honey cinnamon ice cream

As I sit at my computer tonight, I hear the rain outside, hitting the window, sloshing on pavement as cars drive by. It smells fresh, earthy, like your hands deep in soil when you’re working in the garden, yet clean, like the glassy drops of dew on grass in the morning. It reminds me this is the time of year when things green, when they begin to grow. All the storms and pounding rain bring us tulips and lilies, leaves on trees, buds on branches.

And it’s funny how, a few months ago, when I scraped ice off my car and skidded down the expressway, I didn’t believe this time would come again. At its darkest, winter was unending, hopeless—in that way, a little like life, sometimes.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about dreams lately—the big ones we make as children, unashamedly, be they astronaut or firefighter or surgeon. Everything’s sunshine and rainstorms and possibility, then. But as we get older and things seem more difficult, it becomes easier to lose yourself to discouragement, to long, cold afternoons under blankets in bed, metaphorically or not.

Come spring, I think of the cycles of life, the beginning and ending and beginning again. And I see a precious truth that no matter how bad things can seem, they can change.

ice cream on a spoon

I recently received a copy of Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes, written by Tessa Kiros. It’s a thick, hardcover cookbook filled with memories from the author’s heritage, which includes a Finnish mother, a Greek-Cypriot father and residences that changed between London, Africa, Athens and Mexico. My immediate reaction, opening it, was a happy sigh—kind of like my response to warm sunshine on my drive home—as it could, quite possibly, be the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen.

Photography was done by Manos Chatzikonstantis, and it is like all the best of Tastespotting and Foodgawker and your favorite food magazine rolled into one, filled with full-page color photographs that will have you running to the kitchen.

ice cream

To begin, I chose the recipe for milk, honey and cinnamon ice cream. It seemed a perfect way to celebrate spring and, in a less obvious way, the future. While my experience with the author’s cardamom buns would prove to be incredibly frustrating (possibly due to my converting measurements from fresh yeast to active dry), the ice cream was exactly the opposite.

I tasted the mixture before freezing it, when the warming smells of honey and cinnamon proved too hard to resist, and I immediately thought of a Greek dessert. You know the kind? Layers of phyllo dough with honey and cinnamon and whipped cream? Like baklava, but lighter. Once it hardened, the ice cream scooped out nicely, never quite freezing into a total solid, rich with the taste of honey.

I’ve been to Greece once, on a quick trip during my senior year of college, where I ate savory chicken souvlaki and walked through ancient ruins and saw preparations for the Olympics being built. If you’d asked me this last December if I’ll ever return, I’d have said, No, probably not, right before I went to watch a D.V.D. and drink some tea. But ask me now—or about anything, for that matter—and I’m open-minded. Anything can happen, I remember. I just have to look outside and see the ground come alive again, and I know.

Milk, Honey and Cinnamon Ice Cream
Adapted from Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes

There’s no need to worry if you don’t own an ice cream machine; this recipe gives you guidelines for making it completely by hand or with a hand mixer. There may be a few more steps involved as far as the pulling out of the freezer and whisking without a machine, but overall, it’s a snap.

2 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup honey

Heat the milk, cream and cinnamon in a pan over low heat, mingling the flavors. Add the honey and increase the heat until the mixture is just coming to a boil; remove from heat and cool. Transfer to a freezer-proof bowl with a lid, cover and put in the freezer.

After an hour, remove the bowl from the freezer, give an energetic whisk with a whisk or an electric mixer, and return to the freezer. Whisk again after another couple of hours. When it is nearly firm, give one last whisk,, transfer to a suitable freezing container with a lid, and let it set in the freezer until it is firm (depending on the type of honey you use, your ice cream may not freeze completely solid).

Alternatively, pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Lindsay

    I just wanted to say that I thought this was a beautifully written post. Yay Spring and all that it entitles, including delicious icecream

  2. The Duo Dishes

    Your photos are just great. Love those shots.

  3. Jacqui

    shannalee, your optimism is always so inspiring.

  4. Hannah

    Oh man, that looks so good! and your pictures are so lovely. what camera/lens do you use?

  5. Maria

    Oh, Tessa Kiros. Her lovely prose always makes me want to write and take photos and live life with loveliness. Manos is just a brilliant photographer and fits her writing perfectly.

    Sure enough, Falling Cloudberries led me to weep nostalgia for Greece (my adopted homeland) a couple weeks back on my blog. And if it’s possible, her third and fourth cookbooks – Apples for Jam and Postcards from Portugal are even nicer.

  6. siri

    Hi there…Just had to comment after coming across your blog for the first time today. Beautiful photos- I’m always up for a new ice cream recipe- seems as though ice cream season is creeping up with each passing day (not to say I wasn’t making new flavors all winter long!)

    I’ve heard a few others mention the Cloudberry book and now I want to order it even more. Also, I am a huge fan of cardamom in yeasted breads (it’s a very popular flavor combo here in Norway) and I think you should give those buns another go- a good rule of thumb when converting fresh cake yeast to dry active yeast:
    1 oz (30 grams) cake = 2 1/4 teaspoon dry active

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll be sure to keep poping back in!

  7. Jessica

    Oh my gosh that looks amazing. I love your photography. A family friend used to have an old-school ice cream machine, that thing was….fun to work.

  8. Hayley

    Your pictures are wonderful, and that ice cream sounds incredibly smooth. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Shannalee

    I find it so ironic that, just a few days after I wrote this happy post about how spring has arrived, I am sitting in bed while a blizzard turns the world white outside my window. The good news is, this snow won’t last. (Right?)

    You guys are all so nice, by the way. Thank you for the compliments and encouraging comments.

    Hannah – I use a little Canon PowerShot G9, which is just a point and shoot, but it has a macro setting and is small enough to fit in my bag. I love it! I’m always so impressed with your photos, so I really appreciate the compliment!

    Maria – Thanks for the info on the other Tessa Kiros books! I went over and checked out your post, too, and I think it’s pretty cool we’ve both been reading Falling Cloudberries at the same time.

    Siri – Thanks for the tips! I think the problem with my yeast might have been that it’s gone bad. I remember now (hindsight, 20/20) that the mixture didn’t really froth much when the yeast sat with the warm water, which it usually should when you’re mixing that stuff. Also, I believe I read that you should leave dry yeast with the water longer or something? Sigh. You’re right – I need to try again.

  10. Lan

    it is amazing to me that you made ice cream one day and what a few days later, you guys had a blizzard?! perfectly dreadful and i feel for you.

    is it ok that i confess to you that i’m more of a tradition ice cream lover? as in, chocolate or cookies n cream or coffee. everything else, not so much. even with something mild like honey or lovely like cinnamon, it throws me off and i’m not happy. but the most important thing is that you’re happy with it and it looks like the cookbook is being well used. :)

    lovely pix.

  11. Shannalee

    Lan, It’s hard to top good old chocolate or cookies and cream, no question! In fact, I just had some tonight – yum! The honey kind is different, but it’s good – very sweet and surprising and Greek, but very good. (But we can still be friends if you never try it, deal?)

  12. ingrid

    Lovely post! Here in Florida we don’t get to appreciate the seasons the way other parts of the country do as we basically have one season, hot & humid! I’m going to give this ice cream a try though I’m going to use my ice cream maker.

  13. Pingback: this time I mean it | spinach salad | food loves writing

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