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A Few New York Secrets + Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

27 Jun

I have a few (New York) secrets for you:

Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Like a triple cross between Berkeley’s famous Memorial Glade and San Francisco’s Dolores Park and Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic or something… Sheep Meadow is a large flat park surrounded by trees and tall buildings and beaming with sunshine in the summertime.

Per Se. “The urban interpretation of the French Laundry [in Napa, CA].” The wine list is on an ipad. The cocktails are out-of-this-world. The servers are dressed in fancy suits. Sitting at the bar and ordering a drink is what you need to do. NOW. You will pay for your expensive cocktail and your server will bring you popcorn with truffle oil and large roasted peanuts. Sitting at the bar is actually sitting at your own private table. What a steal!

Bakeri and CB I Hate Perfume Gallery. Bakeri is a cute cute cute little shop with a blue painted entrance and an outdoor garden with a mini waterfall. Grab a light lunch, a coffee, and a little sweet snack and bask in the adorable-ness of this little joint. CB I Hate Perfume is right down the street from Bakeri. Tantalize your nose with perfumes that literally smell like Roast Beef, Bell Peppers, Graham Crackers, Snow, Rain, A Walk on The Beach, and Burnt Leaves. How does he do it?!

-Peeping at naughty nude bodies in the Standard Hotel’s Boom Boom Room. You are on the street. Nude bodies are way up at the top of the hotel. Voyeurism at it’s finest.

When I’m not exploring the “secrets” of New York City, I am exploring how to better myself in the kitchen (both at home and at work). I present to you an ice cream flavor that lies in the realm of decadence and sin and a pleasure that is meant to make you want to rip your clothes off.

Caramel-Buerre-Salé. Salted Butter Caramel. This ice cream tastes exactly how it sounds. Totally rich. Totally in love.

After tasting the famous ABC Kitchen Ice Cream Sundae (salted caramel ice cream, popcorn, candied peanuts, chocolate sauce, whipped cream) last week, my mind started to race. I began reminiscing about the Caramel-Buerre-Salé ice cream that I licked right off the cone last summer in Paris at Berthillon. How have I not already re-created this mind-blowing experience in the form of ice cream yet?

Here you go:

Caramel-Buerre-Salé Ice Cream (Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream)

From David Lebovitz

**A SECRET FROM DAVID LEB.: “The secret is to cook your sugar into a caramel far enough so it’s very-slightly burnt; otherwise it just tastes like syrupy sugar. You want to take it to the edge of darkness, then stop it there with the addition of a few pads of salted butter.”

makes 1 generous quart (liter)

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
 4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
 scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
 1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
 5 large egg yolks
 ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

approximately 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or Maldon salt flakes

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

Spread 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later). Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.

Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens.

Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, drizzle in about 3/4 teaspoon of flaky salt.

**Even in the freezer, the ice cream will stay quite soft, which is exactly how I LOVE my ice cream texture to be. Perfect.

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

Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet

21 Jan

Oh yes, this dripping cone of chocolate heaven is SORBET. No cream, no milk, no egg yolks…but no skimping on the rich chocolate flavor. Oh no, no skimping. This is as pure as a frozen chocolate treat can get. Joanne Chang, the owner of a popular Boston bakery called Flour is responsible for this bittersweet chocolate sorbet recipe. She describes the taste perfectly: “It tastes like a frozen deep, dark chocolate bar.” Oh, lordy I couldn’t describe it better myself!

I was just in New York and discovered that there are some REALLY GOOD hot chocolates to drink out there. Like REALLY REALLY GOOD, especially when you dip a pretzel croissant into your hot chocolate. This sorbet tastes like the dark hot chocolates that I was drinking just a few weeks ago, but frozen.

I had some organic vegan ice cream cones on-hand that I used to make red velvet cupcake cones a short while ago, and these cones were a great way to enjoy this bittersweet chocolate sorbet.

I very much enjoy the process of making ice cream. I like the whole heat the milk, temper in the egg yolks, and pour into cold cream thing. But with this sorbet, I get to do the make a nice caramel, add some cocoa powder, and pour everything over chopped chocolate thing. I like this, too.

