Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TWD - Caramel Swirl and Coconut Macadamia Ice Creams



Lynne of Cafe LynnyLu chose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, vanilla ice cream. When the recipes were announced, I thought the bookends of the month, the first and last recipes, were a natural together. I planned to make the Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies and serve them with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Then peer pressure took over.

I started thinking, what will my fellow TWD-ers do with this recipe? It's practically a blank canvas, and Dorie's playing around suggestions encourage us to take off in many directions, including mix ins and swirl ins. I could have done one of those, but I had to do something different so that maybe you would stop here and go "Wow! Look what Leslie did with this! I never thought of making it with sriracha."
OK, maybe not that different. So I decided to make my caramel sauce (recipe to come), which is ridiculously easy, and swirl it in after the ice cream chilled some.

I made this ice cream on the same day I made the brownies. The high that day was 102, we don't have air conditioning, and I appreciated this one didn't require turning the oven on.
Until I decided toasted macadamias and toasted coconut would be perfect compliments to the rich vanilla base. The oven went back on.


The custard base was super simple. The star players were heavy cream and whole milk with a vanilla bean (its vanilla caviar, as Gail Gand would say, stripped out and added to the mixture). Egg yolks added richness and stabilized the mixture; the custard was cooked until it thickened slightly. Once cooled, the custard is churned in an ice cream maker.
As I poured the churned mixture, still soft and bursting with flecks of vanilla, into two separate containers, I put aside the dasher to taste once the ice cream was safely in the freezer.

Oh. My. I wanted to climb in the freezer and be with it, it was that good. Better, yes indeed, than the Bouchon vanilla ice cream I made a few years ago. So good, I didn't want to serve it with the brownies. Or add anything that would take away from its pure vanilla flavor. But I did.

The caramel was swirled in after the ice cream froze for a half hour. I may have been a little heavy handed with the caramel, but I knew the vanilla base could stand up to the aggressive bite of the bitter caramel sauce.


Then I chopped the toasted macadamias and added them and the toasted coconut to the other half of the base. Mix lightly and back in the freezer for both flavors.

Then wait. Waiting is hard.

Sneak a bite...

After tasting the caramel swirl, I knew the coconut macadamia could never live up to it. The caramel was rich and almost bitter from being taken practically to the edge of burning before the cream was added. No namby pamby sweet caramel for me. It lends a complexity that the vanilla plays up without competing with it. This ice cream is some of the best I have ever eaten.
Sneak a bite of the other flavor...


Impossible. The saltiness of the macadamias (which I accidentally left in the oven a bit too long, until they were brown) and the sweet toasted coconut with the rich vanilla backdrop made a flavor as subtle and complex as the caramel was in-your-face.

Not to overstate it, but this recipe blew me away. As written, it's the very best vanilla ice cream you could ever hope to eat or make. But when you let your imagination carry you away, it's transformed from the star to a supporting role. Your flavors can shine because the foundation is solid.

I never thought I could make great ice cream, but Dorie has taught me I can make a lot of great things. All it takes is the right teacher, and letting your mind wander until you find the flavors that speak to you.

If you'd like the recipe, check out Lynne's blog. Or better yet, buy the book. We're cooking from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. It's filled with amazing, fun and even some challenging recipes that will increase your baking repertoire.

36 comments:

Clivia said...

We agree - best vanilla ice cream ever! Love your flavours.

Audrey said...

They both look lethally delicious! Very creative flavors! I thnk the best part of making homemade ice cream is being able to make flavors you can't find in the grocery store...

Cakelaw said...

Oh wow! You can never have too much caramel in my view, although the macadamia coconut sounds good too. Yum!!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Now I need to have ice cream for breakfast?

Mary Ann said...

Wow- great flavor choices. I don't know which one I would like better, they both sound fabulous!

chocolatechic said...

This blew me away too.

Fabulous ice cream.

Katrina said...

Ooh, I love the flavors you used! All this TWD blog hopping today is REALLY making me want some of that ICE CREAM! How strong will I be, knowing some of mine is in the freezer? Sigh.

Megan said...

