Smoked Muscovado Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Smoking heavy cream adds an incredible depth of flavor to frozen desserts like ice cream. Sweet and rich but also a little pungent, smoked ice cream here gets additional depth from minimally refined muscovado sugar and fragrant vanilla bean.

Why this recipe works:

  • Smoking cream on its own allows you to easily determine the final smokiness of your ice cream.
  • Molasses-like raw sugar and vanilla take the lead on flavor, using smoke as an accent ingredient.
  • Though brown sugar is a suitable substitution for muscovado, the latter adds a deeper raw flavor to contrast the smoke.

Note: This recipe will make more smoked cream than you need, and the exact amount of smoked cream you use is up to you. Smoked cream will keep 7 to 10 days if refrigerated.

Recipe Facts

Active: 2 hrs
Total: 14 hrs
Serves: 8 servings
Makes: 1 quart

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For the Smoked Cream:

  • 4 cups hickory or mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

  • 1 quart heavy cream

For the Ice Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 8 large egg yolks

  • 3/4 cup muscovado sugar

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. For the Smoked Cream: Set up your smoker with 1/2 cup wood chips for low-temperature (about 150°F) smoking following the manufacturer's instructions.

  2. Fill a shallow disposable aluminum baking pan with enough ice to come halfway up pan, and just enough water to nearly cover ice. Nest a smaller shallow disposable aluminum baking pan with at least 2-quart capacity into the ice bath. Set pans in smoker and add 1 quart of cream to smaller pan.

  3. Close smoker, adjusting vents to maintain as low a temperature as possible, and smoke until cream develops a strong, but not overpowering, smoky flavor, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours; replenishing wood chips 1/2 cup at a time as needed, and stirring cream occasionally. Monitor temperature of cream: If an instant-read thermometer registers above 60°F, discard ice bath and replace with a fresh one. Pour cream into an airtight container and refrigerate.

  4. For the Ice Cream: Blend smoked cream with fresh cream to taste, starting with 1/2 cup smoked cream and 1/2 cup fresh cream and adding more of each to taste, until volume totals 2 cups and smoky flavor is pleasant and not overpowering. Reserve additional smoked and fresh creams for another use.

  5. Whisk together egg yolks and muscovado sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in diluted smoked cream and milk until fully combined, then place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid reaches 170°F or until a finger swiped across the back of the spoon leaves a clean line.

  6. Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container, stir in vanilla and salt, and chill in an ice bath or refrigerator until it registers no more than 45°F on an instant-read thermometer, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 to 5 hours before serving.

Special equipment

Ice cream machine, smoker, disposable aluminum baking pans (one with at least a 2-quart capacity, the other larger)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
657 Calories
65g Fat
6g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 657
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 65g 84%
Saturated Fat 40g 201%
Cholesterol 397mg 132%
Sodium 208mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 174mg 13%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 269mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)