Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Freezing Time: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
456 Calories
36g Fat
31g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 456
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 80mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 28g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 250mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The walnuts do add a nice crunch and nuttiness to this recipe, but it is the pure maple syrup that is clearly the star of this creamy maple walnut ice cream. Along with the chopped walnuts, you can add maple flakes to the ice cream, giving it a bit of extra crunch and even more maple flavor. This is a fantastic ice cream to serve with an apple crisp, cobbler, or pie, or enjoy it with a drizzling of maple syrup. You can also use more maple flakes or walnuts as a topping as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cup light cream, or evaporated milk

  • 1 dash salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/3 cup maple flakes, optional

  • 1/4 cup maple flakes, or chopped walnuts, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Put the maple syrup in a heavy medium saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and continue boiling for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until it has reduced to approximately 3/4 cup.

    maple syrup in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Stir in the heavy cream and light cream along with a dash of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove it from the heat.

    maple syrup with cream in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. While whisking briskly, add about one-third to half of the hot milk and syrup mixture in a slow, steady stream. Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan mixture and whisk to blend.

    eggs added to the maple mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Place the saucepan over low heat and continue cooking, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is quite hot. Do not let the mixture boil. If you have an instant-read thermometer, look for a temperature of about 180 F. (The minimum safe temperature for egg dishes is 160 F.) The mixture will be slightly thickened and hot. 

    custard mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the bowl.

    Pour the mixture through the sieve into the bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 3 to 4 hours, or until it is thoroughly chilled.

    custard in a plastic wrap covered bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Freeze the custard in an ice cream machine (follow the manufacturer's directions for your specific brand) until frozen but still soft. With the motor running, add the chopped walnuts and maple flakes, if using. Continue churning until the ice cream is frozen.

    custard in an ice cream machine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Transfer the ice cream to a container. Cover the container tightly and freeze until solid.

    Transfer the ice cream to a container

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Serve topped with additional maple flakes and/or chopped walnuts.

    Best-Ever Maple Walnut Ice Cream

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • The maple syrup grading system is divided into four grades—Grade A Golden Color and Delicate Taste, Grade A Amber Color and Rich Taste, Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste, and Processing grade. The Grade A Dark Color and Robust Taste is equivalent to the grade formerly known as Grade B. This grade has a somewhat stronger flavor so it is preferred in this recipe. If you prefer subtle flavor, you can choose the Golden or Amber Color. 
  • For best results, use a sharp chef's knife to chop the walnuts. To produce added depth of flavor, toast the walnuts. To toast the chopped walnuts, spread them out in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring and turning constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic. Remove immediately to a plate to cool.

Recipe Variations

  • Turn this recipe into a maple pecan ice cream by swapping out the walnuts with chopped pecans.
  • Maple flakes are a specialty item, but you can find them at both Whole Foods and Amazon. Whole Foods sells small jars of maple flakes, and Amazon.com has organic maple flakes (which are much less expensive) in 1-pound bags. They're great on cereal, and can also be used in these maple shortbread cookies.