Salted caramel pretzel ice cream is sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy, and bound to be your new favorite dessert, in any season.
As I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week, fall has long been my favorite time of year. I was that kid poring over back-to-school guides in Seventeen and YM (anyone else remember that one??) and standing way too excitedly in the school supply aisle, mapping out exactly which color binder I would use for each class. I’m sure you can discern that I was an extremely cool and popular teenager. 😉
In any event, I still love fall just as much now that I’m a mostly functional adult. Even though I haven’t gone back to school in quite awhile, the season still fills me with a sense of possibility. But now, instead of buying cute colored paper clips, I excitedly pull out my sweaters and start baking apple and pumpkin into anything that sits still.
With this said, I do recognize that it’s only early September, and not everyone is ready to bid such a hasty farewell to summer. And, I get it. Summer has a lot going for it, too. Sandals, sunshine, pool days, ice cream, easy living.
So I was thinking a good compromise from the kitchen would be in order. Cool, creamy ice cream for the summer in all of us. Buttery salted caramel to rev up your tastebuds for fall. Because nothing complements fall flavors better than caramel. On this point there is no use in arguing, I will go to the mat.Ready or not for fall, salted butter caramel ice cream is something we can all agree to love!Click To Tweet
The ice cream itself is adapted, really just simplified, from David Lebovitz. If you’re interested in making ice cream from scratch, and don’t mind the churning variety, I can’t recommend his book, The Perfect Scoop, highly enough.
Then, just because it sounded good, I added some crushed pretzels as a mix-in right. The flavor is SPOT ON. I mean, obviously. Salted caramel pretzel? Come to mama.
I will say, however, that after a few days, the pretzels sort of absorbed some moisture from the frozen ice cream, making them less crunchy. If this doesn’t sound good, you have three options that I can see: make the ice cream without pretzels, which will still be amazing; make the ice cream with another mix-in; or make it with pretzels and eat it all immediately.
Life is just full of tough choices. 🙂
Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream
Yield 1 quart
Sweet, creamy, buttery homemade custard ice cream with rich caramel flavor and pretzels mixed in. Your new favorite dessert for any season!
- 1 ½ cups (297 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk, divided
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To mix-in: 1 cup lightly crushed pretzels (optional)
- Add the sugar to a medium saucepan in an even layer, and warm over medium heat until the sugar at the edges of the pan begins to melt. Meanwhile, warm the cream slightly in the microwave or a small saucepan, and set aside.
- Continue cooking, using a spatula to stir the melted sugar from the bottom and edges into the center, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture turns to a rich amber or caramel color. When it reaches this color, remove the pan immediately from the heat.
- Very slowly pour the warmed cream into the caramel, whisking rapidly as you pour, followed by the butter. Whisk in the salt and 1 cup of the milk. (If the mixture seizes up during this process, return the pan to low heat and stir gently, breaking up any lumps as well as you can. A few remaining lumps are OK.)
- Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Now slowly pour most of the caramel-cream mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly to incorporate and prevent the eggs from curdling. (This process is called tempering, and is what makes your batter into delicious, creamy custard!)
- Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. (If you have an instant-read or candy thermometer, the temperature to aim for here is approximately 170 degrees F, or 77 degrees C.)
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl, and pour the custard through to strain out any small lumps. Stir in remaining 1 cup of milk and the vanilla extract. Let mixture cool slightly, stir well, then cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once your ice cream is churned, quickly stir in pretzels or any other mix-in as desired, then pour into a loaf pan or other container and chill in the freezer until firm.
As you might imagine, you can use salted butter and reduce the added sea salt to taste.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
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And go on, hurry up and eat some ice cream before it all melts away!!
Aaand, if you’re in the mood for ice cream, you might also like this creamy strawberry mascarpone situation:
Or for something more wholesome, some naturally-sweetened key lime pie popsicles:1