Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brown Butter Ice Cream

This ice cream was kind of a last minute thought, but boy am I glad I made it. I decided to make this ice cream for Nancy, my awesome co-worker and friend who ordered the cake I was telling you about in my how to brown butter post yesterday. Since I was already browning tons of butter for the cake and I had extra cream in my fridge, I thought I'd put both together and make her an extra decadent surprise - brown butter ice cream. I figured either she could serve it with the cake or keep in in her freezer for herself! Part of me hopes she kept this for herself.

This ice cream is so crazy good. I can't even explain it. That and it's pretty easy to make too. At least I think so. The first thing to do is brown the butter so you can let it cool while you are making the rest of the ice cream custard. Then, bring the cream, milk and vanilla to a simmer in a pan while you have the egg yolks and sugar mixing up and getting all fluffy. Then, drizzle in the wonderful cooled butter. Mmm brown butter. Once the milk is warm, slowly (SLOWLY) pour it into the eggs and butter while keeping the mixer running on the lowest setting.  You don't want to be splattered with hot milk. Burns will ruin your day. Trust me. Also, you don't want to just dump the hot milk in there otherwise you'll get scrambled egg ice cream. That's just nasty. That also makes for a bad day.

Once the eggs and hot liquid are combined, pour the mixture back into the pot you used for the milk and cream. Keep on stirring until it becomes thick - this should take about 20 minutes. You'll know when it's done when it coats the back of the spoon. The way to really know is when you put your finger through the custard on the back of a wooden spoon and the line stays. That and the custard will be thick. Don't be scared. You'll know when it's ready. I promise! Once it's thick, pour into a bowl or large tupperware and chill in your fridge for at least six hours or over night. I would recommend overnight just to makes sure it's chilled nice and good before you churn it in your ice cream machine. Please resist taking big spoonfuls of this while it's cooling. I'll admit right now I got so excited and ate like three big spoonfuls. Okay, four, but who's counting.

I am going to tell you right now that the flavor on this ice cream is indescribable. It's sweet. It's nutty. It's caramel-y with a hint of toffee. It's just freaking delicious. I also whipped up a batch of salty hot fudge sauce (SO easy to make - I'll show you!) to top this ice cream - that just put it over the edge and was the perfect combination to the sweet buttery ice cream. Oh man I wish I had made a double batch of this ice cream so I could have a scoop right now!


the original recipe called for vanilla bean paste. I didn't have that, so I used one of my new vanilla beans. You can use extract too if you don't have beans or paste.

whipping up the yolks and brown sugar

cooled brown butter

pouring in the butter

SLOWLY adding in the hot cream

don't stop stirring when you are cooking the yolks!

my ice cream tip - always strain your custard base to remove any curdled eggs. it happens. don't cry if it does.

pouring the chilled, thick brown butter custard into my ice cream machine


makes about one quart!

Brown Butter Ice Cream (slightly adapted from

8 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out and and place into milk and cream. Or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
an ice cream maker

Heat the butter in a skillet until brown bits form on the bottom (it should have a rich, nutty smell). Set aside.

In a saucepan, bring the cream, milk, and vanilla to a simmer. In a mixer, whisk the yolks, brown sugar, and salt until fluffy. Slowly add in the butter. Once combined, gradually and slowly add in the simmering milk mixture (remove the vanilla bean pod at this point and leave the seeds!). Pour all back back in the saucepan and cook over low heat, until thickened (it should coat the back of your spoon). Pour into a container and chill in the refrigerator until completely cold - at least six hours or overnight. Run through your ice cream maker, following the maker’s instructions. This should take about 15 minutes, give or take. Once churned, place in a freezer safe container and freeze for about 4 hours to firm up.

There is not much more to say than get in your kitchen and make this NOW. I was a little weary to the flavor when reading the recipe, but if this ice cream can make me a believer, it will make you one too. You will look at butter in a whole new light!

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