gingerbread ice cream

Gingerbread Ice Cream

april 30, 2020

gingerbread ice cream

My sister and I were reminiscing about mom’s home baked treats. Gingerbread, with a light veneer of lemon glaze, was always a favorite and spoiled us for any other, homemade or purchased. We don’t think she even used a recipe but rather created by instinct. She had excellent instincts.

So many spice options exist for the flavor of gingerbread, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. My combination is usually ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Those aromas filling the kitchen transport me back to a simple time waiting for something good to come out of the oven.

closeup of gingerbread ice cream

Ground cinnamon and cloves have a more pronounced flavor profile for this ice cream, but only fresh ginger will do for that sparky bite. Grated ginger is steeped with the warmed sweetened milk and discarded (albeit to the compost pile; the grated bits can also be reused to flavor teas and coffees), leaving a gingery spicy hit that lasts well after the churning. Garnishing your serving with a coin of candied ginger will only seem like overkill for those who don’t flip for ginger’s wow factor.

candied and fresh ginger

The small amount of molasses lowers the freezing point and makes this more like a soft serve ice cream after freezing. Lower freezing point = less ice crystals and a softer dessert. No need to soften in the fridge or on the counter—just dig in. After the requisite churn time in the electric ice cream maker, this will seem like a milky disaster, but be patient and freeze at least overnight for the optimal texture.

scooping gingerbread ice cream

Molasses lowers the freezing point so this ice cream needs no softening – enjoy straight from the freezer.

Never be intimidated by homemade ice cream recipes. If you have an electric ice cream maker, there is no work except gathering the ingredients for the big chill before churning. Simple as can be.

Spending more time at home recently has me on a sweets kick. Hope you’re ready for something sweet, too.

Gingerbread Ice Cream

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes about one quart


1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup molasses
1 ½ cup whole milk
¼ cup lightly packed freshly grated peeled ginger
3 cups heavy cream
optional garnish: candied ginger slices


  1. In one quart heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar with dry spices, then add milk and molasses gradually, blending well.
  2. Add grated ginger and heat mixture over medium heat, stirring with spatula, just until all sugar melts.
  3. Cool mixture to room temperature and chill in metal or glass container overnight.
  4. Strain mixture (ginger bits can be reused to flavor teas or coffees or composted) into mixing bowl and gently whisk in heavy cream.
  5. Add mixture to electric ice cream maker with motor running and process for 20-25 minutes or until beginning to thicken; mixture will still be milky and not very thick because molasses lowers the freezing point, but overnight freezing will improve texture.
  6. Freeze ice cream overnight; ice cream does not need to be softened in fridge or on counter so it’s ready to serve straight from the freezer.
  7. Garnish servings if desired with slice of candied ginger.
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