Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Almonds

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Why, hello there, gorgeous!

Allow me to introduce myself – I’m the ice cream blogger who fell off the face of the earth for a few months in favor of pursuing more trivial matters, but now who is back and (hopefully) better than ever, daring to believe that her old friends will welcome her back with open arms and minimal judgment (<enter optimistic yet coy emoji face here>).

But seriously. You guys!

I’ve missed you. And this blog. Which, whether I like it or not, may always be a part of me, at least for the foreseeable future. (Which also means I’ll need to figure out how to deal with the crushing, overwhelming guilt I feel when I sometimes choose to ignore this space for extended periods of time).

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I thought about skipping that whole awkward re-introduction thing that Long Lost Bloggers sometimes try to pull (“you guys, I just…I was living my life through a screen and I needed to center myself again”), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that THE PEOPLE DESERVE THE TRUTH and the only way I could live with myself moving forward is by promoting and sustaining a blog culture of transparency.

Plus, I also have completely legit first world excuses with which I’m hoping some of you can identify, especially those of you with blogs who struggle to uphold the elusive “blog/life” balance conundrum that I seem to be failing at miserably lately.

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Excuses such as:

  • General laziness. I know, I know. This is a sad one. But it’s the truth. For a while there, I just got burnt out on everything and at the time, Netflix and Skittles seemed like a much better release than staging photoshoots, obsessing over every detail, and making a royal mess in the kitchen.
  • I got a Fitbit. Oh, dreaded physical activity! I fought the Fitbit craze for a very long time, but now that I have one, I really can’t imagine leaving the house without it. The Fitbit made me realize that for the most part, I maintain a pretty sedentary lifestyle (which is fine with me, but probably not the smartest for the ol’ heart muscle). I’ve actually been trying to get outside and move my body versus staying inside and scrolling through cookie dough cupcake images on Instagram (but don’t get me wrong – I’d really, really rather do the latter).
  • We started looking for a house. Looking for a house has been both a blessing and a curse. I’m grateful to be in this position, obviously, but this whole experience has made me realize what a picky a$$hole I am. Let’s just say, a lifetime of Country Living Magazine doesn’t necessarily create the most realistic expectations when house-hunting in the real world. My poor husband. And realtor. But you guys, I have a vision. A VISION.  #Centuryfarmhouseorbust.

So, there ya have it. Spilled milk, if I do say so myself. It’s a new day! Now, on to the ice cream.

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I actually crafted this recipe a few months ago when it was still chilly in Ohio, so it’s not exactly light and summery (but in my defense, this is Ohio and practically speaking, it could snow at any time and then this ice cream would be precisely appropriate).

The inspiration for this ice cream came from my brother-in-law (who really, feels like he’s been my brother my whole life, so let’s just go ahead and drop the “in-law” business). He texted me a pic of his favorite new chocolate bar, a carmelized white chocolate with crispy almonds that he found at a local grocery store.

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Immediately, I was skeptical. White chocolate and almonds are pretty much two of my least favorite things in the world, aside from maybe canned peas and goat cheese. I think I replied with some sort of generic “Oh, looks super good!” but in my head I was thinking “White chocolate? Yeah, right.”

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But for some reason, a few days later, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Wait – did he say caramelized? Chocolate? What does that even MEAN? You can’t caramelize chocolate!

…Can you?

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I did some research, and thank goodness His Majesty of All Things Dessert, David Lebovitz, had a tutorial on how to caramelize white chocolate at home. Caramelizing the chocolate involves roasting it in your oven until it gets all caramel-y and delicious and then you can add salt if you want and OH MY GOD I just knew this was my next ice cream.

And in a case you’re wondering, “well isn’t this just basically caramel ice cream? You guys, it’s not. It’s absolutely not.

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Roasting the white chocolate chips took me nearly an hour and a half (I think our oven runs cool, perhaps). So every ten minutes or so during Jurassic World I had to get up and stir the chocolate, which was the biggest pain in the a$$ ever, but when all was said and done, I was left with the creamiest, richest, most delicious roasted white chocolate you could ever imagine. It was like salted caramel’s very sexy, voluptuous cousin.

