Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Homemade Apple Crisp

I love birthdays. They are the perfect excuse to go a little overboard on the sweets. For my husband’s birthday last weekend, I took a queue from the fall season and combined an old favorite – my homemade apple crisp – with something new – Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream. After all, what’s a birthday without a toast?

Selfishly, this recipe also gave me a chance to conduct a new ice cream science experiment. Calling for fewer egg yolks than other recipes I’ve recently tried, I hypothesized this recipe to be a little less rich. Plus, the addition of the bourbon should render the ice cream a little creamier and give it a slightly longer shelf life, since the liquor would help keep the ice cream from freezing as hard and act as a preservative. Let’s put it to the test!

The ingredients list is pretty simple. I used 1% milk and heavy whipping cream as my dairy base. Brown sugar, eggs yolks, vanilla extract and a little bit of salt make up the rest.


After dissolving the brown sugar in the milk and slowly mixing in the egg yolks, the mixture is cooled over an ice bath with the bourbon, cream and vanilla. Then wait patiently while the mixture chills in the fridge overnight. The next morning, pour it into the ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing for about 30 minutes.


The churned ice cream comes out  a wonderful creamy smooth texture. Load it into an ice cream container and let harden in the freezer for 4-6 hours more. It’ll be ready just in time for birthday dinner!


The brown sugar gives the ice cream a lovely warm hue, and a flavor that is somewhere between fall spice and caramel, with just the slightest bourbon-y edge. As predicted, it’s light, smooth and creamy, and just as good days – even a week – later.

It is also a perfect pairing against the cinnamon-spice, apple-tart flavors of the apple crisp. I’m already thinking up excuses to celebrate so I can make this treat again!IMG_7783


3/4 c dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 c 1% milk
4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp bourbon
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the brown sugar and milk until dissolved and it comes to a simmer. Lower the temperature to medium-low.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly add a few ladles of the hot milk mixture to temper the yolks, whisking constantly.
  3. While stirring, slowly drizzle the tempered egg yolks back into the milk. Cook while stirring until completely thickened into a custard, another 2-3 minutes. The mixture should stick to the back of the spoon.
  4. Set up an ice bath by placing ice and a little bit of cold water in a large bowl, and placing medium bowl over it. Add the heavy cream and bourbon to the medium bowl. Pour the warm custard through a strainer into the medium bowl with the cream and bourbon. Mix in the salt and vanilla extract.
  5. Stir, letting the ice cream base cool. Cover or transfer to a container with a cover and place in the refrigerator to cool completely, ideally overnight.
  6. Churn in your ice cream maker according to its directions.
  7. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden for at 4-6 hours before serving.

Serve on its own, drizzled with a little chocolate or caramel, on top of a healthy slice of warm apple crisp!

Recipe adapted from: Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

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