It used to be that pistachio ice cream held a special place in my heart. No more. I’ve abandoned the flavor altogether for the joy that is SALTED CARAMEL, specifically Ample Hill’s Salted Crack Caramel Ice Cream. You can’t even know the joy I experience after every. single. bite. of this delicious dessert. From the butterscotch browned butter base flavor to the crunchy sweetness of the crack cookies, I found myself eating what I shot FOR DINNER. No apologies, no regrets. Isn’t it great to be an adult?!
INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Ample Hills Creamery
For the salted caramel ice cream
1 ½ cups (300 g) organic cane sugar
¼ cup (60 g) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
6 egg yolks
For Deb’s crack cookies
Butter for the baking sheet
45 saltine crackers
¾ cup (180 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 g) organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces (280 g) milk chocolate, chopped
For the salted caramel ice cream: Prepare an ice bath in the sink or in a large heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula as it melts. When it has melted completely and drips smoothly off the spatula (with no discernible sugar granules), remove the spatula and continue to cook the sugar without stirring. Watch the pan closely—the caramel will turn darker in color. Watch for smoke to rise off the top. When the caramel starts to smoke, count to ten and remove the pan from the heat.
Using an oven mitt, carefully add the butter to the pan. It might spatter when it hits the hot caramel, so be careful.
Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and combined. Add the salt. Slowly pour in the cream—it will bubble up, but you must continue to stir it as you pour, so the cream incorporates smoothly into the caramel. Be careful! Add the milk and stir to combine.
Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan and return the pan to the heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning, until the mixture reaches 110 F (45 C), 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the egg-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.
Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking the mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 165 F (75 C), 5 to 10 minutes more.
Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the ice cream base through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely cool.
For Deb’s crack cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Butter a 12-by-18-inch baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Spread the crackers out in even rows in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over medium- high heat, whisking occasionally to combine. When the butter and sugar start to bubble up, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
Gently pour the butter mixture over the crackers and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sugar has caramelized, turning light brown in color.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate over the crackers. Wait a few moments for the chocolate to begin to melt, then use a spatula to gently spread the chocolate over the crackers in an even layer.
Let the crack cookies cool. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then chop the cookies into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Transfer the cooled base to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer the ice cream to a storage container, folding in the crack cookie pieces as you do. Use as many of the cookie pieces as you want; you won’t necessarily need the whole batch. Serve immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a more scoopable ice cream.