>Caramel Ice Cream with Sliced Almonds and Heath Bar

23 Aug

Making caramel can seem very intimidating at first. You are playing with science. You are playing with fire. You are playing with sugar–hot bubbling sugar. There are different types of caramels that can be made: wet caramel is made by heating a combination of sugar and water in a pan and dry caramel is simply sugar heated without any liquid. Wet caramel is used mostly for sauces and drizzling. This particular caramel ice cream recipe uses the dry caramel technique.

The 2 main things to take note of when making caramel are recrystallization (lumpy clumpy sugar crystals) and burning the sugar. You can avoid recrystallization by making sure that your pan and your sugar have no impurities in them and that you are cooking your sugar in a fairly even layer. Limiting the amount that the sugar is stirred can also help prevent recrystallization (point: do not over-stir). To prevent burning the sugar, it is important to stand guard and hover around the pot. Right when the sugar turns an amber color and starts smoking and foaming a bit, you must remove the pan from heat immediately to stop the sugar from darkening further. Usually, a liquid is added (cream, coffee, orange juice/water…) at this point to help stop it from continuing to cook.

Look, if you mess up, just try again with a new batch of sugar. Sugar is pretty inexpensive and you can think of the process as an educational lesson in cooking and science.

Caramel ice cream is a real treat. This recipe is just a basic dry caramel mixed with a milky creamy custard, but there are all sorts of fun ways to play with caramel ice cream mix: burnt caramel ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, salted butter caramel ice cream (I had this flavor at a shop in Paris, caramel burree sale, mmmmm!)…

I also chose to mix in heath bar candy and chopped toasted almonds. I actually wish that I hadn’t done the heath bar thing because it took away from the actual caramel taste, but it was still absolutely delicious regardless. Next time I think I will pair the ice cream with a flourless chocolate cake or maybe some chewy gingersnap cookies and make ginger caramel ice cream sandwiches. Uh. Yea.

Caramel Ice Cream

from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread the sugar in an even layer in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar begins to melt around the edges. Using a heatproof utensil, slowly drag the liquified sugar to the center and stir gently until all the sugar is melted. Continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the caramel turns dark amber in color and starts to foam a bit. Remove from heat and immediately add the milk (SLOWLY!). The caramel will bubble up vigorously (WATCH OUT, STAND BACK/WEAR OVEN MITS), then the bubbling will subside.

Set the saucepan over low heat, add 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir until almost all of the hardened caramel has dissolved into the milk. A few bits may remain, but don’t worry; they’ll melt later on.

Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a mesh strainer across the top.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm caramel mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the heavy cream. Stir in the vanilla, then taste, and add up to 1/4 teaspoon more salt, if desired.

Set the bowl containing the custard over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir the custard until cool, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

**Optional: Stir in 1 to 2 cups of mix-ins just after churning–chopped chocolate or candy bars (I did chopped toasted almonds with heath bar), bits of broken caramel, crumbled brownies, praline…


Make cookies and make caramel ice cream sandwiches!


One Response to “>Caramel Ice Cream with Sliced Almonds and Heath Bar”


  1. A Few New York Secrets + Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream « Figsinmybelly - June 27, 2011

    […] Care for another stellar albeit less decadent-tasting caramel ice cream from David Lebovitz? You are just one click away. […]

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