Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Rich, buttery and salty caramel ice cream with little bits of praline sprinkled throughout.
Oh, the goodness that is salted caramel… anything. From salted caramel sauce, frosting, cupcakes, brownies, caramel apples, ice cream. It seems that whatever salted caramel touches in the kitchen turns to gold. There’s something about that smooth, buttery, sweet, salty and almost nutty flavor that transforms just about anything into the best version of itself.
I have had salted caramel ice cream on my to-make list for quite some time, and after spending my vacation eating ice cream almost every single day, I definitely had the ice cream-making bug once I got back. I took a quick poll on Facebook to see what types of flavors readers might be interested in seeing, and I was pleased to see so many were thinking along the salted caramel line as well. To the kitchen I went!
I even splurged on fancy European butter for this occasion!
I concluded that since it’s David Lebovitz’ recipe and he fashioned it after ice cream he’s had in Paris, that it was appropriate :)
I was tempted to stop the ice cream process after the caramel sauce was made and just eat it by the spoonful. Holy wow. And I won’t lie – I did steal more than a few tastes. But the sacrifice for the good of the salted caramel ice cream was definitely worth it.
If you’re a caramel fan, you’ll want to stash this away and not share it with anyone. Such a deep, creamy and perfectly balanced sweet and salty flavor with tiny bits of praline that turn gooey and perfect.
I do believe this ice cream deserves a partner in crime. I’m thinking brownies would be a perfect pairing!
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
For the Caramel Praline Mix-In:
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) flaked sea salt, such as fleur de sel
For the Ice Cream:
- 2 cups (460 ml) whole milk, divided
- 1½ cups (298 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (57 g) salted butter
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) flaked sea salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 5 egg yolks
- ¾ teaspoon (0.75 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 1. Make the Caramel Praline Mix-In: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- 2. Place the sugar in an even layer in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat until the edges begin to melt. Gently stir with a heatproof spatula from the bottom and edges towards the center until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel begins to smoke and emits a nutty, almost-burnt smell, a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 3. Immediately sprinkle with the flaked salt (do not stir), then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet, tilting and swirling it to form an extremely thin layer. Set aside to harden and cool.
- 4. Make the Ice Cream Custard: Fill a large bowl one-third full with ice cubes and add a cup of water. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts) over the ice, pour 1 cup of the milk into the bowl, and rest a fine-mesh strainer on top.
- 5. Spread the sugar in a medium saucepan in an even layer. Cook over medium heat until caramelized, using the same method described in Step #2.
- 6. Once the sugar has caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream. If the caramel hardens, return it to the stove and stir over low heat until completely melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of the milk.
- 7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in about ½ cup of the warm caramel mixture. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard over medium heat using a heatproof spatula, stirring and scraping the pan constantly until the mixture thickens and reads 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
- 8. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, and stir in the vanilla. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight
- 9. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into ½-inch pieces. Add the praline pieces during the last minute of churning. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.