Oatmeal-Raisin Ice Cream
Just because we’ve jumped the seasonal fence and have ended up on the other side of Labor Day where it’s taboo to wear white, it certainly doesn’t mean that we have to say no to ice cream as well. I can’t be stopped when it comes to ice cream consumption and my taste buds know no season. Whether it’s a blazing hot summer day or I’m bundled up under a blanket with a blizzard swirling outside, I’m just as likely to crave ice cream on either day. I definitely make more homemade ice cream during the summer, but I like to experiment with more fall-inspired flavors once the seasons start to turn. I kicked off the fall season with apple pie ice cream a couple of weeks ago and finally made room in my freezer for a flavor I’ve been pining over since I bought The Perfect Scoop years ago – Oatmeal Raisin! Oatmeal raisin cookies run a close second to chocolate chip cookies, which long ago stole my heart. This ice cream is a fabulous replication of the warm flavors and textures in an oatmeal raisin cookie and is a perfect flavor choice for the cozier days ahead.
The basic ice cream custard is given some sweet depth with the addition of brown sugar and then an additional hint of spice with cinnamon. Once the ice cream is finished churning, pralined oats and whiskey-soaked raisins are folded into the ice cream before being loaded into the freezer. The crunchy oatmeal praline softens up a bit once it has time to sit in the freezer with the ice cream. Between that, the plump raisins, and the brown sugar and cinnamon in the ice cream base, what you end up with is one, massive oatmeal raisin cookie a la mode. Grab a bowl, your favorite cone, or just a spoon. If you’re a warm-weather person, this ice cream is your silver lining to the days getting cooler and shorter. If you’re a fall person, celebrate the season you’ve been waiting months for with this ice cream!
Oatmeal-Raisin Ice Cream
For the Ice Cream:
1 cup whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Oatmeal Praline:
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup granulated sugar
Pinch coarse salt
For the Raisins:
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup raisins
2 teaspoons whiskey
1. To Make the Ice Cream: Warm the milk, granulated sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk together the cream, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (it should reach between 170 and 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath. Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
4. To Make the Oatmeal Praline: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil, spread the oats evenly on the sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until the oats are fragrant and nicely toasted. Remove from the oven.
5. Spread the sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet and cook over medium heat, watching it carefully. When it begins to liquefy and darken at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to stir it very gently, encouraging the heat of the liquefied sugar around the edges to moisten and melt the sugar crystals in the center.
6. Tilt the pan and stir gently until all the sugar is melted and the caramel begins to smoke. Once the mixture is deep golden, remove it from the heat and immediately add the oats to the skillet. Return the foil to the baking sheet.
7. Stir the oats gently but quickly, coating them with the caramel. Scrape the oats onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them as well as possible. Sprinkle with the salt and let cool completely. Once firm, break the pralined oats into small pieces (you can pulse in a food processor quickly, or put them in a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin).
8. Make the Raisins & Churn the Ice Cream: When you are ready to churn the ice cream, prepare the raisins. Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the raisins and cook, stirring frequently, until all but about 2 tablespoons of the syrup has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey (you can omit the whiskey if you don't consume alcohol). Let cool while you churn the ice cream.
9. Churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions, adding the praline pieces and raisins during the last few minutes of churning. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze.