I think we all know the wondrous aroma of browned butter. It has long been used in sauces, on pasta, and on vegetables. But in ice cream??? Superb. The complex, nutty aroma in this ice cream takes you to another place on the food-space continuum. For me, caramel and nuts will win out over chocolate every time and the brown butter caramel notes in this ice cream are deep. Add to that some cinnamon sugar toasted pecans and it’s almost too wonderful to speak of.
No, Virginia you don’t absolutely have to have an ice cream maker. But once you make that initial investment you can make ice cream of any flavor, sorbet, frozen yogurt, frozen drinks. If you’re already familiar with making ice cream sans ice cream maker, go for it.
I never thought I would love making ice cream. But when I learned that I could actually make ice cream that is as good as the real premium stuff, I was in. I owe that to my friend Janet who walked past me one day and said “Cuisinart ice cream makers are on sale at The Kitchen Window!” What?? I’m there. Oh Janet, I totally blame you. Kidding. Sort of.
Now. Making ice cream isn’t that hard. You just need to plan a little. Get everything ready a day ahead and then the next day you’re ready to go. Place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer at least 12 hours before use. You will also want to completely chill the mixture before processing. Chill for at least 6 hours and overnight is even better. There’s a science to all this ice cream making. Ice crystals, fat crystals, emulsification, and freezing. Follow the directions and you won’t have to get all involved with the sciencey stuff. And your homemade ice cream will be pure food heaven. No weird stuff which I’m all for, don’t get me wrong. But you don’t need it here.
Cinnamon Sugar Toasted Pecans:
- 1 Cup chopped pecans
- 2 Tbsp butter (this will melt by itself in the oven)
- 1/3 cup cinnamon sugar
Put the above ingredients in a pan and place in 350F oven for 20-25 minutes. Stir a few times during that time. Remove from oven and give one last stir to break them up. Cool. I will admit that this is a lot of pecans for about a quart of ice cream but you can freeze the extras.
Browned Butter Ice Cream (adapted from About.com Desserts/Baking):
- 1/2 cup butter (I used salted – either works)
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan or small skillet. Cook over medium heat until the butter is is good and brown, but watch and stir frequently because it can burn quickly. Brown equals flavor so this step is important. You’ll want a nice dark brown color and it will be on the bottom of the pan.
In a mixer beat egg yolks, brown sugar and salt until fluffy. Slowly add the browned butter while mixing. Just drizzle it in at first and be careful. Hot butter burns. No fun. Meanwhile bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Then slowly whisk the cream mixture into the browned butter mixture until well blended and pour back into the pot. Cook over low heat to a temperature of about 170F.
Stir in the vanilla. Cool and then refrigerate for several hours – overnight is even better. Pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can either stir in the pecans or sprinkle on top. Freeze until firm. Wait for it….oh my.