I’ve been on a bit of a bourbon kick lately.
Have you heard about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream? Seriously, this ice cream is so good it goes by a first name! Jeni uses the same ice cream base for most of her recipes. She then creates tons of crazy flavors like this caramel bourbon ice cream and even crazier ones like sweet corn with blackberry. Her storefront is based out of Colombus, OH, but thanks to her cookbooks, you can make Jeni’s ice cream in the comfort of your own home. Jeni’s ice cream is egg free but uses an interesting and science-y technique to maintain the creaminess of a custard. The milk/cream is boiled to denature the proteins, then a corn starch slurry is added and it’s cooked for another minute to thicken it. Some corn syrup is used because it is high in glucose, which binds water better than table sugar. This helps prevent ice crystals from forming and giving the ice cream that gritty texture. Finally, cream cheese or evaporated milk is added for “body”.
Jeni’s Caramel Bourbon Ice Cream with Toffee Bits
1 1/2 c. whole milk divided
1 1/2 T. corn starch
1/2 c. bourbon
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
2 T. light corn syrup
4 T. mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. milk chocolate toffee pieces (like Heath)
1. Whisk 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Set aside.
2. Add the bourbon to the remaining milk.
3. Combine the heavy cream and the corn syrup.
4. Combine the mascarpone or cream cheese and the salt in a large bowl and set aside.
5. To make the burnt caramel using Jeni’s dry burning technique, heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the sugar so it is one layer covering the entire bottom of the pot. Keeping your eyes on the pot the entire time, watch the sugar until it begins to melt and the edges turn caramely and melted. Once there is just a small amount of unmelted sugar remaining in the center, use a spatula to scrape the melted sugar from the sides into the center. Repeat until all of the sugar is melted. Stir well. The sugar will begin to bubble and once the sugar smokes and turns a dark amber color, remove from heat. Remove just before it burns – you can use smell for this. The minute you remove it from the heat, add a few tablespoons of the cream/corn syrup slurry and whisk constantly to combine. Very slowly add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.
6. Place the saucepan back over medium heat and add the milk/bourbon mix. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Adjust the heat so it does not boil over.
7. Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return pan to heat and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Pour into the large bowl with the mascarpone or cream cheese and whisk to combine.
8. Prepare an ice bath by filling your sink or a large bowl with ice and ice water. Place an open gallon-sized ziplock bag in the water. Pour the mixture carefully into the bag, press out the air and seal. Chill for 30-45 minutes.
9. Once chilled, pour the ice cream in an ice cream maker and churn according to the directions – typically about 20-25 minutes. About 5 minutes before finishing, add in the toffee pieces.
10. Freeze the mixture in a freezer-safe container with a piece of plastic wrap spread on top, pressing against the ice cream. Freeze about 4-6 hours before serving. The ice cream will be a bit soft!