Caramel Ice Cream

By • May 20, 2014 • 24 Comments

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Author Notes: I developed this recipe three years ago. At the time, I was obsessed with making caramel sauce. And my staple ice cream was vanilla. So I combined the two (with many errors along the way) into a caramel ice cream. It’s a detailed recipe but it's not complex. Make sure you read through the recipe several times before making it. And have everything prepped so that you have no surprises. Caramel waits for no one.

The caramelization of sugar is one of those transformations that astonishes every time. The smell, the heat, the color. But be warned, it can go from golden brown to black within a minute. If you've never made caramel before, take it off the heat when it's getting close to the desired color. This will slow down the caramelizing process and give you a bit more control.

It's not very sweet so feel free to ramp up the sugar by 1/3 of a cup if you like. Or serve it with chocolate, caramel, or butterscotch sauce.
Phyllis Grant

Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. This recipe requires an ice cream machine. So make sure it's in working order. And if an insert is required, freeze it for 24 hours.
  2. Measure out heavy cream and set aside.
  3. Whisk together half and half, yolks, and salt. Set aside.
  4. At this point, you should prep the water bath so that all is in place when the ice cream custard is done. Do this by placing a fine strainer over a medium bowl. Rest bottom of the medium bowl in a large bowl. Add about an ice tray's worth of ice cubes to the large bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a deep pot, coat the sugar with a big splash of water (the liquid gives you a bit more control). Swirl (by the pot handle) over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Let it boil away for a few minutes. Once it starts to darken in patches, swirl the pan to make sure it's caramelizing evenly. The burning sugar will smell smoky and sweet. It's ready when it's the shade of Grade B maple syrup. Or be brave and go even darker! (Think the color of an old copper penny.) It will continue to darken even after you remove it from the heat.
  6. Carefully pour the the heavy cream into the caramel. Hitting caramelized sugar with heavy cream brings about quite a reaction. The mixture will rise up, almost overflowing. And then (big relief) it will start to settle back down into a calmer (but still confused) ocean of sugar, curds, and whey. Whisk it over low heat and it will unite into a creamy golden syrup.
  7. SLOWLY pour the caramel cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. This allows the eggs to adjust to the change in temperature without getting stressed out.
  8. Pour the mixture back into the original caramel pot (so as not to waste any little drips or drops). Set aside your whisk and bring out a wooden spoon. Place back on medium heat. And start stirring. Don't walk away. Or you will have caramel-flavored scrambled eggs. Watch and feel for the shift in viscosity. As you stir, the thin custard will slap against the sides of the pot like waves against the side of a boat. As it thickens, the gliding spoon will cause the custard to rise up and settle back down without much of a splash. This takes anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. But don't time it. Just watch. To confirm that it's done, do the drag-your-finger-across-the-back-of-the-wooden-spoon test. It's ready when your finger leaves a lovely lingering trail.
  9. Pour mixture through the fine strainer into the medium bowl that's resting in the large bowl. Pour just enough water in with the ice cubes so that the ice water is at least half way up the side of the bowl filled with the ice cream custard. Leave bowl over the ice bath until it's cool. Stir every 10 minutes or so. Refrigerate custard for a few hours or overnight. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Freeze for a few hours before serving.
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3 months ago Jose

Good Food is a lifestyle channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom.. Writing Dissertation Dissertation Topic Dissertation Proposal Writing


Epietzsch

5 months ago borntobeworn

I have made a lot of ice creams and this one gave me trouble. The sugar never caramelized - just turned into a crystal mass on the bottom of the pan. I added water 2 more times but still never got it to turn. The resulting mixture is very much a custard (with all those egg yokes). I'm going to chill it overnight before sending it through my ice cream maker. Luckily, I have some salted caramel syrup that my son brought me from France - I might add some after it goes through the machine, before it hardens in the freezer. I'm hoping for ribbons of caramel. I just don't understand why the sugar wouldn't turn anything darker than a honey color.

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

so sorry this happened! caramel can bet tricky. it will work fine for me 30 times in a row and then BAM i'll have a disastrous batch. here's is a caramel primer from kenzi wilbur. i hope it helps! https://food52.com/blog...

Epietzsch

4 months ago borntobeworn

This looks like awesome instruction :) Thanks! What I did in the mean time is to whip up a big batch of what we called "hard sauce" that we put on blackberry cobbler in the summer: 2c brown sugar, 4 Tbs butter, 1c water. I poured that syrup into the custard before putting it in the ice cream maker. Not matter what, it's going to be good :)

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5 months ago LakeladyP

Some of these people should not be allowed near a kitchen, based on their questions!

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5 months ago bookjunky

Yep! :-)

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5 months ago Audrey

Phyllis,
This was my first experience with caramel. I removed the hot melted caramel-colored sugar from the stove and added the cream, and the reaction I got was instantly hardened glassy caramel! I put it back on the stove and it melted fine. I drizzled this liquid into my egg mixture using the whisk on my stand mixer, pouring in a stream the size I use to keep my pipes from freezing, and never got any lumps that needed straining. Cooked that to custard, which took at least 10 minutes. It's cooling in the refrigerator now and already tastes delicious!

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5 months ago caryl

Phyllis, can you really tell me you didn't realize that Marjorie meant Ice Cream Maker when she wrote Ice Maker. For that reason alone, I can't trust your recipe plus you never answered her question which I found confusing as well. For those of us who make ice cream, it seems the ice bath is an unnecessary step when one has an Ice Cream Maker. Therefore, it would have been helpful if you clarified this as I believe Marjorie was also asking confused about this in your directions.

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

I even googled "ice maker" because I thought it might be something I didn't know about. i'm always excited to learn about something new. as for skipping steps, you want to cool the custard right away in an ice bath so that it doesn't continue to cook. and you don't want to pour hot custard into the ice cream maker because it will never firm up. hope that's helps!

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5 months ago Leslie Remer

I don't understand when to put it in the ice cream maker. Is that when you say "freeze according to manufactures directions"?

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

yes! i clarified in the recipe. thanks for the question!

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5 months ago eatlikeachef

I'm thinking this ice cream in between the blondies recipe posted here a few days ago = most amazing ice cream sandwich! Thanks!

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

yes yes yes yum

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5 months ago Marjorie Gelin Goodwin

Is there a way to modify the recipe to use it with an ice maker? I already have one by Cuisinart. I'm wondering if it allows me to consolidate a step or two in the recipe.

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

i've never used a ice maker. what is it? i can't think of any ways to consolidate this particular recipe. i'm so sorry.

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5 months ago Marjorie Gelin Goodwin

Oops. I meant to say ice CREAM maker not ice maker.

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

i have a cuisinart ice cream maker as well. it works great!

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5 months ago Jim

Memorial Day Weekend AND it's supposed to be hot here. Can't wait to make this - thanks Phyllis!

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5 months ago ravenskylark

Video please!!!

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

nice idea!

Junechamp

5 months ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

There's something missing from the first step in your very detailed recipe. WHAT water bath? You say prep THE water bath. But you haven't mentioned any water bath before. How and where do you mean it to be prepped, and for what? I'm looking forward to making this recipe this weekend, but since you're insistent upon the need to have everything clear, I'd love it if you could clarify this one. And thanks in advance.

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

in step 3, placing the medium bowl inside the larger bowl is the prep for the water bath. you add the water in step 8. but i'll see if i can make the instructions clearer. thanks!

Lobster_001

5 months ago nannydeb

Perfect for this weekend, thanks!

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5 months ago Phyllis Grant

you're welcome!