Maple Ice Cream With Salty, Buttered Pecans

Maple Ice Cream With Salty, Buttered Pecans.

Winter is closing in (as much as it can in California), but we still like our ice cream. We never seem to tire of ice cream, regardless of time or place. We’ve read that the two foods that break the most diets are ice cream and bacon. And we are proud to produce both, in large quantities, here at the farm. And while we try to moderate our intake, we often find the best way to overcome temptation is to simply give some of our creations away (“free bacon and ice cream for all!”). But not this ice cream, we are keeping ate all of this one.

And that wasn’t really a surprise, as this ice cream comes from Jeni Britton Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus Ohio. Jeni’s ice cream is some of the richest, creamiest and most flavorful we’ve tried anywhere. And you can sometimes find her ice cream at specialty stores across the country, it’s amazing, but ridiculously expensive. And since Jeni published “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home“, the best option is to make it yourself. And once you understand Jeni’s methods, you are on your way to ice cream nirvana.

The key to Jeni’s method is to minimize the formation of ice crystals (ice crystals make ice cream gritty) and maximize butterfat and flavor. But instead of using traditional ingredients like granulated sugar or egg yolks, she uses corn syrup to sweeten, a cream cheese base for fat and thickens the milk and cream with corn starch. This may seem odd, but the science (and texture and flavor) are on Jeni’s side. Corn syrup is glucose, rather than sucrose, and resists crystallization. Corn starch bonds with the milk and cream to further reduce crystal formation. Cream cheese (it doesn’t impact flavor) mixed with a milk and cream mixture provides fat without extra water. Along with a rapid chill of the ice cream base, this method gives you creamy, silky ice cream that beats almost anything you can buy.

Jeni’s cookbook has recipes for all sorts of exotic ice cream flavors like Queen City Cayenne, Blackstrap Praline, Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries and Chamomile Chardonnay. But she also has new riffs on classics like dark chocolate, vanilla, mint, salted caramel and this maple ice cream. We simply love rich, sweet maple syrup and maple sugar candy is one of our favorite holiday treats. This ice cream tastes like creamy maple sugar candy, and combined with the buttery salted pecans, it’s heavenly. Like we said, we aren’t sharing this one. Go make some of your own… 😉

Maple Ice Cream with Salty, Buttered Pecans:

(Adapted from Jeni Britton Bauer)

Notes Before You Start:

  • This recipe is exacting and requires a lot of attention to detail, but it’s worth it.
  • The recipe suggests you pour the ice cream base into a ziplock bag and then chill the base in an ice bag. We also use a bowl for this step. Both methods work, but the ziplock bag method will chill slightly faster.
  • We prefer to add the salted pecans to the top of the ice cream at service, but you can also fold the nuts into the ice cream after you churn, if you like.

What You Get: Incredibly smooth, silky ice cream with deep maple flavor.

What You Need: An ice cream maker / canister. No other special equipment required.

How Long? At least 6 hours but only 30 – 40 minutes of active time. Most of the time is spent chilling the base and hardening the final ice cream. A fun weekend project, or make it in the evening and have ice cream for breakfast.


(Makes about 1 quart)

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 and 1/2 oz. (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pure maple syrup, grade B or C preferred

Salty Buttered Pecans:

(Makes 3/4 cup)

  • 3/4 cup shelled pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt


Ice Cream:

  1. In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.
  3. In a large measuring cup with a spout, mix the heavy cream and corn syrup.
  4. Fill a very large bowl with ice and water.
  5. Place a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the maple syrup and boil until it reduces by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add the cream and corn syrup mixture, then add the remaining milk.
  6. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes (the mixture may look curdled, but it will come back together later). Remove from the heat and slowly add the cornstarch slurry.
  7. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  8. Gradually whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Then pour the mixture into a medium bowl or ziplock plastic bag and place the mixture in the ice bath. Chill the mixture, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  9. Pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker’s canister and spin until thick and creamy (follow your ice cream maker’s instructions). Fold the nuts into the ice cream, if you like. Pack the ice cream into an airtight container and press a sheet of parchment on top of the ice cream and then seal the container. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Serve.

Salty, Buttered Pecans:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the pecans, melted butter and salt. Mix until the pecans are well-coated. Place the pecans on a baking sheet.
  3. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until crisp. Let cool completely. Eat or serve with maple ice cream.

35 thoughts on “Maple Ice Cream With Salty, Buttered Pecans

  1. This looks wonderful!! An ice cream maker is on our list of kitchen equipment! On a side note, very dear friends of mine (who live in Columbus, OH) did a few of their wedding photos at Jeni’s as it was where they had their first date! 🙂

  2. Ice cream rocks! I have Jeni’s book, too, and have also posted about it. And you know you can put bacon in your ice cream, yes?;-) Another great ice-cream ingredient: bourbon. The temps are low ’20s in Minnesota today and I had a few scoops of Ben&Jerry’s for dessert. Never too cold for ice cream.

  3. This is a winner for me .. and my little ice cream maker – and I really like the use of cream cheese … corn syrup I will not be able to get, but I should be able to us normal syrup instead. Will do this for the weekend – addicted to ice cream. Will come back with verdict.

  4. This sounds like the most decadently delicious ice cream, what a treat. You know, we have a wonderful ice cream maker in our part of the world who mixes bacon into her ice cream with great results – just a thought, given what you have to work with!

  5. Whoa, this looks amazing. And oddly enough, it just caused me to have a weird flashback to when I was a child since that’s probably the last time I had (or thought about!) butter pecan ice cream. I seem to remember not liking it, but now that I think about it, that can’t be right… Maybe I just overdosed on some at one point!? That sounds more plausible…

    • This one is worth a try, a few new steps but a clear upgrade in texture…

      Making ice cream is always an excuse for a dinner party. Serve it to your guests to use up the ice cream!

  6. Hi, I made this as written, but added 5 slices of crumbled bacon and half a cup of Skor pieces. It was awesome, the texture was very very smooth, it was my first time trying the “Jeni” method…so much better than all the other recipes I’ve tried. The only issue I had was that I had grade A maple syrup on hand, it was not robust enough for this recipe. Good call on suggesting Grade B or C, on my shopping list for next time!

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