Make Ahead

Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream

Photo by Adventurous Ice Creams
Author Notes

Usually I only buy cream when I’m planning to make a specific recipe. One Saturday morning, however, I bought a pint of cream for no reason. I thought, Hey, if I have a sudden craving for ice cream, I’ll be able to make it right away.
The "Field of Dreams" approach worked. I experienced an ice cream miracle two days later while mulling over the snacks in the vending area at work. My eyes landed on a pack of microwave popcorn. In a flash of insight, I knew what I’d be doing after work. I bought the popcorn. Within twenty-four hours, I was sprawled on the couch watching "Game of Thrones," downing creamy and salty ice cream.
This flavor is definitely not organic or all natural. If those things are important to you, skip this recipe. Don’t read any more! You’ll be shocked and appalled. —Adventurous Ice Creams

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 24 hours
  • Makes 1 quart
Ingredients
  • 6 cups unflavored popped popcorn (from 1/4 cup kernels)
  • 1/3 plus 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet microwave popcorn, movie theater butter flavor
  • 1 tablespoon butter
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Pour 1/3 cup water in a blender. Set another 1/2 cup of water nearby.
  2. Add 3 cups of popcorn to the water in the blender. Puree. When necessary to help the blender along, add water from the 1/2 cup, a dribble at a time. I’m strangely amused by the way the popcorn shrinks into itself during this step.
  3. Add the remaining 3 cups of popcorn to the puree. Blend until the whole batch is as smooth as possible. If you need to add a few extra tablespoons of water, go ahead, but don’t add too much. The puree should be gooey and thick, and it will never get totally smooth. Don’t worry about small chunks—they’ll be strained out later. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of popcorn sludge.
  4. Scoop the sludge into a saucepan. Add the cream, milk, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
  5. As the mixture heats, open the unpopped bag of microwave popcorn. Scrape its entire contents into the cream mixture—the unpopped kernels and the bizarrely yellow oily substance.
  6. Continue heating, whisking occasionally, until all ingredients incorporate together. Just before the mixture boils, remove from heat.
  7. Off heat, mix in the butter until it melts. Strain the mixture into a medium bowl.
  8. Cover and chill at least two hours, preferably longer (up to twenty-four hours).
  9. When the mixture is fully chilled, there will be an orange waxy skin of unincorporated oily substance sitting on top. Do not be alarmed. Skim off the skin and discard.
  10. Churn according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. Pack into a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least four hours.

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