Make Ahead

Malted Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

August 24, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes a bit over 1 quart
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.

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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 what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebecca Cherry
    Rebecca Cherry
  • PRST
  • vvvanessa
  • lorigoldsby
  • drbabs

26 Reviews

Emily March 28, 2021
Look up corn syrup. There is nothing wrong with Karo corn syrup. I am guessing that you folks who think you are so informed really don't know that corn syrup is not the same as high-fructose corn syrup. The syrup acts as an important ingredient to reduce the formation of ice crystals in ice cream.
Emmsf December 20, 2013
I have a quick question - do you mean the malt powder I get from my health food store, or malted milk powder like Ovaltine, carnation etc.? Thanks.
fiveandspice December 20, 2013
I use malted milk powder.
Rebecca C. December 20, 2013
I did see that Whole Foods carries NOW brand malted milk powder for $8.99/lb whereas any equivalent of Safeway has Carnation for like $4. i looked at the Ovaltine label and its got some junk in it that Carnation doesn't.
Emmsf December 20, 2013
Yes, it probably means malted milk powder. But there's a big difference between malted milk powder and plain malt. It's probably tasty with either one, just different.
Rebecca C. December 3, 2013
I haven't made it, yet, (funny how its been on my list for a month or three), but there is no place for corn syrup in David Lebovitz's version of Malted Milk Ice Cream. He usually does a bang up job with homemade ice cream staying reasonable scoopable. Cook's Illustrated loves adding "secret ingredients" like corn syrup or vodka. You could see what happens without it.
fiveandspice December 20, 2013
It's true. I think I will try it with a corn syrup substitute one of these days.
Rebecca C. December 20, 2013
I got to it and made David Lebovitz's version of malted milk ice cream: cream, half and half, salt, malted milk powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and chocolate covered malt balls. AMAZING! i say, take the chance...go corn syrup free for ice cream! Also, on his website he has a helpful write-up on essential uses for corn syrup.
Hilbert M. August 5, 2014
I made the David Lebovitz version, omitted the pinch of salt, and added chocolate covered pretzels instead of malted milk balls. Very, very good! Creamy and scoopable directly from 0┬║ F. I only needed about 2 oz. of chocolate to cover the pretzels, though.
Kathryn M. June 10, 2018
Hey Hilber,
Glad you said 2 oz of chocolate would suffice. In that case, you can just cut the butter down to 3/4 teaspoon.
And for all who want to make the equivalent of light corn syrup, or even dark corn syrup, here are the simple formulae and instructions.
Kathryn M. June 10, 2018
Oh, and I checked out David Lebovitz's corn syrup-less malted milk ice cream. It also looks wonderful. Might have to compare the Lebovitz custard creating technique versus this one, and get back here!
rochelle123 September 8, 2013
This ice cream was delicious!!The consistency was creamy and smooth! Loved it!
PRST August 20, 2013
This just ruined my diet!!!
fiveandspice August 20, 2013
Hehe, sorry! :)
vvvanessa August 12, 2013
I want this very very much. Very.
fiveandspice August 13, 2013
Thanks vanessa! I could go for a bowl of it myself right now! :)
lorigoldsby June 10, 2013
You had me at "malted"...can't wait to try this.
fiveandspice June 10, 2013
Thanks lori!
drbabs June 3, 2013
You had me at chocolate covered pretzels.
fiveandspice June 4, 2013
Thanks DrB! Chocolate covered pretzels are totally one of my 'resistance is futile' foods.
Summer O. August 27, 2012
3 of my favorite things, or is it 2? Sounds great!
fiveandspice August 29, 2012
I'd say 3! Maybe 4 if you get to count ice cream too. ;)
Madhuja August 24, 2012
I grew up having malt shakes too and I LOVE it!! This is such a great combination of flavors! Which brand of malt powder did you use?
fiveandspice August 24, 2012
Carnation. I can practically eat the stuff. It's a problem.
Sadassa_Ulna August 24, 2012
I love malt flavor and choc-cov pretzels are delicious - great combo!
fiveandspice August 24, 2012
Thank you Sadassa Ulna!