Salted caramel is one of those flavors that people seem to love almost universally. It was the second flavor I ever made, and I can confidently say it is by far the most requested flavor by my friends and co-workers. It’s also a really fun flavor to make. Earlier this summer, I actually had a couple of friends over to teach them how to make salted caramel. You can read about the ice cream lesson and the molten chocolate cake we made to go with it on my friend Hana’s blog, Style Fare. I even rocked the cooking show set up so that we had a batch to taste since the one we made had to chill for so long.
Now, without further ado here are the recipe and step-by-step photos for making salted caramel ice cream. If you make it—let me know how it turns out!
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the custard:
(adapted from the Ciao Bella Plain Base)
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
For the caramel sauce:
- Heat 1 cup of sugar in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. (I actually use my wok, as you’ll see below because it helps prevent splattering.) Stir to sugar evenly.
- Continue to stir until the sugar starts to melt; then cook, stirring occasionally until the melted sugar turns a dark amber color.
- Add 1 1/4 cups cream (be warned, it will splatter); continue to cook, stirring until all the caramel has dissolved.
- Pour caramel into a separate bowl, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
For the base:
(This is a more traditional style custard that involves eggs. You can also mix the caramel sauce with a base that doesn’t require eggs if you prefer.)
- In a medium-size heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Once smooth, gradually whisk in the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Set aside.
- Combine the milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove milk and cream mixture from heat.
- Temper the egg yolks by pouring a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the yolks while whisking rapidly. (This is where it might be helpful to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen.)
- Pour the tempered egg yolks into the milk and cream, and return to the heat. Continue to cook until the custard thickens and the instant read thermometer reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the custard from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. (This will catch any little bits of egg that might have cooked when you tempered the yolks.)
- Let cool 5 minutes. Then mix in the caramel sauce you made earlier.
- Chill in an ice bath or in the refrigerator until completely cool.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.
- Once it’s out of the ice cream maker, store in an air-tight container and freeze for an additional 2 hours.
And now for the step-by-step photos:
Gathering the ingredients for the salted caramel.
I like to use my wok to make the caramel because the sides prevent splattering.
You can see the sugar starting to melt here. Keep stirring so it melts evenly.
As it melts the liquid will start to turn golden.
Here’s what your caramel should look like before adding the cream.
Right after you add the cream, this is what happens. Whisky quickly! (And now you see why I use my wok.)
Here’s what it looks like once the caramel has dissolved into the cream.
Add the sea salt and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Then let it cool to room temperature.
Gather the ingredients for your custard.
Make sure your egg yolks are fully whipped, then whisk in the sugar.
You can make the custard without a thermometer, but I find it helpful since the temperature does rise very quickly.
A ladleful of the hot milk mixture is enough to temper the eggs. Just get ready to whisk as soon as you add in the milk. (Much easier when you’re not also the photographer!)
You can see here how the egg yolks have turned the custard the palest shade of yellow.
You might be tempted to, but don’t skip this step.
That’s why. You don’t want little bits of egg in your ice cream. Nobody likes that.
Now it’s time to mix in the caramel sauce.
The custard is finally ready to chill, and then be put through the ice cream maker.
And here’s how it turned out:
Have you tried salted caramel ice cream? What did you think of it? Will you try making it at home?
I leave it to my co-workers to tell you how that batch turned out. They got to taste it and the strawberry yesterday.