Caramel almond butter stracciatella is my latest ice cream flavor. I will be happy to show you how to make it!
Don’t miss the round up of all my ice cream recipes.
There was no Ben & Jerry’s when we were kids. Think about that for a minute. Nobody made cookie dough ice cream. Or Caramel Sutra. Or Phish Food. Or Chunky Monkey. No. We had Baskin Robbins, and we had our own favorites there. Pralines and Cream if we were in a caramelly nutty mood. Mint chocolate chip maybe if we were feeling Kicky. My go to as a kid was a weird one. I wanted a double scoop in a cake cone. One scoop of super dark chocolate fudge ice cream (no problem there), and another of…Daiquiri Ice.
I have no idea where I dreamed up this flavor combination. Maybe I was going for Maximum Contrast or something. I mean bittersweet creamy chocolate and a lime-with-a-dash-of-rum ice? It’s not a good combination. I know that now. But as a kid, I thought it was the very height of sophistication.
There was one fancy flavor that I never ordered. It sounded mysterious and very grown up and spoke to me of far away places. Almonds and chocolate and coffee all mixed together and called Jamocha Almond Fudge. I never ordered it because a)it had nuts in it and I didn’t like nuts, )I thought coffee was the worst kind of bitter brew and c)it just plain intimidated me. I mean, this ice cream had Three Names! Jamocha. Almond. Fudge. It was just too much for me.
I was an odd child. I remember the first time my parents ever took us to Hardee’s. We filed between metal rails meant to keep us in neat rows. I felt like I was waiting for a ride at an amusement park. I read the menu (printed in those white plastic letters that probably the new kid had to put up there, one at a time) over and over trying to decide what to order. This wasn’t my Usual Place. I didn’t have an order I knew by heart: twoscoopsinacakeconedarkchocolatefudgeanddaiquiriice. As I inched towards the counter, I kept reassessing my choices and changing my mind. When it was finally my turn to order, I felt not unlike Ralphie trying to answer Santa’s question, “What do you want for Christmas, Little Boy?” My mind went blank. I got all sweaty. I had Ordering Performance Anxiety. “Uh…uh…a football?”
I glanced up at the menu once more, white letters foreshortened because they were straight over my head. No help there. “Just…just a plain cheeseburger?” I asked apologetically. What I meant by that was a cheeseburger as written on the menu. The menu item was named Cheeseburger. But did I confidently speak out and ask for a cheeseburger? No, I did not. I asked for “just a plain cheeseburger,” as if nobody ever ordered cheeseburgers and the only reason Cheeseburger and his poor cousin Hamburger were on the menu at all was for the sole purpose of guilting people into ordering a Big Twin or a Big Deluxe Charco-Broiled burger.
When I asked for “just a plain cheeseburger,” that’s exactly what they gave me. They made it special, so I had to stand to the side while my parents and brother kept looking over with raised eyebrows and I got sweatier and sweatier and my face got redder and redder. That’s what I get for ordering apologetically. A long wait, a sweaty collar and a naked cheeseburger.
I tell you this story to illustrate this: I was a very indecisive kid, especially when it came to food. I wanted all the things, so I would dither over choices until they just suggested a football and kicked me down the slide.
Caramel Almond Butter Stracciatella
This chocolate almond butter stracciatella is my ode to what might have been had I ever pulled it together and just tried Jamocha Almond Fudge. There is no coffee element, but you can certainly add one if you’d like. Just a bit of espresso powder stirred into the base would be all it would take. You can also skip the caramelizing part and just use granulated sugar and an entire quart of half and half in your custard, although you may want to dial the sugar back a bit since caramelizing decreases sugar’s sweetening power.
For the Base
- 9.5 oz granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 12 oz half and half
- 20 oz half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks
- 5.5 oz almond butter, (generous half cup)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
For the Stracciatella
- 1.5 oz dark chocolate chips
- .15 oz coconut oil or other neutral vegetable oil
For the Mix-In
- 1/2 cup chopped almond toffee or candied almonds or whole, , chocolate-covered almonds (optional, and totally up to you what you mix in)
To Make the Base
- In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, stir together the sugar and water until all the sugar is moistened. You may need a bit more than 1/4 cup. The measurement isn't imperative here. You just need enough to get the sugar wet.
- Bring the sugar to a boil over medium heat.
- Put the lid on and let it boil 2 minutes to wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pot.
- Remove the lid and cook undisturbed until the sugar begins to turn a pale honey color. Gently swirl the pan to promote even coloration and let the sugar cook until very deep amber. The caramel will begin to smoke just a bit and might start to bubble up just a bit. As soon as that happens, carefully add the 12 oz half and half.
- The caramel will bubble up madly, but be brave. Once the mad bubbling subsides, whisk the caramel off the heat. Some of the caramel will have gotten hard. Worry not. Set the pan aside.
- In another sauce pan, whisk the 20 oz half and half, salt, cornstarch and egg yolks over medium heat until hot. Once it's hot, pour it into the pan with the caramel and continue to whisk and heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. By that time, all the hardened caramel will have melted back into the sauce. Allow the mixture to boil, whisking constantly, for about 15 seconds.
- Pour into a metal bowl and carefully whisk in the almond butter and vanilla. Taste and adjust seasonings. You can add a touch more salt or even a little more sugar if you think it needs it. Nothing bad will happen.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl to get out any larger bits of almond or skins (optional, but it helps the finished ice cream have a smoother texture)
- Chill in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until room temperature. Then press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard and refrigerate until cold (no warmer than 40F).
- Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Once the ice cream has reached the soft serve state, drizzle in most of the melted chocolate in a thin stream (recipe below).
- Toss in your mix-ins and stir by hand to evenly distribute them.
- Pack into your container. Press a few mix-ins on top and drizzle on the rest of the stracciatella in a Decorative Pattern. (Totally optional, but really pretty)!
- The chocolate will harden almost immediately. When it does, gently press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream and freeze for several hours until firm. Allow to temper for about 5 minutes before scooping.
For the Stracciatella
- Place the chips and oil in a small bowl and microwave on low power in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, until evenly melted but barely warm. I use power level 2 on our microwave.
I like to think now I make my own ice cream and cook my own food I’m more decisive. Sadly, this is not the case. I still dither over what to make and what mix-ins to use and what kind of swirl and if it should be an ice cream or a gelato.
Feel free to share your favorite flavor combinations or your dream flavor combinations. That way, I’ll have you guys to be decisive for me.
This ice cream is really good, by the way. It’s super rich with both egg yolk and cornstarch. And chocolate. And nut butter and what not. You don’t need a lot, but you will love every bite.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read today. Have a lovely day.