At first it seems like a bad idea, but then it seems like a really good idea.

There’s an ice cream chain on the west coast known for intriguing and off-the-wall flavors. Their seasonal menu introduced me to Raisin Bran ice cream, which inspired this copycat recipe.

You’ll need to prepare the raisins a day in advance. Everything else can be made in advance or day-of.

Bran Butter

  • 4 T butter (one half stick), softened
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T wheat bran

Cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the wheat bran and mix. If it looks like the butter would accept more wheat bran and still spread, you can add more. It should taste sweet and nutty.

Vanilla Raisins

  • 1/4 C raisins
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup

Add some water to an airtight container, enough to cover the raisins. Add a few big pinches of sugar and mix to dissolve. Add a few splashes of vanilla extract and a glug of maple syrup. Mix. Add the raisins, seal, and put in the fridge overnight.

If you have rum handy, you could probably get a better copycat by using it instead of vanilla and maple.

Ice Cream Mix

Any vanilla or sweet cream ice cream mix would work. For example, this one is fine:

  • 1 C whole milk
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Whisk the milk, sugar, and salt together until dissolved. Add the cream and vanilla, cover, and chill.

Final Preparation

Bring the bran butter up to room temperature if it’s been in the fridge.

Make the ice cream in your ice cream maker as you normally do. Add the raisins and mix to distribute. Add the bran butter and mix a little—ideally you’ll get a light marbling of bran butter throughout, with plenty of little chunks left behind.