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Then, imagine this sexy white chocolate mixed into ice cream –  it’s comforting, slightly smoky, and full of beautiful flavor. The almonds add a lovely crunch and a nice bit of extra salt to cut the richness of the chocolate. I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this flavor! In fact, if I ever have my own ice cream shop, I’d keep this on my regular menu. It’s made me realize that my “dark chocolate or die” attitude might just be a little narrow-minded.

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Big bro, this one’s for you! Thanks for broadening my horizons and keeping me well-informed about the magical wonders of life…and white chocolate 🙂

Happy scooping!

Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Almonds

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 24 hrs
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients:

For the Caramelized White Chocolate:

1 bag (12 ounces) of white chocolate chips or chunks (I used Ghirardelli)

1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Sea salt or smoked salt, to taste

For the ice cream base:

5 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the almonds:

2 cups of raw almonds

Pinch of smoked salt, or to taste

Directions:

Make the Caramelized White Chocolate:

  1. Preheat oven to 250. In a bowl, toss chocolate pieces with 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Spread chocolate on a rimmed baking sheet with a spatula, and place in oven for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes (I know it’s a pain but it’s totally worth it). Start watching it very closely after about 30 minutes – we want roasted chocolate, not bitter burnt chocolate, and 30 minutes may be enough depending upon your oven. Make sure when you stir the chocolate, that you are aggressively scraping the chocolate at the bottom of the pan to help avoid parts of the chocolate getting darker than others.
  2. Once the chocolate looks like caramel (or, as David Lebovitz puts it, “all natural peanut butter”), remove from oven and top with sea salt (I used a combo of normal sea salt and some smoked salt as well). Place into a jar for later use, or, if about to make your ice cream, you can use it right away. For this ice cream, I set aside about a ¼ of a cup to make caramelized chocolate chips (do this easily by spreading the chocolate out thinly on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freezing or refrigerating for half an hour; then break apart with your hands or a knife).

Make the Ice Cream base:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, lightly stir one cup of the heavy cream and melted caramelized white chocolate (if the chocolate seems like it’s ceasing up, don’t worry – it will melt again once you later add your warm ice cream mixture). Place a mesh sieve on top.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, lightly whisk your egg yolks.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 cup cream, 1 cup milk, sugar, and salt until it just begins to steam. A little at a time, pour the warmed cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly until all of the cream is incorporated. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan, and continue cooking for ten minutes or so, until the mixture thickens into a custard (if using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, the custard should stick to the back; when you wipe your finger across, there should be a clear “path” through the custard).
  4. Once finished, strain your custard through the mesh sieve into the bowl with the white chocolate and cream. Stir until combined, adding vanilla and season with a touch more salt, if needed. Store mixture in the fridge until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Toast the almonds:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a rimmed baking sheet, evenly spread the almonds. Toast for 5 to 10 minutes, monitoring closely. Almonds should be a nice golden brown when finished.
  2. Remove from oven and sprinkle with smoked salt. I used a combo of sea and smoked salt. Before I add the salt, I like to lightly spray with some kind of oil so that the salt sticks better. Set almonds aside for later.

Put it all together:

  1. Freeze the ice cream base in your machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. During the last minute of churn time, add the white chocolate chunks and almonds. Move to a cute storage container, then freeze overnight or until hardened (anywhere from 4 to 8 hours). Enjoy 🙂

 

12 thoughts on “Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Almonds

  1. OH
    MY
    GAH
    !!!!!!!!!

    First of all, I’m soooooo glad to see you back at it. I’ve actually been posting a lot less frequently myself lately, and I feel like things are going to get worse before they get better. I won’t go into it all here, but Russell and I have something big that might be coming our way soon…
    I’m also sooo jealous that you’re looking for a house. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I LOVE DIY projects so much that when I see friends post pictures on facebook, knee deep in sawdust, re-finishing hardwood floors or stripping cabinets, I’m filled with jealousy when I should probably be thanking my lucky stars that I’m not there helping!
    Good luck! And I hope you’re looking for a house with a guest room for ME, and another room to store all your ice cream bowls!
    OH! And maybe you’ll be able to GRILL soon!!!

