Jeni's Salty Caramel Ice Cream Sundae
So I decided to make homemade ice cream yesterday. And not just any ice cream....Jeni's Splendid Salty Caramel Ice Cream. If you haven't had the chance to try Jeni's ice cream, I highly suggest either ordering a package online OR following this step by step recipe that I've created to remove the uncertainty about the recipe.
I came across the recipe online, but without any recipe reviews or comments, I was flying blind hoping the recipe paid off. Though it was a very fun experience, I wouldn't say it was my most successful cooking experience -- so I decided to write a blog post about what I'd do differently next time, and what you can do at home to make this easier!
The recipe I came across didn't have any pictures, just some long instructions, so I'm going to include step by step pictures, which I hope will help you see the process more easily.
This is by far my favorite ice cream flavor to buy in the store, and I have no doubt I'll be able to make it perfectly the next time I make it (which will probably be soon...). So I'll tell you where I went wrong -- I let the caramel go a SECOND too long, and it ended up with a slightly burned flavor. I wouldn't go as far to say it was totally burned, but there was a slight burned taste, which made it not taste as great as I had hoped.
So here is the step by step process, what to look out for when making this, and when.
Before doing actual cooking, DO YOUR PREP WORK! This recipe can go bad in one second (I know from experience), so having all of your ingredients ready to go in when they're called for is going to be the key to making this successful.
Begin by adding 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of whole milk. Use a fork to whisk the two together and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, add three tablespoons of softened cream cheese and 1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT -- whisk together and also set aside. In a measuring cup with a pour spout, add 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup. Mix together with a fork (have this one closest to the stove).
You start out the actual cooking process by adding 2/3 cup white sugar into a 4 quart saucepan. The recipe instructs you to stand over the pot, with a heatproof spatula ready...but not touching it yet. You want the sugar to be evenly spread around the pot, and over medium heat.
Here's what the recipe instructs you to do.....
Do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color-like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat.
Here's my advice....
When little bubbles do begin to form around the edges of the pan, because that's where it should happen first...TURN OFF THE HEAT THEN .....do not give it another moment (because that's how I ended up with slightly burned tasting ice cream. IMMEDIATELY pour in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream to stop the cooking process. Trust me do this as soon as it starts bubbling. Then go ahead and pour the 1 cup of remaining cream to the pot. CAUTION** -- it is going to pop and fizzle a bit as you add it so stay at a cautious distance and be careful.
Okay, so the hard part is over. That's the part that's going to make or break your ice cream. It is the "caramel" of the salty caramel. If it looks a little too dark brown, I advise you to start the sugar process over (it's worth it I promise).
Now, you want to add the rest of the whole milk, return the pot to medium heat and bring it to a boil again. Once it comes to a rolling boil, let it go for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove from the heat AGAIN, and stir in the cornstarch/milk slurry you made during the prep work (make sure to get it all from the bowl).
Turn the heat back on (I know this is a little repetitive, right? hahaha) bring it back to a boil, and once boiling let it boil for about a minute until it is thick. You want to stir with your heatproof spatula while doing this. Remove from the heat again.
Remember that medium bowl we filled with cream cheese and salt? Pour the hot milk/caramel base over that mixture in the bowl and whisk to combine. The heat from it is going to melt the cream cheese and get it all delicious and smooth (and salty). Add the vanilla and whisk together.
The recipe says to pour it all in a ziploc bag and put it in an ice bath. I think that's an unnecessary step. Keep it in that bowl you mixed (we used a metal one and it cooled quickly) and place it in a larger bowl with ice water. It pretty much floated in there and we added more ice as necessary. It was all cooled in about 45 minutes to an hour. It has to be cool before you add it to your ice cream maker!! (Which should freeze for 24 hours before using it).
Set up your ice cream maker, and pour the mixture in. You'll know when it's finished spinning because your ice cream maker will either stop, or start reversing and going really slowly. We added toasted coconut and almonds to the mixture once it go thicker for a nice added crunch. (Majorly recommended).
Pour it in a container, cover the top with parchment, and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours.
We added YET another fun kick to our ice cream and that was with homemade hot fudge (overachievers, I know). It's so simple to make you're going to want to make it too... Get yourself a big mason jar or a microwave safe container and add a 14. oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 6 oz. of mini chocolate chips (they melt better), 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Heat it in intervals until the chips have melted, stirring occasionally.
LET THIS COOL! It's super, super hot. It will also thicken as it cools. Pour it over your delicious homemade ice cream once frozen, and top with extra toasted coconut and nuts.
This is definitely a more challenging recipe, but I know the results will be so worth it if you follow this step by step!
JENI'S SALTY CARAMEL ICE CREAM SUNDAE
** ice cream recipe courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams **
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toasted coconut and toasted almonds (optional)
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
toasted almonds and coconut, for topping
I strongly advise you to read the directions in the blog post! This is a more intermediate recipe and step by step pictures and instructions will help you! :)