Cracked raw pecans


When plain vanilla just doesn’t do it for you anymore or maybe you just need some time apart, pecan brown sugar cinnamon gelato is the go-to scoop.

Familiar without being boring, the cinnamon-brown sugar-pecan combo hits you like a frozen Cinnabon explosion.  Plus it’s the perfect a la mode partner that compliments all manner of apple pies, pear tarts, and warm chocolate cakes.

There are no tricks here, just a straightforward gelato recipe with a few modifications.  White sugar is swapped out for brown and a healthy dose of cinnamon added to the mix.   Throw in some buttered pecans – or not  – the choice is yours.  Although personally, I can’t imagine a cinnamon bun, hot or frozen, without a few crunchy nuts to keep things interesting.



Pecan Brown Sugar gelato is like a frozen cinnamon bun explosion – but without all the work of making actual cinnamon buns!   It also makes a fabulous scoop for a la mode – Apple Pie, spice cakes and fruit crisps.  


  • 632g  whole milk
  •   52g  heavy cream
  •   89g  sugar
  •   89g  brown sugar
  •   20g  non-fat milk powder
  •     5g  tapioca starch
  •   34g  light corn syrup
  •   75g  egg yolks
  • 2 tsp  ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • butter pecans (1/2 – 1 cup)*


  •   115g   raw unsalted pecan pieces
  •     25g   butter cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt



Make and freeze butter pecans – see recipe below. Make an ice bath and set aside. Have a clean bowl or container and a fine mesh strainer standing by.


Combine sugars, non-fat milk powder and tapioca starch in a bowl. Combine milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Add corn syrup, egg yolks, and cinnamon whisking until fully incorporated.


Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes.  Do not let it come to a boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.  In the last few minutes stir without stopping as the mixture begins to thicken – you will feel a subtle difference.

Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl that is standing by.   Stir in vanilla paste (if using)

Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.


After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.


Give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk then process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Right before the gelato is ready, drop in the frozen pecans a few at a time.

The gelato is finished when it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Spread pecans on a baking sheet and top with cubes of butter. Bake for approximately 10 minutes total, stirring halfway through.  The nuts are done when they turn a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle sugar and salt over the lets and let cool to room temperature. Put the nuts in a container and freezer before mixing into the gelato.


Freezing the butter pecans before adding them to the gelato will improve the texture.  A warm or room temperature nut is going to create warmer spots that take longer to harden.  The quicker gelato hardens the more consistent and creamy the texture will be. The amount of pecans to mix-in is a matter of personal preference.   A half cup to a cup will give a good crunch in every bite.  Get nutty and add two cups if that’s your thing.  No judgment.

Keywords: Butter Pecan Brown Sugar Cinnamon Gelato

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