Rock on girl! Talk about exercising that creativity!!

dharmagirl said...

can i please have some of your caramel swirl ice cream?!? pretty please?!? it looks and sounds so fabulous. i can't wait to see your caramel recipe!

pinkstripes said...

It sounds totally delicious. I love all the additions. It must taste like a tropical paradise.

Lauryn said...

WOW!! Great job with the variations!! These both sound (and look) absolutely incredible!!!

Tammy said...

wow, your variation sounds divine. I agree this is the prefect vanilla ice cream base

SiHaN said...

I love the flavors you've chosen. Bet the contrast of salty, sweet and bitter must have been divine. You're a genius. I'm going to sit here and dream of your flavors. hehe.

Jaime said...

what great add-ins!! i wasn't so creative with this one, just had it plain :)

margot said...

Ooh, I want to try caramel swirl ice cream, yum! Both versions sound great. I make a lot of ice cream and I thought the custard for this one was so delightfully rich, I couldn't wait to churn it.

Pamela said...

I will be patiently waiting for the caramel sauce recipe. I made the hot fudge and I can not stop eating it. Nor can I stop thinking about it. It's everything hot fudge should be. Thank you, my friend!!

Joy said...

sriracha - too funny!!!

Both versions look fantastic! We love ice cream with crunchy stuff, that macadamia looks too good.

AmyRuth said...

Leslie,
I couldn't have said it any better. Dorie's super easy ice cream is absolutely able to stand on its own. So yummy. I can't wait to make it again with some caramel like yours. Oh My Goodness. Yours looks amazing. Thanks for sharing your add ins/swirl ins.
AmyRuth

Sweet as Coco said...

Look at you getting all creative. I kept my vanilla...just vanilla! But...hoping to make some cookies today to enjoy it. ;)

Sara said...

very impressed with your creativity here. I am in love with both flavors. This really is a great blank canvas for so many delicious things! And I will make your hot fudge eventually and pour an unnecessary amount over my ice cream.

sara/imafoodblog.com

Spike said...

oh my god, that sounds amazing!

Kelly said...

Do you mind letting me know where you bought your candy thermometer. I would love to have one like that! thanks.

Leslie said...

Hi Kelly,

My thermometer is a Thermapen. I think I got mine directly from the company, but Amazon sells them now. I love it. It's ideal for taking the temperature of breads in the oven, meats on the grill, double checking the temperature of your custard, tempering chocolate... I could go on and on!

Tracey said...

Oh wow, with a rave review like that, I wish I hadn't played around with the recipe! I tried subbing brown sugar for granulated and didn't love it so I definitely have to try the recipe as written. Both of your versions look amazing but I think I would have gravitated toward the caramel - YUM!

Jacque said...

I agree, best vanilla ice cream ever! And yours looks FANTASTIC with the caramel, macadamia, and coconut... so decadent!

applecrumbles said...

Caramel, macadamia...doesn't get any better.

bakingwiththeboys said...

You had me at caramel sauce. Homemade even. yuummmm

lasinthekitchen said...

I had a good giggle at the sriracha reference! Hee hee, I'm still giggling!
That caramel sauce looks addicting! What an awesome job you did with letting your mind wander! =)

jillbert said...

Both flavors sound great. I'll take one scoop of each!

Cathy said...

Both of your flavors look AMAZING! And you used "caramel" and "ridiculously easy" in the same sentence, which has me wanting to try this caramel sauce so very much. Caramel making in my kitchen usually runs the risk of having to call emergency workers out. Anyway, fantastic job on the ice creams! I agree that this is one fine vanilla!

Rachel said...

This variation looks amazing! I missed this one, but everyone was so into it I think that I'm going to have to give it a try soon!

Kim said...

Wow. Those both look amazing. I stuck with simple and boring vanilla. But it is so good by itself. I'll have to make it again and go crazy.

Michele said...

Your ice cream looks amazing!!

Mary said...

Your ice cream looks fabulous. I bet there is someone out there who has made sriracha ice cream...people put that stuff on everything :).

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Your mind did some pretty nifty wandering; both of those flavors look amazing.

vibi said...

Arghhhhh... it is my death you want! I know it... you want me dead with this killer ice cream! Ahhhhhhh...