Make Ahead

Malted Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

August 24, 2012
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

We have gotten totally spoiled by living near a bunch of really good ice cream shops with all sorts of great flavors. A favorite of mine is malted ice cream -- in ice cream form, not in shake/frappe form. It may not be terribly sophisticated, but I adore malt (and malted milk balls), probably because we had a malt shop in town that made insanely thick malts -- complete with whipped cream, a wafer, and a cherry on top -- when I was growing up, and it was where we went for treats on warm summer evenings. Anyhow, back to the present. Earlier in the summer, our neighborhood ice cream shop (a.k.a. our after-dinner destination almost every day) had both malted vanilla and a chocolate ice cream with pretzel pieces. I had a scoop of each together, but what I really wanted was to have them combined into one flavor (plus the pretzel bits weren't coated in anything to keep them from getting soggy, and something definitely needed to be done about that!). So, ta-da! This is basically a malted version of Cook's Illustrated's vanilla ice cream with homemade chocolate covered pretzel nubbins swirled in. I usually don't use corn syrup in anything, but I've got to say, it does a nice job of keeping the ice cream from freezing too hard. —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Fiveandspice is a grad student, writer, cook, photographer, and a Food52 contributor living in Duluth, Minnesota.
WHAT: Your new favorite ice cream flavor.
HOW: Make a malted vanilla ice cream base, fold in homemade dark-chocolate covered pretzels, and freeze. Eat by the pint.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This ice cream has its ratios down perfectly: the base is rich, creamy, custardy, the pretzels salty and bitter-sweet, the ideal mixture of the two on every spoonful. And believe us: we tried many, many spoonfuls.

  • Makes a bit over 1 quart
  • Chocolate-covered pretzel bits
  • 3/4 cup salted pretzel sticks, broken into little bits (you know, the size you would want sprinkled through your ice cream)
  • 8 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • Malted vanilla ice cream
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup malt powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate-covered pretzel bits
In This Recipe
  1. Chocolate-covered pretzel bits
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Gently melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir in the butter until the mixture is smooth and the butter has completely disappeared.
  3. Drop the pretzel bits into the chocolate and stir until all the pretzel pieces are coated. Then, using a fork, lift the pretzel bits out of the chocolate several at a time and push them onto the lined baking sheet, trying to make sure the individual pieces are separated from each other, for the most part. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until the chocolate has hardened. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  1. Malted vanilla ice cream
  2. Combine the cream, milk, 1/4 cup of sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to a bare simmer, then turn the heat down. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, malt powder, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
  3. When the cream mixture is hot, whisk a ladleful of the hot cream into the egg yolks (whisk vigorously!) to temper them. Repeat with one or two more ladlefuls. Then, pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the cream mixture.
  4. Cook the custard mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it has thickened to a custard texture and coats the back of a spoon (it will be around 180 F). Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a large metal bowl, then stir in the vanilla.
  5. You can chill your custard over an ice bath, but I have hated ice baths ever since organic chemistry (I don't like bain-maries much either for the same reason). I just stick mine, covered, into the fridge and leave it overnight or until it is completely chilled.
  6. Transfer your custard to your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions until it reaches the consistency of soft serve, adding the pretzel bits in the last minute or so of churning.
  7. Eat immediately (mmmm, soft serve), or transfer to an airtight container and chill for a couple hours until firm.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebecca Cherry
    Rebecca Cherry
  • PRST
  • vvvanessa
  • lorigoldsby
  • drbabs
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.