its depth of flavour, but Grade A works just as well.

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Combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a smooth custard forms. You’ll know it’s done when it coats the back of a spoon and a finger swiped along the back of the spoon leaves a clean line. Stir in some sea salt, then strain the custard into a bowl. Cover and chill the custard in the refrigerator overnight.

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Meanwhile, make the candied bacon. Cook a few thick-cut strips in the oven until they’re nearly done, then drain the fat. Coat the bacon in some maple syrup and return it to the oven to finish cooking and caramelizing. Transfer the candied bacon to a parchment paper-lined plate to cool completely. If you haven’t toasted the walnuts yet, now’s the time to do so – I just toast mine in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

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When the custard is fully chilled, pour it into your KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment and churn until a soft serve forms (about 15 minutes).

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Stir in the chopped candied bacon and toasted walnuts, then transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe storage container. Freeze the ice cream at least 4 hours to harden.

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It’s finally time to serve the ice cream. Enjoy it plain or topped with more chopped bacon or walnuts, whipped cream or a drizzle of maple syrup (or all three!). And since it is fall, it also tastes great with a slice of warm apple pie on the side.

Don’t let the season stop you from having your ice cream and eating it, too!

Candied Bacon Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Makes 6-8 servings
INGREDIENTS:

6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups maple syrup (preferably Grade B), divided
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 strips thick-cut bacon
1/2 cup fine-chopped toasted walnuts
DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the maple syrup until combined. Place over medium heat on the stove; stir in the half and half and heavy cream. Continue whisking 10 to 15 minutes until a smooth custard forms that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat; stir in the salt, then strain the custard into a bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, make the candied bacon: Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place the bacon in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until nearly done and crispy. Drain the fat, then pour the remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup over the bacon; flip over the bacon to coat in the syrup. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake the bacon another 20 minutes until cooked through and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a parchment paper-lined plate to cool completely. Once fully cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces.

When the custard is fully chilled, pour it into your KitchenAid® Ice Cream Maker Attachment and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the bacon pieces and toasted walnuts, then transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover tightly and freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

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