Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ICOTW: Salty Caramel Ice Cream

The summer, like my ice cream project, is winding down.  We went from needing the AC at night to keep out the humidity to almost needing blankets the next.  I'm writing this post at 8am while my kid is sleeping and the house is almost chilly with the windows open!  That's crazy because I feel like we were sweating like crazy just days ago and spent almost 4 straight weeks with the AC on.

Fall is definitely starting to creep in, or even Christmas if you have visited any craft stores lately.  I'm all for the changing seasons and I couldn't imagine living in nearly the same temperature year-round but there still a bit of a let down when summer is over.  Thankfully, so thankfully, we don't have to deal with a school schedule yet (you have no idea how much I am dreading that) and our summer can stretch until Labor Day but fall is definitely in the air.

What this all has to do with ice cream, well I am almost done making it for another summer.  I knocked out two this weekend and have my last recipe picked so it is drawing to a close.  We still have 4 homemade varieties in the freezer, which includes the two I just made, so we aren't going to be running out anytime soon.  I know I could keep making ice cream every week all winter but it just seems like a summer thing, you know?  And a little bit of a break will be nice.  Plus, it'll take a few more weeks to eat through what's in the freezer which makes the parting a little easier.

And this ice cream feels like the perfect transition from summer to fall.  It has a slightly smokey taste which just feels fall-like.  No fresh fruit or anything that is obviously "summer".  It is rich and delicious and so smooth.  Probably one of my favorites that I have made and one I would definitely make again!  Since it's been finished it's been my ice cream of choice!

Don't let this, or any other ice cream recipe, intimidate you.  Yes, you have to make a caramel and spend some time stirring over the stove but it really isn't horrible.  Just get a little organized before you start and know it's going to take a tiny bit of time.

Salty Caramel Ice Cream
yield: about 1 quart
-2 cups whole milk
-1 TB + 1 tsp cornstarch
-1½ ounces (3 TB) cream cheese, softened
-½ tsp sea or kosher salt
-1¼ cups heavy cream
-2 TB light corn syrup
-2/3 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract

Measure the milk into a liquid measuring cup.  Pour about 2 TB of that milk into a small bowl and add the cornstarch to the 2 TB.  Mix until you have a smooth slurry.
Whisk together the cream cheese and the salt in a medium size bowl
Stir together the heavy cream and the corn syrup in another liquid measuring cup
Fill a large bowl with ice and water (I honestly do this while waiting for a boil but keep it in mind.)

1) Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the edges are completely melted and a golden amber color.  Use a spatula to stir, continuing to stir until all the sugar has melted and is uniform in color.  You should reach a point where it is the color of an old penny and starting to have little bubbles that explode.  Give it about one more minute after that and then turn off the stove.  Do not leave it alone!

2) Remove from heat and slowly, stirring constantly, add a little of the cream and corn syrup.  Stir until that is fully incorporated and then slowly add the rest of the cream while stirring.

3) Return the pan to medium-high hear and add the milk.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally (this is when I fill my other large bowl with ice).  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch/milk.

4) Return the pan to the a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  (You are done with the stove now!)

5) Slowly add the hot cream/caramel to the cream cheese, whisking until smooth.  Add the vanilla.  Pour this into a gallon ziploc bag set in the bowl of ice.  Seal the bag, submerging as best as you can.  Let sit until chilled, at least 30 minutes.

6) Pour the ice cream into the container of your ice cream maker and churn per it's instructions (mine is about 25-30 minutes).  Store in a airtight container, placing a piece of parchment paper directly on top of the ice cream in the container.  Freeze at least 4 hours, until firm. 

Source: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

In the summer I aim to make a different homemade ice cream each week and report back here, good or bad!  I call it "Ice Cream of the Week".  You can follow the "ICOTW" tag to see them all chronologically or go to my "Recipes" page and scroll down to the "Ice Cream/Frozen Things" section for my favorites!

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