After deciding to make caramel ice cream on a whim, I discovered that almost every recipe for it online was a custard base, which irritated me. I don’t have anything against custard ice creams, I swear; I just don’t want to go through the trouble of making them at home. I don’t know what it is, but the thought of separating all the eggs then carefully tempering them (STRESS!) and then trying to figure out what I’m going to do with six or seven egg whites just makes me want to throw up my hands and take a nap. Luckily after some trial and error, I cracked the code for an easier way to churn up exactly what I was craving.
The best thing about this ice cream recipe, other than the fact that it’s easier than a custard, is that it’s less sweet than other caramel ice creams out there and still doesn’t compromise that buttery flavor you’re hoping to get. The whiskey also plays a bigger role than just being delicious: the small amount of alcohol actually improves its texture, inhibiting ice crystal growth during the churning process; something the eggs would’ve helped with had they been in the recipe.
I’m a crafty bitch.
Whiskey Caramel Ice Cream
¾ cups sugar
3 Tbs, plus 1 Tbs, whiskey or bourbon, divided
2 cups whipping cream (not heavy whipping cream)
1 cup milk
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
Pour all sugar and the 3 tablespoons of whiskey into a heavy bottomed sauce pan (avoid using a darker colored one if you can) then bring to medium heat. Please resist the urge to stir. When all the sugar melts and starts bubbling away, bring the heat down a little bit and watch it like a hawk until it just becomes a medium shade of amber. This might take up to 15 minutes, so be patient! Caramel can be tricky, which is why I like to cook it on a lower heat so I have more control over its color and flavor; your base can go from luscious caramel to bitter burned marshmallow in a matter of seconds.
The second (I mean it) your caramel reaches the perfect color, add about half of the whipping cream to the pan. It will bubble up and congeal slightly, but don’t worry about it. Give into your desire to stir with a rubber spatula, making sure that none of the caramel has stuck to the bottom of the pan and bring the heat back up to medium. Heat the caramel and cream until the mixture has bonded and is totally smooth, then add the rest of the cream, milk, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Heat the ice cream base until it is totally smooth again, then add the final tablespoon of whiskey. Remove from the heat and store your base in an airtight container to chill in the fridge overnight, or until cold.
Churn your whiskey ice cream base according to your ice cream churner’s instructions, making sure to stop the churning process when it resembles soft serve. Store in an airtight container with a sheet of plastic wrap pressed directly onto the entire surface of the churned ice cream. Freeze overnight, or until the ice cream sets.
Makes about 4.5 cups of ice cream.