There is something both sensational and devastatingly sad about letting go of childhood holiday traditions and creating new ones to take their place. It feels like a child leaving the nest or the loss of a loved one, there is a special place in our hearts and minds of these traditions, but, alas, this is an ever-changing life we are living. We must adapt and succumb to change, even change in the holiday season.
This is one of the first times in a long time I will waking up on Christmas morning in my own home, smelling chicory coffee from my own brew and possibly seeing the frost on my window. Packages will be lined up like tin soldiers, stockings bloated with goodies will be sitting patiently on the hearth, and Amy Grant will be singing about a Tennessee Christmas in the background. New traditions will be created, like brush strokes on a blank canvas, but, still, I must look back to my fondest memories and tip my hat to them. I have forever spent every Christmas season in southeast Louisiana where the weather was always warm for the holidays. So, for this Christmas, I have started a new tradition. Hot desserts and beverages were out of the question in 70-degree weather, therefore my nod comes in the form of candy cane ice cream (for those who live in cooler areas, a scoop of this in hot chocolate is utterly delicious.)
My prayer is that each and every one of you feels the love and support from those around you this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Recipe: Makes 1 Quart
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean split in half lengthwise
1 cup of crushed candy cane candies, divided, plus more for garnish
6 egg yolks
½ cup of sugar
In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream, vanilla, and ½ cup of crushed candy cane pieces until the mixture begins to simmer. Let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain the mixture, discarding the crushed peppermints.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color. Slowly add the cream mixture to the yolk mixture in a steady stream with the mixer on low. Once all of the cream is incorporated, transfer the mixture to a double boiler (or a bowl over a pot of simmering water) and stir continuously until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 8 minutes.) Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator until fully chilled. Transfer the base to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the cream begins to thicken in the ice cream machine, add the remaining ½ cup of crushed candy cane candies. Transfer to a container and let ice cream set completely for at least 2 more hours in the freezer. Serve with hot chocolate and more crushed candy cane pieces!