My search for a copycat recipe of the s'mores ice cream we had in Maine was renewed when I found a carton of it at our local Fairway market. I bought it on the Fourth of July and we devoured it in a couple days. The thing about this ice cream was that it didn't have chunks of graham crackers in it (prone to getting soggy over time), the ice cream base itsself was graham cracker flavored. In searching online it was hard to find a s'mores ice cream recipe with a graham ice cream base; most of them had chocolate ice cream, or vanilla with s'mores mix-ins.
I found a graham cracker ice cream recipe and tried it out. It was a HUGE flop. The worst ice cream I've ever made. Seriously, it wasn't even like ice cream. It used too much milk to cream, didn't have eggs in it, and it came out icy and froze really hard so it couldn't even be scooped. It was terrible and we had to throw it out. The search continued!
I learned from the first failure that I needed a recipe with a cooked custard base to yield a more creamy ice cream that could stand up to the graham cracker crumbs. I did some research, comparing and contrasting lots of graham ice cream recipes from around the web, seeing how much of each ingredient they used, and trying to find one that had a good balance of cream to milk and a technique that would produce a creamy ice cream that didn't have too much powdery graham texture, but still a pronounced graham taste.
I found a recipe that looked like the best combination of what I was looking for, tweaked it a little and tried it out, adding my own shaved dark chocolate and marshmallow swirl. I was so nervous waiting for it to harden in the freezer, wondering if it would turn out how I was hoping. And it was INCREDIBLE!! It seriously tasted just like the Gifford's ice cream we had in Maine. I was so happy knowing I could make this any time I want. We served it to our friends at a dinner party that night and it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it. Sweet victory!
Gifford's Campfire S'mores Ice Cream Recipe
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 graham crackers, crushed into a powder
2/3 cup shaved or finely chopped dark chocolate
1/2-3/4 cup marshmallow creme (I drizzled until it looked good, not sure how much I used)
Put a glass bowl into the freezer to chill while you prepare the base. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together 5 egg yolks. Crush graham crackers in a ziplock bag. Be sure to grind them into as fine a powder as possible. You don't want any chunks.
In a sauce pan, stir together 1 cup cream, sugar, milk, salt and half of the crushed graham crackers. Heat over medium heat, stirring until all the ingredients are dissolved and the mixture steams and appears about ready to boil.
Temper the egg yolks. Slowly pour about half of the cream mixture into the eggs while whisking furiously (I use a hand mixer for this part). This warms the eggs without scrambling them. Once the hot cream and eggs have been combined, pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan over low heat. Continue heating over low to medium low heat, until it begins to thicken slightly and coats the back of a spoon. (Good examples of what coating the spoon looks like can be found through Google images.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Grab the cold bowl from the freezer, and pour in 1 cup of cream. Pour the warm custard through a strainer into the cold cream, then whisk together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate three hours or until completely chilled.
When you're ready to churn, stir the remaining crushed graham crackers into the custard base and freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. (Mine churns in the Kitchenaid for about 25 minutes.) After it's finished churning, transfer to a bowl and fold in drizzles of marshmallow creme and chocolate pieces. Freeze in an airtight container for 4-6 hours, until hard.