Brown Sugar & Toasted Almond Ice Cream

July/August 2010

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In a world of designer ice creams, sometimes the simplest can be the best. The full-bodied flavors of brown sugar combined with nutty toasted almonds are all it takes to give this easy-to-make frozen treat a sophisticated distinction. The alcohol in the base mixture acts like an “anti-freeze,” reducing the icy texture sometimes associated with lower-fat ice cream. For a little extra indulgence, try topping a scoop with some crumbled gingersnaps.

"I thought this ice cream's main flavor was more cinnamon than brown sugar. You don't need an ice cream freezer either. Put the chilled custard into a ziploc bag and put that bag into another ziploc bag of ice and salt. Wear oven mitts...
Brown Sugar & Toasted Almond Ice Cream

Makes: Makes 8 servings, 1/2 cup each (1 quart)

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or rum
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted (see Tip) and cooled


  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and evaporated milk in a medium bowl until combined. Whisking constantly, gradually add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.
  3. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl (preferably stainless-steel). Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk and vodka (or rum). Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add almonds. If desired, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3 up to 1 day ahead. After freezing, store ice cream in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For the best texture, let soften slightly before serving. | Equipment: Ice cream maker
  • Tip: To toast chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.


Per serving: 209 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 84 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrates; 20 g added sugars; 9 g protein; 1 g fiber; 92 mg sodium; 338 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (26% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1/2 fat-free milk, 1 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 fat

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