Chang provides a nice food-science explanation for using caramelized sugar instead of pure sugar in her bittersweet chocolate sorbet recipe:

“…caramelize the sugar before combining it with the sorbet base. Because there is no cream or milk in this recipe, it is a challenge to create a smooth, creamy texture. Caramelizing the sugar means you can use more sugar than you would normally (since straight sugar is pure sweet and the sweetness of the caramelized sugar is offset by its characteristic bitterness). The extra sugar-disguised-as-caramel helps to lower the freezing point of the sorbet base, which means it won’t freeze solid. The result is a creamier, softer, not-icy treat.”

Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet

from Joanne Chang’s book, Flour

makes about 1 quart

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

3 1/2 cups (840 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

4 ounces (114 grams) bittersweet chocolate (60-70 % cacao), finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Put the sugar in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup (120 grams) of the water and gently swirl the pan to moisten the sugar. Place the pan over high heat and leave it undisturbed until the contents come to a rolling boil. Then continue to boil rapidly without moving the pan until the sugar syrup starts to caramelize. This will take 3 to 4 minutes: the sugar syrup will boil furiously, then as it thickens it will boil more languidly, and then you will see some of the syrup start to color and darken around the edge of the pan.

When you see color in the pan, gently swirl it in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly, and then keep swirling gently until the caramel is a medium golden brown. Turn down the heat to low and slowly and carefully add the remaining 3 cups (720 grams) water. Be careful, because it will sputter and spatter when it hits the caramel. The caramel will harden at the bottom of the pan; turn up the heat to high, bring the mixture back to a boil, and whisk for a few minutes until the caramel fully dissolves. Then whisk in the cocoa powder until fully dissolved.

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the hot caramelized liquid over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute, then whisk gently until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a container, and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until cold.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Sorbet can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week.

>Messy, Sticky, Finger-Lickin’ Good: Honey Sea Salt Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce

14 Oct

It’s official. I’m addicted. I’m addicted to ice cream. I’m addicted to this honey sea salt peanut butter ice cream. I love peanut butter, I love honey, I love salt, especially flaky sea salt. I’m addicted to making and eating caramel sauce. Burnt sugar? Yep. Addicted. Leftover puff pastry diamonds that I made at work? Yep. Addicted.

It’s official. I am out of flour, I am out of vanilla, I am nearly out of sugar. A baker’s job well done, I’d say.

Caramel sauce may seem a bit scary, but it really is as easy as 1. 2. 3. Heat the sugar. It will start to bubble, brown, and smoke:

Resist the urge to stir until the last possible moment…annnnnnnd…now go! Stir! Add a bit o’ butter…stir (I actually prefer to nudge rather than stir)! Add some heavy cream…nudge! Breathe.

Awww yeahhhh

Heaven in a sauce

My base. Puff pastry diamond with some honey sea salt pb ice cream. This photo was taken before my ice cream scooper broke. It was also taken before I made caramel sauce.

Much better. Oh how good it feels to spoil myself…

Honey Sea Salt Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce

Followed exactly from theKitchyKitchen (she rocks!)


2-3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup honey roasted peanut butter (if you only have regular, add 2 tablespoons of honey)
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch of sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Caramel Sauce:
1 cup white sugar
4 oz unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat one cup of the heavy cream in a sauce pan until simmering. Add the sugar to melt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add a little of the hot cream and whisk to combine. Add a little more, then pour the contents of the bowl into the pan and stir until thickened (or 165 F). Off the heat, add the peanut butter, sea salt, honey, and vanilla, stirring to combine. Taste and add more sea salt or honey to taste. Chill in your fridge, whisk in the additional cream and milk (tasting to adjust the salt and honey), then stir in your ice cream machine as recommended.
For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar turns golden. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved and just starting to turn a lovely dark amber color. Remove from heat and add the butter, and stir to combine. Careful, it’ll foam up. Then add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Pour the caramel into a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Pour over everything and anything!


>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!