I’ve been wanting to make some GAPS-friendly, chocolate-free (since I’m still limiting chocolate severely — who am I kidding — I haven’t had any for months…) ice cream for a while now, so I was perusing the Ben & Jerry’s website for some inspiration, and came across their Cinnamon Buns flavor … hmm… minus the whole “buns” thing, this could definitely work.

However, it took several tries, and I’m still not completely satisfied with the recipe, but I decided to post what I’ve got — and if you’ve got improvements, please leave comments!

My first try was ok, but the vanilla custard base that I made just didn’t pan out.  However, I got an epiphany — ice cream is typically made with cream — so why couldn’t I substitute sour cream for a GAPS-friendly version?

I found a recipe, and tweaked it to make it fully GAPS-friendly — and it is literally THE BEST ICE CREAM I HAVE EVER MADE.  (My apologies for the shouting.  It is seriously that good.)  I’ve always had issues with homemade ice cream, because it usually never turns out to be the right texture — too soft-servy when it comes out of the maker, but too much like a brick of ice after it freezes, and never thawing to that exactly right consistency of meltiness and smoothness and, well, for lack of a better term, squeeziness — ice cream should easily be able to be squeeze between the mouth and tongue when eating it, you shouldn’t have to suck on it to let it melt because it’s so friggin hard!  But this recipe turned out perfectly melty and smooth and squeezy!!  You can dig into it with a spoon straight out of the freezer, you don’t have to let it sit on the counter melting away just to get a bite … just like store-bought ice cream.

Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of investigation with this basic custard recipe.  It’s important to get things right, you know.  So much so that perhaps I got distracted from my original goal of making a cinnamon swirl ice cream :)

Nevertheless, I highly recommend using this base for whatever flavor of ice cream you desire to make, swirly-cinnamonny or not.  The addition of some fruit puree would be particularly spectacular, me thinks.


Cinnamon Swirl Ice-Cream

Cream Base:

  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 pint) live-active-cultured sour cream (or you could use cream that rises to the top of cultured yogurt from non-homogenized milk, or yogurt- or kefir-cultured cream, although you may want to puree it first with a blender, since sometimes these can have more texture than classic sour cream)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup raw honey, depending on how sweet you want it



  • 3 T ghee (or cultured butter, if you’re using butter)
  • 3 T raw honey
  • 2 T cinnamon (or more, depending on your tastes)
  • 3/4 t salt


Step one, always important:  put the ice cream maker freezer bowl-thingy in the fridge — oops!   I meant freezer!  Move the duck legs and bulk ground beef and spices and frozen egg whites and whatever else you’ve got in the way out of the way in order to make room for this precious appliance.

Ok, now you can start working with ingredients.  In the top pan of double boiler, beat the eggs.  Mix in coconut milk, vanilla, and salt.

Heat over simmering water, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 170 degrees on a candy thermometer (or, if you don’t have a thermometer, until it just starts to coat the back of a spoon).

Remove from heat, and once the mixture is cool enough that it does not sting your finger, stir in honey.

Allow to cool a bit longer, just so it’s lukewarm to the touch, then add the sour cream.  Mix well;  you could even puree it at this point if there are any texture issues.

Chill in fridge until cold, possibly overnight if you can wait that long!  (Or make this in the morning, then when you come home for dinner it’ll be nice and cool.)

(At this point, if you’re not doing the cinnamon swirl thing, you can adapt flavors as desired, mixing in fruit puree or other flavorings.)

Once chilled, set pre-frozen ice cream maker to churning and pour in mixture.

Put a bowl or casserole or other pyrex/ceramic container into the freezer in the place where you took the ice cream maker bowl out of, for holding your ice cream when it’s done.

Meanwhile, put cinnamon in a DRY (no oil!) pan and heat until fragrant — but don’t burn it! Remove from heat.

At this point you have two options:  1)  If you want to keep your honey raw, gently warm ghee (or butter) and honey in a bowl of hot water, mixing thoroughly with cinnamon and salt.  2)  If you don’t care if the honey is raw, mix the “swirl” ingredients in a pan over low-medium heat until they start to foam and bubble.  Leave for about 30 seconds gently foaming without stirring — but don’t let it burn (the nose knows) — just to develop some caramel-y flavors.  Remove from heat.

When ice cream is basically done (sticking up in large, thick formations all on its own), pour the cinnamon “swirl” mix gradually into the mix.  You want to do this pretty quickly, over the course of a couple of seconds, and don’t worry about scraping the last bits in — you can eat those later while you wait for the ice cream to freeze up.  It takes just a matter of seconds for this stuff to turn from a “swirl” to completely integrated into the mix, so it does take a careful hand to make this step work.  To be honest, I haven’t made a batch yet that I’ve been completely satisfied with, but this is the way it should work.

Immediately transfer ice cream from maker into the dish you put in the freezer to get cold ahead of time.  Place in freezer, and enjoy scraping the remaining ice cream off the maker to tide you over until the finished product is ready.  Freeze for several hours, or until hard.  (You can eat this right out of the maker, but the texture is much better from being fully frozen.)


Photo Credit:  QuinnDombrowski on Flickr.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Real Food Weekly, Pennywise Platter Thursday, and Simple Lives Thursday.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

13 Responses to Cinnamon Swirl Ice Cream

  1. The secret to non-rock hard homemade ice cream is to put it in the fridge for a few hours before you eat it. It defrosts in just the right away to have perfectly scoopable ice cream. Either that or make salty flavors, such as butter pecan :D

    Great post – I’ve not made cinnamon, though that is one my favorite gelato flavors…

    • Megh says:

      Yes, well, I don’t always think of that in time :) Usually when I want ice cream I want it now! hehehe … Definitely a plus on this recipe, tho — instant gratification!
      You know, J tried a sea salt gelato a few weeks ago and thought it was phenomenal, so I’ve been adding a bit of salt to this when I served it and the flavor totally pops — but I should really be putting it in with the cream mixture ahead of time, I’m sure that would help even more with the freezing!

  2. Liberty says:

    cannot wait to try this!

    • Megh says:

      Yay! Let me know how it goes — I think there is still some room for improvement … I mean, we all strive towards perfection :) Especially when ice cream is concerned!!

  3. Susan says:

    “perusing the Ben & Jerry’s website for some inspiration” sounds a little self torturous to me. :) Great recipe!

  4. This looks INCREDIBLE! It’s so rich and fatty which means I would absolutely love it. All those egg yolks, sounds like heaven to me!

  5. Tina S. says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious. I will have to try it with the sour cream.

    What brand of coconut milk do you use? I haven’t been able to find one without additives.

    I use these solid bricks of coconut cream that you can find at health food stores. You just add water to get coconut milk. It’s nice because you can make it as thick or thin as needed.

    • Megh says:

      I use Native Forests. It does have additives unfortunately. I’ve never seen those blocks — I’ll have to investigate!

  6. Magda says:

    This sounds awesome! Even though I can have cocoa, this would be an interesting change.
    FYI: you can also make ice cream with kefir. Cheeseslave has a recipe on her site.
    Re coconut milk: Natural Value sold on Amazon is additive-free. There have been several repors of dented cans being sent and some have found the flavor to be ‘tinny’ but both NV and Amazon will refund or resend the milk if you want. I’ve used it and it’s great. Thanks for the recipe! FYI: I’m on full GAPS after doing my first intro. I blogged about it here: mygapsmusings.wordpress.com. I love your blog!

  7. [...] Cinnamon Swirl Ice Cream by Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>