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Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream | www.tasteandtellblog.com

Yes – this is supposed to be ice cream. But this particular ice cream is proving to be my nemesis.

When I saw this recipe in Barefoot Contessa Parties!, I knew it was getting bookmarked. Caramel ice cream with chocolate and nuts? Count me in!! So I had everything bought, and set out to make it a few weeks ago.

Melting sugar and I have a love/hate relationship. I’ve had times where it has worked well for me, but most of the time, it is one of those kitchen techniques that I struggle with. This first time was no exception. I set the water and sugar in a pan to cook, not stirring, but it wouldn’t melt evenly. I had the heat on very low, so it took some time. At one point, I thought it was going along well, but when I turned up the heat to bring it to a boil, it’s like all of the water boiled out and all of my sugar crystallized. So that night, it just didn’t work for me.

I tried again last week before I left on vacation. It seemed to be working better the second time, but then the same thing happened, where my sugar started to look crystallized. I decided it was now or never, so I started to break up the chunks and I hoped for the best. After a bit of time, it all started to melt together, but I was afraid it was going to get too caramelized and taste burnt – but I couldn’t stop because there were still a few chunks of sugar in the mixture. I just stirred furiously, and eventually the chunks melted in and it was saved!!

The cream step worked out, and into the fridge it went to chill overnight.

The next step was toasting the pecans. Not a difficult thing – something I have done many times before. But I got distracted, and ended up over toasting them. My husband still thought they tasted good, although I thought they were a bit burnt, but he convinced me to add them anyway.

The next day, it all went into the ice cream maker. I had a few hours before we had to be to an appointment, so I thought I had plenty of time. But here’s the thing – our freezer is pretty tiny. And usually very full. I’ve tried keeping the ice cream maker in the freezer at all times, but I usually end up taking it out to make room for things that have to be frozen. I remembered to put it back into the freezer the day before I froze the ice cream, but I don’t think that was enough time. My ice cream never quite set up. I left it in the ice cream maker for a good hour and a half before transferring it to the freezer because I had to leave, but what I ended up with was more like soft serve instead of regular ice cream.

All problems aside, this really was a delicious ice cream. I loved the caramel flavor of the ice cream, and even though the pecans were over-toasted for my taste, the combination of flavors was wonderful. It’s a very rich ice cream, so one scoop was all I needed to be satisfied. I am going to make this again – especially to prove to myself that I can do it and do it right!!

Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Makes 1 quart

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup pecan halves (5 ounces)
3 to 3 1/2 ounces chocolate, diced (she suggests using Lindt Lindor Truffles, which I used – they worked great)

Place 4 cup water and sugar in a large, heavy- bottomed saucepan, and cook over low heat, without stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil until the sugar turns a warm mahogany or caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir, but swirl the pan occasionally so the caramel cooks evenly.

Remove the caramel from heat and carefully pour in the cream. The caramel is very hot, and the mixture will bubble up violently, then solidify. Don’t worry. Return it to low heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the caramel dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla. Pour into a container and refrigerate until very cold.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp. Cool, chop, mix with the diced chocolate, and store in the freezer until ready to use.

Freeze the caramel mixture in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it is frozen, add the cold chopped pecans and chocolate and mix in completely. Transfer to quart containers and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

See who did it right!!

Recipe Girl
The Amateur Gourmet


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22 Responses to Cookbook of the Month Recipe – Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream

  1. kamailesfood says:

    Mmmm…homemade ice cream. I have a hard time with the melting sugar thing also. I blame it on my electric burner. 😛 Oh to have a gas stove again.

  2. edamame says:

    Your site gave the devil in my heart big power. The devil said to me. “Eat this thing which I was sweet, and seemed to be delicious” As a result, I lost a fight with the devil. I was dieting so… (T_T)
    From Japan

  3. Sylvie says:

    Soft or not it sounds amazing!

  4. Veron says:

    Looks delicious!Everything about it sounds spectacular too! don’t worry I have my love/hate relationship with caramel too.

  5. Catherine Wilkinson says:

    what IS it about the sugar thing??? Same thing with me! And the nuts!!! I guess I get too distracted and wander away from the pan when I should be stalking it!
    What a wonderfully decadent recipe and have a great long weekend!

  6. glamah16 says:

    Well it lloks good ro me. Great flavors. Reminder to self, make room in freezer for ice cream maker bowl.