    Second, HOLY SHIT THIS SOUNDS LIKE HEAVEN.
    I’m not really in the white chocolate hater category, but I definitely agree that it pales in comparison to its richer darker cousin.
    I’d never heard of caramelized white chocolate until you mentioned it, and now I HAVE to find a reason to use it. It sounds amazing. The almonds sound wonderful here too. Bravo for going out of your comfort zone on this one. Your photos are so gorgeous, and this sounds like such an “adult” flavor profile. You really hit this one out of the park.
    I’m glad that you stayed grounded through the process though by watching Jurassic World.
    My husband hates all things action and/or horror related so I’m never allowed to watch Jurassic Park (or Jaws or Tremors, or any of their 400 sequels) when he’s home. But if he’s at work and they come on, it’s ON!

    • There you are! I’ve missed you 🙂

      Omigosh omigosh what are you and Russell up to? Are you getting a new dog? New job? Opening a business? Buying a farm? Having a baby? ARE YOU MOVING TO OHIO?! I can’t handle the suspense.

      I love how much you love DIY projects – see, we’re total DIY project amateurs, which makes me nervous about the whole house thing. We can barely hang a curtain rod without it being a huge ordeal! And I think I want an old house, which makes zero sense, given my love of coming home from work and doing nothing. You’ll have to do more renovation posts so that we can learn! And obvi we’re looking for a house with an in-law suite for you and Russell, the dogs, and all your bundt pans!

      I have to say that this ice cream pleasantly surprised me. I actually put chocolate chips on the bottom because I was worried I’d get bored with the white chocolate, but it ended up ruining the bottom layer of ice cream because it totally wasn’t needed! And OMG PARALLEL LIVES. I can’t tell you how much I love any sort of action/disaster/end of the world movie. We recorded San Andreas a few weeks ago and it was pretty much the best thing ever. There’s nothing I love more than NOT thinking, and watching The Rock navigate San Francisco during a massive earthquake is everything I want in a movie.

      I really did miss you 🙂 xoxo

  2. Yayyyyyyyyyy yay yay yay ya YAYYYYYYYYY!!! *Picture that scene from Scrubs where JD is running around the park bench with sparklers in each hand, cheering, and you’ll get my reaction*

    Wonderful to hear from you again, lovely lady… As I said in my tentatively-concerned-buddy Instagram message, you have been missed! Now don’t go interpreting that with a guilty conscious; it’s a mark of how much I enjoy reading your posts and cracking up at your personal remarks! It really was like not hearing from a good friend for quite some time…

    I’ve been trying very hard to soothe my own guilt and anxiety for the two-sometimes-three week gaps I’ve been leaving in between my own blog posts because I’ve simply been so BUSY with other projects and LIFE. I’m determined not to return to the insanely stressed out point I was at last year in my corporate job and acknowledge that I just can’t do it all and most importantly, prioritise the REAL stuff, i.e.: sitting on the balcony to read a book, enjoying time in the garden watering my plants, having a cup of tea with a friend, or closing my eyes and having a nap because I’m damn tired and just can’t do any more in that moment…

    Simple things. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Real stuff.

    (This ice cream sounds amazeballs by the way.)

    Love, Ange xo

    • Aw, you watch Scrubs too? Soul sisters 🙂

      Thank you so much for missing me! That’s always part of what motivates me to get out of my blogging slumps – missing my friends so much and badly wanting to be a part of the blogging adventure, too!

      I’m so excited about all of the wonderful things going on in your life on the other side of the world 🙂 I’m going to try and feel less guilty about blog things (and a whole host of other things!) and make sure I take time to truly enjoy the summer while it lasts.

      Hope all is well, baby cakes! Xoxo

  3. Pingback: Blog Profiles: Ice Cream Blogs | Beyond Bylines

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