Monday, March 10, 2014

Maple Walnut Bacon Low Carb Ice Cream

I don’t use Carbquik anymore since I wanted to eliminate grains from my diet. I usually keep some plain carbalose flour on hand for light breading, but I’m essentially gluten free these days. I still use sugar free maple syrup sometimes in recipes, but I try to avoid it since it contains mostly sorbitol as a sweetener.
This ice cream flavor was something truly inspired. I was reminiscing of the days when I would indulge in Belgian waffles made from Carbquik with a side of bacon and sugar free maple syrup over the whole lot. My first thought was to simply make a maple-walnut concoction. The Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book has such a recipe using grade C maple syrup. Almost all maple syrups sold for pancakes and waffles are grade A. (Trader Joe’s used to sell a grade B.) Grade C is only available commercially in large quantities and is used in recipes because of its strong robust flavor, which makes it more suitable for flavoring in cooking. There are a number of maple extracts I can try, so a low carb version of this recipe ought to be a slam dunk.

My favorite ice cream so far is butter pecan because it combines, sweet, fat, and salt in one flavorful punch. Then it hit me...bacon! That most wonderful food! Why not add bacon to the ice cream? I guess I’m not the first person on the planet to think of this because Google returns a whole bunch of existing recipes for “maple bacon ice cream.” All of these recipes have one thing in common: they use candied bacon. The best way “candify” it is to use brown sugar. Hmmm... I’m going to pass on that. I can sprinkle the bacon with granular Truvia and Splenda, but I’d like to impart a more complex flavor. I found a recipe that marinates the raw bacon in Da Vinci Caramel Sugar Free Syrup. That’ll do!

The first batch I made was great, but the walnuts were barely perceptible. The pecans in Butter Pecan get a zing from being cooked and coated in salt and butter, so I needed to come up with a way to bring out the walnuts. I suppose I could cook the walnuts in butter and salt (and toss the salted butter into the ice cream), but I had another idea. I can soak the walnuts in sugar free maple syrup before dropping them in the ice cream. This should also add another level of maple flavor to the mix, too. The saltiness of bacon can vary from brand to brand. Believe it or not, I had to sprinkle a little salt on the bacon to bring out the flavor. I don’t like thin crispy bacon, but that’s the kind that will work best in this recipe. But hey, don’t let me discourage you from trying this with thick juicy bacon. It’s still great!

I’ve tried just about every sugar free maple syrup I could get my hands on and Vermont Maid Syrup Sugar Free Syrup is the best. I always keep some on hand for recipes. The maple extract I ended up using was an Imitation Maple Extract by J.R. Watkins and it worked great. They have a recipe on the box to make maple syrup that only uses a half teaspoon of the stuff. I ended up using six times as much for the ice cream. This is a great example how strong flavors have to be when making a frozen treat. The candied bacon, for example, it way too sweet and salty to eat on it’s own, but in the ice cream, the flavor is much more subtle.

CAUTION: Consuming raw eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. Pasteurized eggs can be used in this recipe. Not every form of glycerin is fit for human consumption. For example, diethylene glycol is toxic and should not be consumed. Always verify the product is safe to use.


Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon Ingredients.

1 tablespoon Truvia
1 tablespoon Splenda (granular sucrose)
Da Vinci Caramel Sugar Free Syrup
1 package of bacon (thin and crispy type unlike the one in the picture)

Ice Cream

Maple Walnut Ice Cream Ingredients.

2 large eggs
1½ tablespoons Truvia
21 drops EZ-Sweetz
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
1 tablespoon maple extract
2 cups (238 g) heavy cream
1 cup (100 g) walnut halves
sugar free maple syrup
low carb candied bacon (see above)
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ teaspoon Dixie Diner’s Thick It Up Low Carb Thickener


  1. Put the container for the ice cream including its cover upright in the freezer now. This serves two purposes: it keeps the container cold and it forces you to make sure that there’s space in the freezer.
  2. Candied bacon: Open the package of bacon and cut all the strips in half. Arrange the strips in a shallow pan. Pour in sugar free caramel syrup so that bacon is can marinate.

    Bacon Marinated in Caramel Syrup

    Cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lay out the strips.

    Bacon in lined cookie sheet.

    Put the granular Truvia and Splenda in a shaker and sprinkle over the bacon.

    Truvia/Splenda Shaker.

    Flip bacon over and repeat for the remaining side.
  4. Put bacon into a cold oven and cook at 300 °F until done. Bacon is usually cooked at a higher temperature, but I’ve noticed the bacon soaked in caramel syrup cooks faster and can burn real easy. Check on it frequently and flip the slices periodically with oven safe tongs. Some of bacon will cook faster, so remove those pieces and put onto a paper plate as necessary.

    Cooked candied bacon.

    Sprinkle additional salt if needed. This is a matter of preference, so go ahead and try a taste test.
  5. Cut the cooked strips into very small pieces using kitchen shears.

    Cut-up Candied Bacon.

    Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for later.
  6. Ice cream: Put the walnuts in a small bowl and add enough sugar free maple syrup to coat the walnuts. Mix the nuts in the syrup and place in the refrigerator until the ice cream is ready. Don’t freeze as the syrup will harden.
  7. In a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, whisk the eggs and then whisk in the sweeteners slowly until integrated and fluffy.
  8. Add the glycerin, maple extract, and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  9. Slowly sprinkle in the stabilizer (xanthan gum or Thick It Up) while whisking vigorously.
  10. Add 2 cups of heavy cream and whisk by hand until combined.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until ready.
  12. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions for making ice cream. One to two minutes before the ice cream is done, add three-quarters of the bacon and syrup covered walnuts. Leave the rest to be added during the transfer to the container. (The ice cream at the top usually has the least amount of solid ingredients, so it’s a good idea to keep some on the side to add.) Use a silicone spatula to remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker. Freeze until solid.
Here’s a closeup of the results!

Quart of Ice Cream.

Breakfast is served!

Bowl of Ice Cream.

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