Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I love having a blog! It means you get to eat ice cream at 10:00 in the morning!
— Becky

We're serious about ice cream in this house. We often have 4, 5, or 6 open pints of ice cream in our freezer - home churned and locally made (we like them and them). Some may call it an addiction, but we just chalk it up to market research. Besides, who doesn't love ice cream? I had always (wrongly) believed that ice cream making is something too difficult or too time consuming to make at home; it was one of those things that I always bought at the grocery store without a thought of trying to make it myself. Then Noah introduced me to his ice cream maker - a simple turquoise blue machine that only has one button: on and off. We started with coconut milk ice cream (why?) and then graduated to the real deal with each batch turing out better and better. Salted caramel has been the ice cream fad for the past year or so and we spent many hours in the kitchen trying to perfect our own version, testing each batch against the last. Finally, I think we perfected it. It has just the right balance of saltiness to sweetness and the caramel flavor is strong, but not overpowering. If' you've never tried to make ice cream I recommend you go out right now out and buy an ice cream machine. You'll thank me later.      

// Salted Carmel Ice Cream // Makes ~ 2 pints
Too salty, too caramely, too thick, too thin... So far, this recipe has been the hardest for us to perfect. We made the first batches using non-homogenized milk, which left a lingering film in our mouths due to the separation of the fat. Substituting homogenized (but still organic) milk fixed that problem. The other ingredient we battled was the salt. We found that a little goes a long way.  The difference between 1 1/2 and 2 teaspoons was the difference between just right and way too salty.  So, don't think it doesn't sound like too much; trust us, it is. We used salted butter too, which you can replace with unsalted if you are sensitive to salty things. 

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (salted if you really like salt)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Ice Cream:
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk (homogenized)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks

1. Heat the sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. It will take a few minutes for the sugar to start to melt

2. Once the sugar is melted into a syrupy liquid, add the salt and butter. Stir until incorporated and then add the heavy cream, stirring continuously. The mixture will seize up a bit and bubble frantically, but will eventually die down

3. Continue to cook the caramel over low heat for another 10-15 minutes until slightly reduced and the color resembles what you think of when you imagine caramels. Turn the heat off and start on ice cream

4. For the ice cream, combine the heavy cream, whole milk, and vanilla in a large a measuring cup or bowl with a lip/spout

5. Set up a double boiler and turn heat up to medium. If you don't know what that means, read about it here

6. Once the water in the double boiler is at a low boil, add the egg yolks to the top saucepan and whisk until runny. Cook the egg yolks until they start to gel slightly, but don't make scrambled eggs. The best way I can describe it is that the yolks turn a darker golden yellow and become a little firmer

7. When the yolks start gelling, add the cream mixture slowly. You want to add about 1/2 a cup at a time in the beginning, whisking continously and letting the milk warm up before adding more. It should take about 7-8 minutes to add all of the cream mixture

8. Once the cream is incorporated, whisk in the caramel, making sure you scrape the pot to get every last bit! If your caramel has cooled too much and turned into a hard, sticky mess, simply heat it up again

9. Transfer the mixture to the fridge or an ice bath and cool completely. Then pour into an ice cream maker and make ice cream :)