Thursday, May 13, 2010

Frozen salty caramel

My mom has been telling me for YEARS how adding a bit of salt to MOST things (desserts and breads included) vastly increases the flavor. And as usual...she's right. I'll look at notes I've written to myself on various recipes. "This one has great flavor"; "this one has perfect texture but is a bit bland". And sure enough, when I compare the recipes, it's salt (and not vanilla which most people assume it needs) that has an increased amount. I can't tell you the number of times Mom has bitten into a piece of bread and said "oooh this needs more salt". And just the other morning, told me my Dutch Baby pancakes needed a bit more salt. I KNEW they needed something! Thanks Mom...

If you are to ever take my word on something which is TO DIE FOR - this is it

Now we all know that while this isn't great for our blood pressure, it's FABULOUS for our tastebuds! Over the last few years SALT has really become trendy! All of a sudden salt is sprinkled on top of butter at high end restaurants, scattered across chocolates at the truffle counter and I'm being asked at my cousin's fancy Easter brunch whether I want gray salt or kosher with my meal! Salt has gone viral! Why else do you think bacon is showing up in desserts? It's not for the meat flavor... it's for the SALT!

Now THAT is a beautiful caramel

It seizes when you add the cream, but as you heat it and stir it it melts back

My family has a caramel recipe that is just ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean tremendously delicious in every sense of the definition. But there's no salt in the recipe. I've recently started making them and sprinkling the tops with Kosher salt as I wrap them. And now, if something that was previously ridiculous could be even more so? is!

Sugar, butter, cream, milk, salt? Yes please.

Salted Caramel is definitely the newest trendy flavor in the dessert world. EVERYTHING is salted caramel these days. Caramel without salt? Does anyone even WANT that?

Pour through a sieve into a waiting bowl of chilled milk

Everyone in the Bay Area talks about the salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite. Believe it or not, I've never been. But I'd heard about it enough to decide that I was going to just make my own. I mean, I make ice cream. I make salted caramel. It couldn't be too hard to make salted caramel ice cream...

Nothing some stirring won't immediately fix

I have Mr. Lebovitz's ice cream book. I scanned it and found nothing. So I did a web search. And guess what came back? Mr. Lebovitz. Again. He must be the master!

I have to be honest here... I actually made 2 batches of this ice cream. I don't know what I was thinking when I made my first batch. I've worked with cooked sugar MANY times before. I know how quickly it can burn. And yet... I still burned it. And not only that - continued on adding the milk and cream and what-not without even realizing I'd burned it. Until I sampled the finished custard. #^@%$!@$^&* Suddenly new names were rushing through my head: "Burnt caramel ice cream", "Burnt sugar ice cream". I even let the custard sit in my fridge for a couple days thinking I might actually churn it. But then I let it go and I waved to it as it went down my garbage disposal... *sigh*

I ♥ my ice cream attachment!

Churn baby, churn!

The second, SUCCESSFUL time, I made sure to take the sugar off the very low heat before it had even all melted. WAAAAY better. And not just better. UNBELIEVABLE. I couldn't be-LIEVE how good it tasted. It was so good, it was devastating. I kid you not.

It didn't stick around very long

Want some? SORRY! All mine!

In the interest of time, I didn't put in the caramel praline, but I certainly will in a future making! The one thing I couldn't figure out - and perhaps someone out there can give me a hint? I could never get the ice cream to freeze very hard. I took the temperature of my freezer and it was a cool 0°. The ice cream froze but it was almost a soft serve by the time it was in the bowl ready to eat. Didn't affect the flavor tho. Mmmmmmm.

A recent tweet?: "making salted butter caramel ice cream. And dying. And going to heaven.
Cuz I just sampled a little of the custard before putting it into the machine..."

I guess it's possible I'll never actually visit Bi-Rite now. Why would I need to when I can make this magnificence at home?


  1. so for sure, i'm drooling over the ice cream, but i'm STARING at your spoon... the foodie in me is screaming, "LOOK! the spoon has a scalloped edge to better dig into hard ice cream!", and to avoid sounding like a dunce, i even tried lookin' this sucker up. alas, you'll have to enlighten me --- what's with the spoon edge?

  2. LMAO! of course now that i look closer, it's just the friggin' design on the spoon and not some deep-ass attempt for a higher culinary experience! such a dork...

  3. I LOVE SALTED CARAMEL!! salted chocolate too, which seems to have become popular in japan :)

  4. Who doesn't love salt and sweet! I think our taste buds are programmed for the stuff! LOL This looks so yummy! I didn't know that kitchen aid had that kind of an it only the professional model that does? I've got to break out our ice cream maker now!

  5. Hi Dawn,
    The recipe is linked from the word "Mr. Lebovitz". Somewhere around the middle of the post. :)

  6. Thanks! I actually just got his ice cream book last week, so I'll have to check to see if this flavor is in there. YUM. :)

  7. You've convinced me. I just finish making the Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. But let me tell you, you have not really tried the Salted Carmel ice cream if you didn't add the pralines in it. It tasted like Dulce de Leche. Don't get me wrong I love caramel ice cream, but I was expecting Salted Caramel ice cream. I still think you should try Bi-Rite's version. But then again, we didn't use the same caramel recipe. Let me know when you leak out The [blank] Family's Ridiculous Caramel recipe! I'd love to give that a try. :D

  8. I just tried this one and it is so divine! I like how it tastes!

  9. ice cream wont freeze solid because of its sugar/alcohol content. only the water part freezes... so it stays creamy you churn and dose it with sugar.