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Hazelnut Cookie Sherry Vinegar Swirl Ice Cream

This is my new favorite ice cream. I mean that. It is absolutely bursting with flavor, rich nuttiness, cookie crunchiness, and surprising sweet sharpness from the sherry vinegar swirl. God, this is good.

Dave pointed out that when we brainstorm recipes together they always turn out better than the recipes we create separately on our own, and he’s right.

It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Almond Cookie Ice Cream you can get at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, which tastes a bit like cold, creamy marzipan. Our Hazelnut Cookie Sherry Vinegar Swirl Ice Cream is better, though, with the crunch and the sharpness added in. I’m just really pleased with myself today, as you can tell. Ice cream success will do that to a person.

A few paragraphs down in this post you will find not only an ice cream recipe, but also a recipe for the hazelnut amaretti that provide the crunch in this ice cream. They’re quite good on their own as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This all started with a kitchen full of excess hazelnuts, fresh plums, and fresh sage. What happened to the sage and the plums, you may well ask. Dave vetoed Hazelnut Sage Ice Cream (I can’t imagine why), and after one taste of this splendid ice cream, we completely forgot about the plums.

Dave recommends that you contemplate sage and plums while eating this ice cream, as it may bring you closer to sweet, sweet enlightenment.

Hazelnut Cookie Sherry Vinegar Swirl Ice Cream
(adapted from Emeril’s hazelnut ice cream recipe)
1 C hazelnuts
1/2 C heavy cream
1 C milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/8 C frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
8 hazelnut cookies, coarsely chopped (recipe below)
Sherry vinegar syrup to taste, about 1/8-1/4 C (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the skins are cracked and the nuts are lightly golden (check under the skins for color). Rub the skins off as best you can. Cool to room temperature.

Blend the hazelnuts coarsely with the cream and 1/2 C of the milk. Pour the chunky froth you’ve created into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slit the vanilla bean in half the long way and scrape the seeds into the cream, then throw the bean in after them. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then turn off the heat and let it infuse, covered, for about 20 minutes or so.

Bring the cream back up to a simmer.

Whisk the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. In a slow, steady stream, whisk 1 C of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. This tempers the eggs so that they are less likely to curdle. Gradually whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches 170°F on a candy thermometer. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Stir in the other 1/2 C milk and the frangelico. Cover such that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream (this prevents a skin from forming) and stick it in the fridge to cool.

Once it is cold, follow your ice cream machine’s instructions to finish the process. Add the chopped cookies in just before taking the ice cream out of the machine, and gently stir in the sherry vinegar syrup once the ice cream is already out of the machine and in whatever container you plan to freeze it in.

Leave the ice cream in the freezer for a bit to harden further before serving.
Hazelnut Amaretti
4 oz hazelnuts
4 oz confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp powdered egg white
2 tbsp frangelico
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 tsp powdered egg white
2 tbsp frangelico

Preheat your oven to 375°.

Grind the hazelnuts (skin and all) in a big tough food processor as best you can. Add the confectioner’s sugar and process again, as best you can. Add the granulated sugar, process briefly again. Add one powdered egg white and 2 tbsp frangelico and process further, until it turns into a paste/dough. Add the remaning egg white and frangelico and process briefly. (We use powdered egg whites instead of fresh egg whites so that we can make up the liquid with frangelico instead, thereby seriously boosting the flavor.)

Pipe the dough in 1/2 tbsp blobs about 1″ apart onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet.

Bake until just starting to color (about 15-20 minutes), rotating from top to bottom and from front to back after 8 minutes. Then turn off the oven, open the oven door to let out a bit of the hot air, close the door again, and leave the cookies alone for 5 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack to room temperature.

This recipe makes about 30 cookies. You’ll only need 8 for the ice cream, so that means plenty of cookies to just nosh on by themselves.
Sherry Vinegar Syrup
(adapted from Cloudberry Quark’s balsamic syrup recipe)
2 tbsp butter
3/8 C dark brown sugar
3/8 C sherry vinegar

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together. Stir in the vinegar. Simmer, stirring, until it thickens. You can test the thickness by drizzling a bit on a cold spoon.

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15 Responses to “Hazelnut Cookie Sherry Vinegar Swirl Ice Cream”

  1. novalis says:

    Danielle was skeptical of the powdered egg whites, but they’ve proven themselves many times over.

  2. linda says:

    Wow! Can’t really imagine how it tastes, mainly because of the sherry vinegar syrup. Guess I should make it ;) Looks great too!

  3. That looks freaking outrageous. I bet it would be good topped with bruleed figs.

  4. Hey Danielle, am in London now and the only thing I bought (other than non-stop eating) is this little plate (something that can’t be found in Irvine, CA!)…I am so

    Sherry vinegar in ice-cream…hmm, interesting..can’t imagine how it tastes. :)

  5. novalis says:

    Peeling the hazelnuts is key, because I just tried it without and they clogged up the strainer. Oops.

  6. Trust me…if I’m eating this ice cream, there will be no comtemplating…..JUST PIGGING OUT!

  7. brilynn says:

    I can only assume that if Dave, you and I put all of our brain power together, the ice cream that we would come up with would not be able to be described in words. One day…

  8. Danielle says:

    linda – Yes, you should make it!

    RM – I know you’re always saying you need more dishes, so I can’t wait to see photos of the little plate you bought. (Y’know, one of these days I’m going to get you over here and take you plate-shopping.)

    SK – Ha, that’s fair.

    brilynn – Oh yes, that day will come. I am looking forward to it!

  9. Hehe, I would love to to plate-shopping with you, you seem to have all the gems!

  10. mary says:

    This sounds mouth-wateringly good. My sister makes a hazelnut cheesecake that, delicious as it is already, might benefit from a drizzle of sherry vinegar syrup…

  11. Kristen says:

    I bet this is the most delicious ice cream ever. What a combo of flavors!
    Lovely photos.

  12. Kate says:

    woa … that looks like a lot of hard work for an ice cream, but its one hellva scoop let me tell u that ! truly amazing flavours.Thats one thing my hubby n me have in common too.we always bring out the best in each other.

  13. Lisa says:

    I never thought I’d hear myself say that I would so be up to trying vinegar in icecream. You are one of the very few that can make me crave flavors I’d never craved before.

    And this is why I heart you, Dave and your blog so much. =)


  14. Danielle says:

    RM – Maybe I should take you into the glassblowing studio, too.

    mary – What a great idea! Mind sharing that cheesecake recipe?

    Kristen – Thank you!

    Kate – You’re right, it’s a bit labor intensive. But man oh man is it worth it.

    Lisa – I positively blushed upon reading this comment. The adoration is very, very mutual.

  15. This looks delicious. I love hazelnut and vanilla bean so I will be definately trying out this recipe!! Thanks!

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