Caramel Ice Cream

May 21, 2014

When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: Ice cream is sacred. Start churning this one now -- and don't stop until summer is over.  

Caramel Ice Cream from Food52

Shop the Story

It would be super messed up to place an ice cream cone in a child's hand and then tell him not to lick it. Especially right before dinner, in the bright early evening sun, when he's thirsty and hungry. 

Sit down. Turn to the left. Don’t move your arm. 

Because ice cream is like gold to a child.

Now extend your arm out straight.

It can be a reward, a treasure, a home base.

Stand up. Look straight ahead.

A beginning, an end, a surprise. 

Nope. Need the back light. Turn back this way.

It can announce the beginning of summer. The end of a baseball game. A penance paid by parents. 

Dude. Your arm is bouncing all over the place. 

It can be a naughty, sneaky freezer adventure.

Great. That’s it. Got it. Just a few more.

Ice cream is sacred. 

Caramel Ice Cream from Food52

Watch out. You're tipping the cone.

But when it comes to photos, ice cream cones look so lonely by themselves.

Can you be still?

And no one wants to see a photo a 44-year-old mama eating an ice cream cone. 

Let me just touch up the scoop. 

People want a rosy-cheeked, shirtless kid.

Don’t lick the drips. They’re so beautiful.

Caramel Ice Cream from Food52

They want an image that brings back their own childhood.

Smile. Almost done.

I lock focus on a drip as it rolls up and over the rim of the cone. Through the camera's viewfinder, I see his sun-flushed cheeks.

Are you hot?

I watch his brow shifting into a deep furrow.

Are you okay?

I put down the camera. 

Have a big lick now. And then you can have an enormous cone after your dinner.

I swear I will never do this again.  


Caramel Ice Cream

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

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Phyllis Grant

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anders Appelgren
    Anders Appelgren
  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • Liz B. @ UMAMI LIFE
    Liz B. @ UMAMI LIFE
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.


Anders A. August 29, 2014
Why the water?
Melina H. May 22, 2014
love it…. and what happened to dash's wrist?
Liz B. May 21, 2014
This looks too good. Like seriously. If I made this I'd have to hoover the whole thing in one sitting. Such is the power of caramel! Nicely done! - a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired.
Marian B. May 21, 2014
Naughty, sneaky freezer adventures are my favorite kind!