  7. Sophie says:

    Yummy, this sounds like it would even make for a great frosting recipe. 🙂

  8. jb says:

    Lordy, there is definitely an ice cream maker in my future!

  9. Grace says:

    even a less-than-perfect version of this ice cream would elate me. and ultimately make me very, very overweight. 🙂

    seriously, that store-bought junk can’t hold a candle to this deliciousness.

  10. Emiline says:

    Ohh, yes. Man I want this!

  11. Mary says:

    If you don’t want to eat it as soft serve you could send it to me! 🙂 Seriouely that ice cream looks and sounds fantastic. And yeah, my DB challenge this month is annoying me by taking up my garage freezer (the freezer compartment on top of my husband’s “beer fridge”).

  12. KJ says:

    Goodness, it’s as if I was writing this post. I have through exactly the same thing experience in trying to make caramel. I have no idea why it sometimes crystallizes back into sugar.

    And I always forget things when they are toasting – nuts, croutons, coconut, bread. you name it, I’ve burnt it to a crisp.

  13. Dana McCauley says:

    I usually keep a cup of water and a pastry brush next to the stove when I’m making caramel. I find that if I lightly brush down the sides of the pan while the sugar boils that i have no/little trouble with crystal formation.

  14. Kevin says:

    That ice cream sounds really good. I kind of like my ice cream on the slightly melted side so I think that would be just right.

  15. noble pig says:

    Yum! What a perfect treat!

  16. Vicarious Foodie says:

    I don’t care what you say–this looks perfect to me! It sounds awesome too. I’ve never made or even had homemade ice-cream before–I’m very intrigued by the whole thing.

  17. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    I had the same thing happen when I made Salted Caramel ice cream. It was just a puddle. A delicious puddle, though.

  18. Rosie says:

    Just adore homemade ice cream and I am craving this!!

    Rosie x

  19. RecipeGirl says:

    Mine was a little softer than the typical ice cream recipes too, but it was all still amazing- I thought. I prefer soft-serve ice cream anyways so it worked for me. The big giant chunk of sugar to melt into the cream was the strange part.

  20. Sara says:

    I have recently attempted making ice cream and have also run into the “soft serve” stage, even after extensive mixing in the ice cream maker. I have found that the ice cream will *eventually* set up is stored in the freezer for a day or so after mixing. Of course, that reuires a lot of will power to not devour most of it when it first comes out of the machine.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had pretty good luck with the melting sugar thing, but also have read to add 1 tsp of clear Karo syrup to melting sugar — that is supposed to keep it from forming crystals – something about the molecular structure of Karo being different form the modecular structure of sugar … mind you, I’ve just read this, never tried it. The suggestion someone else made about brushing the inside of the pan with ice water while the sugar is melting has also worked for me. KJL

  22. Karina says:

    I have an idea about the sugar thing, and I apologize in advance if you've already figured it out.

    Try using CANE sugar, real cane sugar, not the kind made from beets.

    I always used C&H "pure cane sugar" in California, then when I moved to Maine, it turned out the sugar I used was beet sugar. My Christmas fudge recipes never turned out right; it was always chunky and crusty.

    In New England, DOMINO is the only brand that I know which is real cane sugar; in California and the west coast, use C&H.

    The same problem exists with brown sugar. It turns out that you can't make brown sugar with beets; when you boil down beet sugar to make the molasses (which is what the brown sugar comes from), it seems the molasses is toxic to humans–they actually feed it to pigs, I think.

    So to make brown sugar, they use "real" brown sugar molasses from cane sugar, and "paint" regular sugar with it. If you look at a bag of brown sugar, read the ingredients; if it says sugar and molasses, you've got beet sugar, and it won't perform the same as real brown sugar.

    You can also tell by looking at the bag; the brown comes off the white, and you get white sugar speckles in the brown.

    Anyway, try using cane sugar. I haven't made that fudge in years because I thought it was "just me", but it turns out I'm not the only one who's had this experience.

    There are a lot of people who would insist that there is NO difference between the two; however, this article says there is: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/03/31/FD91867.DTL

    Beyond that, you can google "beet sugar vs. cane sugar" and find some very interesting reading, including a conversation started by an Aussie about cane vs. beet…I found it fascinating reading: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/harvest/msg010052029332.html

    Good luck and best wishes! I hope to try some of your recipes soon!

    Karina Chapman
    Maine…er, I mean, California… (sigh)

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