Homemade Maple-Bacon Crunch Ice Cream

July may be National Ice Cream Month, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best time to indulge yourself in one of America’s favorite pastimes. And that is especially true if it is August, the temperature is pushing 100 degrees and you’ve been standing outside watching youth baseball.

Without getting into too many specifics, I found myself slurping an ice cream cone today after watching my grandson’s team win its opening game in the Midwest Plains Regional Baseball Tournament for 13-year-olds. And as far as I’m concerned, anytime is a good time to eat an ice cream cone.

If you are like me, just about any kind of ice cream will do when it’s hot. But when you get right down to it, the best ice cream is homemade.

Here’s a recipe for some homemade ice cream that looks especially intriguing since it contains bacon brittle. (Who can resist bacon?) The recipe is adapted from one in Food Network magazine’s July/August 2012 issue.

Maple-Bacon Crunch Ice Cream
FOR ICE CREAM:
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup 2 percent or whole milk
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups heavy whipping cream
FOR BACON BRITTLE:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking sheet
3 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper
To make the ice cream: In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan and whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until almost simmering (the mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon), about 5 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until very cold, about 30 to 45 minutes.
To make the bacon brittle: Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to paper towels to drain. Let the bacon cool, then finely chop.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it melts and turns golden, about 4 minutes. (If lumps form, remove from the heat and continue stirring until melted.) Continue to cook, stirring, until light amber, about 2 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter. Carefully stir in the baking soda, then stir in the bacon and chile powder. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and let cool until set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces, then smash about one-third of the brittle into shards with a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Reserve the remaining brittle in a container for up to 3 days.
Stir the cream into the chilled custard. Churn in an ice cream maker. Stir in the bacon brittle shards. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Serve sprinkled with some of the remaining bacon brittle, if desired.
Yield: About 1 quart.
Approximate nutritional analysis per ½ cup serving: 395 calories, 36 percent of calories from fat, 16 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 61 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 179 milligrams sodium, 127 milligrams cholesterol, no fiber.

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