Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream – Homemade chocolate ice cream is swirled with a homemade cinnamon syrup and loaded with graham cracker pieces for extra cinnamon goodness.
Welcome to July, folks! This is when the heat really gets turned up and summer weather hits its peak. So it’s no surprise that July is also National Ice Cream Month!
Here at CPA, I celebrate National Ice Cream Month every year by posting recipes for ice cream, sorbet, sundaes, etc. all month long. I try to make each recipe super unique and have done a pretty good job so far, if I do say so myself. You’d be surprised at how versatile ice cream can be!
For this month, I have tons of great recipes lined up. Many ice cream recipes, a couple sorbets, and even a fancy ice cream dessert lined up for the finale. So without further ado, let’s get to the first one!
Today’s recipe celebrates a duo of flavors that I’ve been obsessed with over the last couple of years: cinnamon and chocolate. Cinnamon adds a spicy flavor that’s so warming and comforting and brings out a flavor in the chocolate that you just don’t expect.
In the past, I’ve shared a few recipes that celebrates these two flavors:
- Chocolate Cinnamon Granola
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Snowballs
- Cinnamon Chocolate Muffins
- Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles
Today, I am bringing you the first ice cream flavor with chocolate and cinnamon. It’s my Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream and it will blow you away!
How is this ice cream made
This ice cream is made in a few stages:
- Make the chocolate ice cream
- Make the cinnamon syrup
- Assemble the ingredients together
To make the chocolate ice cream, I use the exact same base recipe that I shared in this Fudge Brownie Ice Cream recipe. The brownies and hot fudge are replaced with graham crackers and cinnamon syrup. The graham crackers add a cinnamon cookie crunch and the cinnamon syrup adds gooey cinnamon that is swirled throughout. It’s a flavor and texture explosion!
I go into great detail on how to make the chocolate ice cream base in the Fudge Brownie Ice Cream recipe so I’m not going to repeat all of that here. But let’s talk about the cinnamon syrup since you’ll be making that from scratch.
Homemade Cinnamon Syrup
For the cinnamon flavor in this ice cream, I could have simply added ground cinnamon to the chocolate ice cream base. But I wanted to add some fun texture to the ice cream so I decided to swirl in a cinnamon syrup instead.
The syrup is made by boiling sugar, water, and cinnamon together just until the sugar dissolves and a sticky syrup forms. We then add in butter for flavor and corn syrup for added syrup texture. This ensures the syrup stays sticky when added to the cold ice cream instead of seizing up and turning solid.
Assembling the ice cream
Once all the ingredients are made, it’s time to assemble the ice cream. Since there are mix-ins swirled in the ice cream, it’s important to layer in the ingredients to ensure every bite gets a little of each ingredient.
We use the layering technique instead of mixing the ingredients together to keep the ice cream from melting. The more the ice cream is handled and stirred, the faster it will begin to melt. Once it melts, the likelihood that ice crystals will form during the freezing process increases. We want to make this ice cream as smooth as possible which means we need to keep the ice crystals small and minimal.
To start the layers, the frozen chocolate ice cream is spread on the bottom of your storage container. Then, cinnamon syrup is swirled over the top and crushed graham crackers are then sprinkled all over. We make one more layer before covering the ice cream and putting in the freezer for 8 hours to help it all firm up.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure to read the directions of your ice cream machine before starting. For my machine, I needed to freeze my ice cream bowl for 24 hours before using. I keep it in the freezer at all times to make sure I’m never waiting on it for my ice cream recipes.
- The ice cream base is heated through before it’s put in the ice cream machine. Therefore, we’ll need to chill the ice cream before putting into the ice cream machine. You always want to add a cold ice cream base to an ice cream machine to ensure that the machine will freeze the ice cream properly and reduce the ice crystals.
- Make sure to let the cinnamon syrup cool a little before adding to the ice cream. Otherwise, the hot syrup will melt the ice cream and it will take longer to freeze.
Cinnamon Swirl Chocolate Ice Cream
For the ice cream base:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the mix-ins:
- 3 graham crackers crumbled
- cinnamon sauce (recipe below)
For the cinnamon sauce:
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch to make a slurry. Set aside. Grab a large bowl and fill it with 2 cups of ice and 1 cup of water. Nest another bowl into that bowl so that it's sitting on the ice water. Place a strainer on top of the inner bowl. Set this setup aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add remaining milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes then add in slurry. Continue cooking for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, add softened cream cheese and whisk to smooth it out. Add about 1/4 cup of heated milk mixture and whisk together until smooth. Add mixture back to rest of milk.
- Place cocoa, coffee, and last 1/2 cup of sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Add to milk mixture and stir. Add in vanilla extract and stir.
- Pour mixture through mesh sieve into chilled bowl. Stir to cool down the mixture. Place plastic wrap on top of milk mixture to prevent film from forming on top. Chill in refrigerator until really cold, at least 4 hours.
- Once chilled, it's time to freeze the ice cream. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker's instructions (mine took about 15 minutes to freeze). In the meantime, make the cinnamon syrup.
For the cinnamon syrup:
- Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and water to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and keep cooking until sugar dissolves and a sticky syrup forms, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until melted. Add corn syrup and stir together. Set aside until assembly.
Assemble the ice cream:
- When the ice cream is finished, spread half of it into rectangular glass container with a lid. Cover with half of crumbled graham crackers. Then finish with a drizzle of about 1/2 of the cinnamon syrup. Repeat layer one more time and then spread top of the ice cream into one flat layer. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the ice cream and then cover with the lid. Freeze until firm, about 8 hours.