I really don’t care if “salted caramel” is a fad. And that it’s on its way out as a unique culinary delight. It’s amazing. It’s the sweet and the salt you want but together in a way that satisfies every chocolate potato chip craving that one has in the depths of the evening (or the middle of the day?). I’m a complete sucker for the salty caramel macarons and cupcakes at Ginger Elizabeth and the salted caramel chocolate bars from Vosges. And Mr. M is right on board as well.
So when I was perusing my edition of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home for the first flavor to create, I just knew this one would be a winner in some fashion. And let me tell you… it’s a winner all around. Heck, I almost burned myself and made a complete mess of the kitchen making the recipe (people! do not stop stirring your caramel EVER!!!) and it still tasted amazing to me!
But make sure you let it rest and freeze up completely before diving in. The freshly made stuff from the ice cream maker isn’t quite as yummy as it’s Day 2 counterpart!
Salty Caramel Ice Cream
(Makes about 1 quart)
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream & 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (combined!)
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. PREPARATION: Combine the heavy cream and corn syrup in a pourable measuring cup. Then, take a small bowl and mix 2 tablespoons of the 2 cups of whole milk with the cornstarch in a and make a smooth slurry. In another large bowl (needs to fit all of the heated caramel into it!), whisk the cream cheese and salt. For your ice bath, fill up a large bowl with ice and a bit of water, and take out a 1-gallon Ziplock freezer bag.
You’re going to dry-burn sugar and make caramel. This is kind of crazy, but it works. The whole process goes quicker, but you have to be careful and have all of your ingredients at the ready!
2. Cook the sugar in a LARGE pot (one that all of the ingredients added will not spill over!) Use a heatproof spatula, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted & browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When your edges darken, bring them into the center with your spatula to help melt the rest of the sugar. Do not stop stirring until it is all melted and evenly amber in color! When you start seeing little bubbles explode with dark smoke, count to 3 and take your pot off the heat.
3. GET READY for crazy times! You need to immediately (but slowly) begin to pour 1/5th of your cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. It is going to pop and spit – so this is where your deep pot really comes in handy! Stir and mix it in until it’s combined, then continue to add the rest of the cream in small intervals until it is all in.
4. Put the pot back on medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring it up to a rolling boil and continue for 4 minutes. DO NOT STOP STIRRING!
5. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
6. Put the pot back on medium-high heat and and STIR for about 1 more minute.
7. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve if you see any large caramel pieces. (hint: I did not strain mine, and Mr. M seems to find these pieces in the ice cream intriguing, so it’s not incredibly necessary)
8. Pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Then add the vanilla.
9. Pour it all into your 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag, seal and then plunge it into your prepared ice bath. Add more ice if you need to keep it cold, but let it rest for about 30 minutes.
10. Pour it into your ice cream maker (this is my model) and wait for 20-25 minutes for it to freeze up!
11. Remove the ice cream from your maker and put it in your freezer proof container. After it’s packed, push down a sheet of parchment on top, then seal it with a lid. Enjoy at least 4-6 hours later…