When you need an accompaniment for a warm dessert or a base for some fantastic toppings, vanilla is the “go to” flavor.  It’s the sidekick of the ice cream family…reliable, always available and best in a supporting roll.  It can also be a little boring.  With butterscotch overtones, this ice cream has something extra that will make your friends and family think “what is that?” and mean it in a good way.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

NOTE:  This recipe is easier than it seems.  There is quite a lot of whisking, pouring, straining and transferring ingredients from one place to another, but bear with me.  The purpose of all this is to cook the egg yolks without making scrambled eggs.  The straining is to take out the stuff that doesn’t taste so good, like burned milk solids and maybe the little bit of egg white that sneaked in with the yolk and got cooked.  Believe it or not, after you do this a couple of times, it becomes second nature.

So here we go.  Melt the butter in a small saute pan.  It will bubble up and then turn a deep amber with get dark brown, even black bits in it.

Pour this brown butter through a strainer into a small bowl and discard the burned bits.

Meanwhile, place 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk in a medium-sized sauce pan and heat until bubbles form around the edge.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the 5 egg yolks with 1/4 cup whole milk.

Add the sugar, dark brown sugar and salt and whisk until incorporated.

Add the browned butter and, you guessed it, keep on whisking.

Then take about 1/2 cup of the hot milk and cream and whisk that into the egg and sugar mixture.

When it is fully incorporated, add the rest of the hot milky cream, whisking the whole time.

Then pour this back into the original saucepan.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. WARNING:  Do not let the liquid simmer or boil during this time.  That is the road to scrambled ice cream.

Now pour the hot liquid back through the strainer into a bowl or other container.

Place the container with the ice cream base into an ice bath. Stir occasionally until it comes to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Cover the ice cream base with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent the dreaded “skin” and place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

Churn according to your ice cream maker instructions.  In my machine, it took about 20 minutes to done.

Looks like vanilla, right?  Shhhh.  It isn’t.


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