I’m sure I’m breaking some unwritten food blogging rule that says you shouldn’t post two similar recipes back to back, but earlier this week my refrigerator was overflowing with all the fresh strawberries I had picked, so rather than see them go bad I decided to make Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream and it came out so delicious that I just had to share! I had an old recipe for homemade strawberry ice cream in my files that I dug out and I simply replaced the 1¼ cups of white granulated sugar it called for with ¾ cup of pure maple syrup. Aside from being able to control/lessen the sweetness (most ice cream is way too sweet), an added benefit of using maple syrup was that the liquids did not need to be heated in order to dissolve the granulated sugar. Since the maple syrup was already in liquid form it just needed to be combined with the strawberries/puree and other ingredients. So, not only is Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream a tad healthier than your typical strawberry ice cream, it’s also a little easier to make.
Whenever possible I like to use natural, unrefined sweeteners in my cooking and baking. Many people argue that your body metabolizes all sugars the same regardless of whether they are natural or refined. While this may be true, there is one very important difference between refined sugar, such as granulated, white sugar, and natural, unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup. Refined sugars have zero (or virtually zero) nutritive value. All of the nutrients have been stripped away during an intensive manufacturing process that often involves the use of chemicals. Natural, unrefined sweeteners, on the other hand, are not highly processed and therefore retain small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Keep in mind however, however, that unrefined sweeteners are still sugars and we should all be trying to limit our sugar intake, but I look at it this way – if I’ve considered a food’s health benefits (of lack thereof) and made the conscious decision to consume it, I’d much rather that food be sweetened with something like maple syrup than white table sugar, even if the potential nutritional benefits are small.
This recipe makes quite a bit of ice cream so you’ll probably have to freeze it in batches in your ice cream maker. I had to do two batches in mine and I still had some mix leftover so I poured it into some popsicle molds and made these Maple Sweetened Strawberry Creamsicles. Their texture is not as creamy because the mixture wasn’t churned, but they are still out of this world delicious.
You’ll notice that Maple Sweetened Strawberry Ice Cream freezes up much more solid and is harder to scoop than most store bought ice cream. That’s because store bought ice cream typically contains gums and stabilizers that alter its texture and prevent the formation of ice crystals. So if you have to work really hard to scoop this ice cream, and detect a subtle iciness in between each delicious bite, that’s a good thing!
- 1¼ lbs. fresh strawberries
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- Cut the stems off all of the strawberries and then finely chop some of them until you have 1 cup. Puree the remaining strawberries in the work bowl of a food processor or blender until there are no visible chunks.
- Whisk together the strawberry puree with the whole milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, and salt until well combined.
- Stir in the chopped strawberries and freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Makes about 1½ quarts
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