Caramel Ice Cream / Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Adapted from Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream Base #1
Makes 1 quart.
3/4 cup sugar
2 T unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
2 farm fresh eggs
1. Melt sugar over medium or medium-low heat in 2 quart saucepan. Don't stir, just use a heat-proof spatula to move un-melted sugar to the center of the pan. Let sugar melt and caramelize. When it is a deep amber color--before it starts to smoke--add butter and gradually stir in cream. Caramel may seize (harden) and that's okay. Just lower the heat a bit and busy yourself with something else in the kitchen, so that you can keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally while the caramel melts into a sauce. This may take 20 minutes. When the caramel has melted into a rich sauce without clumps, stir in milk and vanilla extract (and sea salt, if you want Salted Caramel Ice Cream). Transfer mixture to a storage vessel and chill thoroughly in refrigerator.*
2. Whisk eggs in bowl of electric mixer on medium speed one minute until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Whisk a few seconds more, then continue to whisk while slowly pouring in chilled caramel mixture.
3. Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions. This ice cream tends to be a little softer than most. Plan to transfer the churned ice cream to the freezer and store at least a few hours prior to serving if you prefer a scoop-able texture.
NOTE: If you have concerns about consuming raw eggs, you could certainly cook them: In step one, after adding milk, but before adding vanilla, temper the eggs by whisking some of the hot caramel mixture into them, then add the the egg-caramel back to the remaining caramel in the saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until custard thickens some. Remove from heat, add vanilla (and salt), strain to remove any "scrambled egg" bits, chill and proceed with Step 3.