Almond Salted Caramel Ice Cream

After last week’s success with pecans, I decided to branch out and try a new nut: almonds. I was an early convert to the almond milk movement so I figured venturing into the realm of almond sweets would be safe.

Like the pecan, almonds are drupes and not true tree nuts. That hasn’t slowed them down though! Almonds are California’s top agricultural export as well as one of the United States’ largest specialty crop exports.  

The ice cream went through a couple variations while I tried to figure out the best way to incorporate the almond flavoring. The first batch was a sweet cream base with the toasted almonds, caramel sauce and some dark chocolate chunks mixed in. While it was okay overall, the almonds got a bit soggy over time so I felt they would be better added as a topping. Eventually I also dropped the chocolate and added the almond extract to the actual ice cream to give it a more powerful almond flavor. Go big or go home right?

When pouring the caramel sauce into the ice cream batter, it will lose its shape and get mixed into the batter. Because of this, I added some of it during the final stages of the churning process and then added the rest when it was completely done. By adding smaller amounts of the caramel sauce to the batter as I was transferring it into a container, it allowed the caramel sauce to hold its shape when it was later scooped out. The nice thing about caramel sauce is you can add as much or as little as you want. I like my ice cream super sweet so I poured it all in but you could just as easily reserve some for pouring on top of the ice cream when you eat it.

Ingredients

  • 1 & ½ Cup sugar
  • 3 Cups heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup almond slices
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 Teaspoon almond extract

Recipe

Salted caramel sauce

  • Add 1 cup of sugar to a saucer and heat over medium high heat
  • Keep an eye on sugar as it melts, swirling it every so often
  • Once sugar has melted fully and turned a nice amber color
  • Whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream - the mixture will bubble up but keep whisking until the consistency returns to a thick smooth mixture
  • Add in the butter and whisk until fully melted
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool overnight in the fridge

Toasted Almonds

  • Heat large pan over stovetop
  • Add sliced almonds - as they cook they will become very aromatic
  • When they start to brown (after about 2-3 minute), turn them over and finish cooking for another 2 minutes
  • Remove from heat and put aside for serving (store in an airtight container once almonds have cooled completely)

Ice Cream

  • In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining ½ cup of sugar together vigorously for about 1 - 2 minutes
  • In a saucer, combine the milk followed by the remaining 2 cups heavy cream and heat uncovered over medium heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit
  • Slowly pour cream mixture into egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly
  • Add batter back to saucer over medium heat until internal temperature returns to 160 degrees fahrenheit
  • Once desired temperature is achieved, remove from heat and mix in almond extract
  • Place batter in freezer to completely cool before adding to the ice cream machine, 4 - 5 hours (or overnight)
  • Put batter in ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions
  • A few minutes before the ice cream is ready, pour in one third of the caramel sauce
  • As you transfer ice cream to container, slowly add in rest of caramel sauce
  • When serving the ice cream, top ice cream with sprinkling of toasted almonds

*Ice cream lasts about a week when stored in a sealed container in the freezer