Salty Carmel Ice Cream with Chocolate and Almond Chunks


Strudel Hands down, salt is one of my favorite condiments. When I was a kid, my dad used to get annoyed with me at dinner for salting my food before I tasted it, “Morgan!” he’d say, sternly, “How can you know if the food needs salt if you don’t taste it first?!” My father – a master chef, as we’ve discussed before – found this habit of mine irritating. But always I think that most foods need just a bit more salt.


The introduction of salt into desserts – on top of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, in particular – has been an absolute revelation for me. And indeed, Salted Caramel Ice Cream is a go-to for me when I go out for ice cream. Naturally, I wanted to recreate the experience in my own home, and behold Jeni’s homemade ice cream amazing deliciousness. Her basic recipe consistently makes an incredibly creamy, rich base with pronounced flavor. The salty caramel ice cream almost tastes like butterscotch – I added in some nuts and chocolate because – you know – why not?!



Salty Carmel Ice Cream with Chocolate and Almond Chunks

Very, very slightly adapted From “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” by Jeni Britton Bauer


2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks, roughly chopped



Jeni uses the dry-burn technique to make the caramel, which means that there is no water added to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream.

Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but 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. Immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.



Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color (see note above for more detail). Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.

Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

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