Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jeni's salty caramel ice cream

Anybody else out there think that ice cream is good year-round? I am the first member of the year-round ice cream fan club because it was 32 degrees (F) outside when I made this ice cream. And that was without the wind chill.

I had seen containers of Jeni's ice cream in some local grocery stores selling for $12 each and thought, "Holy moly, that is some expensive ice cream!" So of course I went home and looked for some copycat recipes (for a fraction of the cost) that I could try at home. This one, the salty caramel flavor, stood out to me so I tried making it first.

And holy moly, was this ice cream good! The flecks of sea salt were nicely interspersed throughout the rich, creamy and soft ice cream. It tasted like a batch of melted salted caramel in your mouth. I was so impressed with this ice cream that I promptly set out to make another kind the following week (blog post coming soon). And better yet, Jeni's ice cream recipe did not require any egg yolks. That meant that I didn't have to find another use for egg whites - score!

If I am ever in Ohio (a state I have yet to visit), I will be sure to take a stop to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams to try some more flavors. In the meantime, this version will do - and it's a dang good one!

Jeni's salty caramel ice cream
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
Before you get started, make sure you read all the instructions carefully and have all your ingredients and mixes prepped. You will not want to be fiddling with measurements while the caramel is going.

First, mix 2 Tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set this aside. Reserve the remaining milk and keep it separate.

In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese with the sea salt until well combined. Set aside.

In a measuring bowl with a spout, mix together the heavy cream and corn syrup. Set a fine mesh sieve above it and set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan (preferably one with a light colored bottom), add the sugar. Turn the stove to medium-high or high until the sugar begins to melt. DO NOT TOUCH IT. The sugar will become liquidy around the edges and turn brownish in color. Once this happens, take a heatproof spatula, and start pushing the liquid toward the center while allowing the (unmelted) sugar to melt. Keep pushing until all the sugar has melted and turns into a deep amber color.

Take the sugar off the stove and very carefully pour in about 1/4 of the heavy cream mixture. The contents will bubble and spit vigorously, but keep stirring. Slowly add the remaining heavy cream mixture, put the saucepan back on the stove and keep mixing until the caramel has completely melted back into the liquid.

Once all the caramel has melted again, add the milk. Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 4 minutes.

Take the saucepan off the stove and add the cornstarch/milk slurry. Mix until everything is well incorporated and put the pan back on the stove. Allow the mixture to come back to a boil and until the liquid becomes slightly thicker, about 1 minute.

Turn off the stove and pour the liquid through the sieve into the large bowl with the cream cheese/salt. Add the vanilla and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.

At this point, you have two options. You can either set the ice cream over an ice bath (pour the contents into a large zip-top bag, seal it shut and place it over a large bowl with ice cubes), or put it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Once the mixture is completely cool, churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Pour the ice cream into a container and set it in the freezer until it has hardened (at least 4 hours).

Yield: About 1 quart

Source: the bitten word

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