maple bacon bourbon ice cream

maple bacon bourbon ice cream

The weather in New York is starting to get humid and sticky which means that my favorite season is about to arrive. And I say “favorite” with as much sarcasm as a 12 year kid has with their parents. But do you know what the silver lining this year vs. the past couple of years is? Well, more like silver linings: I finally bought an air conditioner and my housemate purchased an ice cream maker and offered me unlimited access to it. Life is great, my wallet will not be so happy, but my lactose intolerant tummy sure will be.

I base this ice cream recipe on a donut that I would always eat in Portland when I was going to school in Oregon. The place is called voodoo donuts and they have crazy flavors like breakfast cereal, grape soda flavor, and an Arnold Palmer with lemon and ice tea powder. Yeah, It does sound, and is, interesting and decadent. Now, I’m not saying they where all perfect flavors, but every time I would make a visit to the store, I would always be sure to get the Bacon Maple Bar. I love the flavor combination of maple and bacon. I tried recreating these flavors in the ice cream but kicked it up to make it even more confusing for my tongue.

In order to give the ice cream some crazy layers of flavor, I made the base simple and created a standard maple custard base. It was the chunks/swirl/add-ins that I wanted to have most of the flavor. So, this dish is all about the bacon that goes into it. I candied some bacon with maple syrup, brown sugar, and cayenne to add spice. While I was churning the ice cream, my brother, the genius that he is, recommended a shot of bourbon to give it some added a hint of smoky vanilla. I only needed half the shot, so my brother gladly volunteered to drink the rest. No harm done. What you end up with is an ice cream that is spicy, crunchy, salty, sweet, creamy, and smoky. Amazing.

It's too good to not show in another angle.

Really important, make sure you put the base trough a sieve. Any lumps or grits in the custard will make your ice cream busted. I mean, who wants to eat a scrambled ice cream?


2½ cup heavy cream

1½ cup milk

3½ cups maple syrup

¼ cup sugar

9 egg yolk

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp bourbon (optional)

1 lb smoked bacon strips, uncooked

2 tsp cayenne pepper, ground

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup brown sugar


heat milk and cream in a heavy sauce pan on medium low heat until it is just about to come to a simmer

reduce heat to low

whisk 3 cups of the maple syrup, sugar, yolk, bourbon (if using) and salt and slowly add a ladle full of the cream mixture to the egg while continuously whisking the mixture

continue to ladle in the cream to the egg mixture until half of the cream is mixed with the egg to help heat the eggs up without cooking them

return the egg mixture to the cream mixture in the pot and heat on medium low until the mixture thickens (you want it to coat the back of a spoon)

remove from heat and refrigerate over night

preheat oven to 350°f

arrange bacon on a broiler rack brushed with vegetable oil over a foil lined broiler pan

mix the rest of the ingredients except for the bourbon in a small bowl until a paste similar to wet cement is made

layer the paste on top of the bacon and broil for 15 min or until the bacon is crisp and the topping begins to bubble

remove bacon and let cool on paper towels and cut into small pieces

churn ice cream based on manufacturers direction and when almost done, add in bacon pieces until fully incorporated

chill in freezer and enjoy!

~makes 1½ quarts ~


3 Responses to “maple bacon bourbon ice cream”

  1. 1 Helena
    June 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    THIS LOOKS AMAZING! What would be better is if I could taste it fresh from the chef and say how amazing it really is! 🙂

  2. 2 Lia
    July 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Scott, Steve and I made the ice cream and it was fantastic! It has a wonderful caramel flavor that you taste just before the maple flavor kicks in. Those two flavors in and of themselves are a great combo, and the sweetened bacon plus the cayenne just makes it better and better. The cayenne is an important detail methinks. The texture, as promised, is super creamy, albeit less firm than most premium ice creams, perhaps because of the high fat -to-water ratio. I’m a little embarrassed to show you our photos because they didn’t turn out as well as yours: it was a hot evening and even though we chilled the custard overnight and churned it in the ice cream freezer at noon the day of the dinner, thus leaving it in the freezer to harden for at least nine hours, it didn’t set up as firmly as it did by the next day, so the photos look melty. And even those next day pics aren’t as good as yours. There is a cute pic of Ao’s serving with a birthday candle in it, though. And I can still send photos, if you like. Some notes: I had a little trouble getting the bacon crisp and so left it in the oven a bit longer, say 5-10 min., while checking it frequently for fear of burned sugar. I put it on the middle rack, though; perhaps it should have been lower or higher in the oven? I did use the full pound (candied in two batches), which made the ice cream a tad chewy, so next time I might put in 2/3-3/4 of a pound of bacon. Or make sure that it’s even crispier. We put in 1-1/2 tsp (1/2 T) of bourbon (Makers Mark) before cooking the custard, tasted it the next morning after refrigerating it overnight, and decided to add another 1-1/2 tsp of bourbon (thus comprising the half shot alluded to in your headnote) just before churning. Our yield was between 1.5 and 2 quarts. As if the ice cream weren’t decadent enough, we served it over brownies made with Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe with the sugar reduced from 1 to 3/4 c for a slightly darker chocolate flavor. The ice cream melted nicely into the brownie, which added another level of complementary flavor. Thanks for a delicious recipe and a fun endeavor!

    • July 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

      Lia! That sounds amazing paired with the brownie. I’m glad you liked it. In terms of the bacon, I did put it on the bottom rack. I’ll be sure to edit that in the recipe. Thanks for the note and I would love to see the pictures.

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