Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vanilla ice cream with salted butter caramel sauce

Did you know that in 1984, our US Congress and president Ronald Regan designed July as National Ice Cream Month?

Sweet! (Literally and figuratively)

Melt in your mouth deliciousness

According to the president, "ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States." Nutritious and wholesome?! Well then, it would be a disgrace for me NOT to eat it.

And we're even called upon to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Sounds to me like it would be very un-American for me to ignore his wishes.

Hmmmm, I wonder what I could do to honor this very special event. Does making and eating delicious homemade ice cream with caramel sauce sound like an appropriate ceremony and activity for you? Because it sounds that way to me!

You want me. I know you do. 

This vanilla ice cream recipe was insanely quick and easy, and it turned out soooo good. I also tried a new caramel sauce recipe. While I didn't love it quite as much as the more traditional caramel sauce I'd made before (with this sauce the depth of flavor just wasn't as intense and it tasted sweeter to me) I did enjoy it. In fact, it tastes a LOT like a liquid version of Werther's Originals. So once I stopped expecting it to taste like the other caramel sauce I'd made, I enjoyed this one a lot more.

My July ice cream-making ceremony was soooo successful, I think I may have to repeat it in August as well!

Yours in eating copious amounts of her favorite dessert during this unseasonable hot summer we've been having,

Vanilla Ice Cream, from A Perfect Scoop

Note: I have one of these containers for storing my ice cream and I LOVE it. Sometimes the top can be a bit hard to open (especially if some ice cream gets into the top grooves) but it's great for a few reasons: (1) it stores an entire batch of ice cream and (2) even after weeks in the freezer I didn't notice any substantial freezer burn or icy-ness to the ice cream. 

3 cups heavy cream (or 2 cups heavy cream + 1 cup whole milk)
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lenghtwise (I didn't use this, but I can just imagine how much better it would have been had I...)
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups cream (or cream + milk) and the vanilla extract.

3. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean (rinsing and reserving it for another use), then freeze in your ice cream maker.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce, from A Perfect Scoop

Note: This recipe makes ~ 1 cup of sauce. I'd probably cut it down by 1/2 or 1/4 next time for a single batch of ice cream.
Here is a recipe for more traditional caramel sauce, which you can turned into a salted one with the addition of... salt! I prefer the traditional caramel sauce as it's less sweet and has a more intense flavor. But this sauce definitely has a nice butteryness to it. My suggestion: try both and see which you prefer.

6 TBSP butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extraact
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt

1. Melt the butter in a large, deep heavy-duty saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is a deep golden brown and starts to smoke.

2. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in half of the cream until smooth (be careful, as the mixture will steam and splatter and bubble up furiously). Stir in the rest of the cream, then the vanilla and salt. If there are any lumps, whisk the sauce over low heat until they're dissolved.

3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm gently in microwave or in a saucepan over very low heat.


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