I have a bit of an obsession with ice cream making. It is relatively simple and quick to prepare, allows you to experiment with flavors that are not commercially available, and it tastes divine. We also recently discovered that our daughter is allergic to peanuts, so in the interest of allowing her to experience the culinary joys that my husband enjoyed during our childhood, I had to build some kitchen creations.
I decided to make an ice cream with candy nubs in it. My particular favorite candies are peanut butter cups. Modifying the ingredients from this recipe by using sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter and coconut oil instead of shortening (just b/c we don’t have shortening in our house), we had a fun family afternoon of candy making. We made small SunButter balls and dipped them into the melted chocolate and oil blend and cooled them in the refrigerator. When we make these again, we will drastically reduce the amount of oil in the chocolate; in the ice cream, the texture is fine, but when the SunButter balls are eaten out of the refrigerator, the chocolate begins to melt very quickly.
We froze about half the candies so that they could be added to the ice cream. Now comes the really fun part, choosing the ice cream flavor to mix with the candy. I was thinking chocolate or vanilla, but my husband wanted a tiny bit more adventure and suggested butterscotch. Never being one to turn down butterscotch or caramel, I accepted his suggestion.
In my butterscotch research, (yes, I did just say “butterscotch research,”) I learned that butterscotch is just a caramel sauce made with brown sugar instead of white sugar. Also, despite the scotch in its name, it traditionally contains no alcohol. Something I never learned in school, scotch means not only a type of alcohol and the people of Scotland, but it also means “to cut or score.” Really, Scotch tape should have clued me in years ago, but the packaging does have that Tartan pattern on it, so I just assumed that it was the national adhesive of Scotland. So, true butterscotch is made and then poured hot. The hot candy is then scored (or scotched) so that it can be easily broken apart once it has cooled and hardened.
Butterscotch Ice Cream with SunButter candy
(makes about 1-1/2 qts)
1 c dark brown sugar, solidly packed
3 T unsalted butter
1/2 t coarse sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel)
1-1/2 c heavy cream
1 c half and half
1/2 c 1% milk
4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, beaten
1 t vanilla extract
1-1/2 T Butterscotch Schnapps (30 proof)
1 T vanilla vodka (70 proof)
In a heavy bottomed 2 qt saucepan, melt the butter almost completely over medium heat. Mix the brown sugar into the butter with a wooden spoon until the sugar is coated with butter. Stirring about once a minute, wait for the mixture to stop looking gritty and become smooth and glossy. Pour the heavy cream and salt over the sugar mix being careful to avoid splattering and stir to combine. The butterscotch will harden with the addition of the cream, but it will re-melt as the cream heats and the mix is stirred. While the cream and butterscotch heat, prepare an ice bath and place a metal bowl inside. Fill it with the half and half and milk.
When the butterscotch mix is quite hot (but not boiling), ladle a bit of it at a time into the beaten eggs until they are warm, stirring constantly. Pour the warmed eggs into the butterscotch mix and stir continuously until the mix reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat immediately and stir it into the milk that has been resting in the ice bath (If you keep a close eye on the temperature of the heating eggs, you don’t need to strain the butterscotch into the ice bath mixture). Stir continuously until the mixture is cool. Add the vanilla extract and alcohols to the cool mixture. Refrigerate for several hours, ideally overnight and then prepare following your ice cream maker’s instructions. Once the ice cream is almost completely set, pour the candies into the ice cream maker. Enjoy a small amount as a reward for your work and freeze the rest.
Many homemade ice creams are hard and need to sit on the counter before being scooped. This recipe sets up very nicely, a perfect texture and can be scooped right out of the freezer. The little bit of salt, the high amount of sugar and the alcohol all help to soften the ice cream. The butterscotch flavor is amazing, but we decided that the candies are too potent for this particular ice cream. They don’t taste bad in it at all, they just take over the flavor. Next time it will be one batch candy free butterscotch ice cream and another batch of chocolate ice cream with SunButter candy.
When I began writing this post, I planned to discuss using all the eggs between ice cream and souffle, but I think that the souffle needs to wait for another post. I don’t have the ambition to write about it at this very moment . . . that is not to say that making a souffle is tedious; I will discuss that misconception in my next post. So, I used 4 egg yolks in that ice cream recipe. That means that there are 4 egg whites waiting and very lonely in the refrigerator. . . Did I mention that I made a different batch of ice cream (peach with ginger snaps) last week and there are 4 more egg whites in the freezer? No? Well I did. All 4 of the egg whites in the freezer and the other 4 in the refrigerator are lonely. They want to be combined with cheese and broccoli, so I’ll let them do that and discuss it next time.