Small Batch Caramel Ice Cream

Caramel Ice Cream | I hate throwing away food, so when I had egg yolks left over from making marshmallows recently, I looked for recipes that called just for just yolks.  I found a nice selection of egg-yolk recipes in the back of I ♥ Macaroons by Misako Ogita.  Since it was a hot day, the recipe that really caught my eye was the Caramel Ice Cream.   It turned out to be a great decision as this was one of the tastiest ice creams I’ve ever made and it was pretty easy to make.

This recipe can be made without an ice cream maker, although having done it that way once I think it takes too long so I will use my machine next time.  If you’ve got a day where you’re going to be home and can be patient, it’s not a bad way to make it though.  The recipe makes a pretty small amount (I got a little over 1/2 pint), so definitely double it if you need more.  I’m warning you though, it’s super dangerous stuff if you like caramel!

The recipe is pretty simple.  A little caramelized sugar is added to warmed milk and cream.  Egg yolks are mixed with sugar and then cooked with the milk mixture until thickened.  The mixture is cooled and then whipped at regular intervals, freezing between each whipping.  It took about 4 hours to make, but the texture was really pretty impressive, smooth and creamy and not icy at all even though I used 2% milk.  Just like freshly churned ice cream, it’s pretty much like soft-serve at first and can do with a few extra hours in the freezer to firm up some more.   It’s very hard to wait though.  I might have to make marshmallows more often now so that I have yolks to use up… it’s a vicious cycle!

Small Batch Caramel Ice Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Small-batch creamy caramel ice cream that can be made without a machine.
  • 3½ Tbsp (1.7 oz/50 ml) whipping cream
  • 1¾ cups (10.1oz/300 ml) milk (I used 2%, but whole milk would be even better)
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup (3.2oz/90 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Put the whipping cream and milk into a saucepan and warm it up.
  2. In another pan, combine the water and ¼ cup (1/oz/50g) of the sugar. Heat on medium until it bubbles and darkens to a deep golden color (see note).
  3. Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and immediately add the milk mixture to the sugar and stir. The caramel will clump up. Place the pan back on low heat and stir until the caramel melts into the milk.
  4. Mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until they are thick and very pale in color.
  5. While whisking, stir in ½ cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining warm milk. This should prevent curdled egg bits. If desired, strain the mixture into another saucepan before continuing.
  6. Heat the combined mixture over medium, stirring constantly, until it is thick and creamy. To test for done-ness, scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a spatula. If you draw your finger through this mixture (careful, it's hot!), the line should stay in place and not fill in.
  7. Pour the mixture into a bowl and float it over another bowl filled part-way with ice water. Stir until cool.
  8. Press some plastic down on the top of the custard and chill in the refrigerator until firm. If desired, you can make the recipe up until this part on one day and then continue the next.
  9. When the mixture is firm, whip it with a hand mixer or whisk to smooth it. Cover and put it in the freezer. Repeat the firming and whipping until it gets hard to whip the mixture and it is the texture of ice cream. The intervals will depend on your container and freezer temperature. I started with 45 minute intervals and worked up to 15 minute intervals as it froze quicker. It took about 3 hours altogether for the whipping process.
  10. If desired,chill for a few more hours to firm it up even more, but it's good as soft serve right away if you can't wait.
I don't like my caramel to be too bitter, so I cook the sugar mixture until it's the color of a brand new penny. If you like darker, more bitter caramel, cook the mixture until it's the color of an older penny.


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