salted caramel + chocolate covered potato chip ice cream

I have an obsession with all things salty-sweet. Regular sweets just don’t cut it for me. I’m a sucker for chocolate covered pretzels, and don’t even get me started on pretzel M&Ms. There will never be enough pretzel M&Ms to satisfy me, but that’s another post for another day. Today we are talking about ice cream.

Last summer I discovered the greatest ice cream I have ever had in my life: Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack. Jimmy Fallon smiles on the packaging because he knows what’s up: vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chip clusters.

WHAT.

The first time I bought it, I devoured the whole pint in one sitting and I didn’t regret a single bite. It is safe to say there was always a pint of it in my freezer last summer and it never lasted very long. Wintertime is for cookies and pies and other assorted delicious baked things, so I didn’t give the ice cream another thought until the warm weather crept back in. When I finally went to buy some, my greatest fear had been realized: no more Late Night Snack.

WHY, Ben & Jerry’s?! WHY?

After searching far and wide (and in every grocery store within driving distance of my apartment), I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Creamers

I bought the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment a few years ago and have made a handful of ice creams, but this one really takes the cake. It is salty and sweet and creamy and crunchy and all of the wonderful things that the perfect ice cream should be.

For this recipe, the ice cream base and caramel sauce are made from scratch.  You can go the extra mile and dip your own chocolate covered potato chips, but I used the Trader Joe’s variety and it turned out perfectly.

Chippies CaramelJar

salted caramel + chocolate covered potato chip ice cream
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 large vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup sugar
10 yolks
chocolate covered potato chips, roughly chopped
1/2-1 cup salted caramel sauce, to taste

VanillaBean

If using the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, be sure to place it in your freezer when starting your ice cream base.  It needs to sit in your freezer overnight before it is cold enough to churn ice cream.

Pour the heavy cream, milk, sugar and vanilla into a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Add the vanilla bean and the scrapings and whisk to combine.  Once the mixture has come to a simmer, remove the pan from heat and let it steep for at least an hour.  This will allow the vanilla to really infuse the cream.   When you’re ready to move onto the next step, bring the cream mixture back to a simmer.

Steep

While the cream mixture returns to a simmer, whisk the egg yolks in a glass bowl and set aside.

Yolks

Once the cream mixture has returned to a simmer, remove it from the heat and discard the vanilla bean.

Pour 1/3 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Once the eggs and cream have been incorporated, repeat by pouring another 1/3 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Repeat this step one more time, so that you have combined 1 cup of the hot cream with the egg yolks.

Setup

You want to incorporate the cream mixture in small amounts to slowly warm up the egg yolks (you don’t want them to scramble).

Once you have whisked in 1 cup of the cream and the eggs have warmed up, pour the egg/cream mixture into the pot of cream remaining on the stove.  Stir this mixture over low heat until it starts to thicken and reaches 170-175 degrees on a candy thermometer.  You will know it is done when the mixture sticks to the back of your spoon.

Strain the ice cream base into a shallow dish and allow it to come to room temperature before covering and putting in the fridge.  Allow it to set up in your refrigerator over night.

Custard

Once your ice cream base is cooling, you can make your salted caramel! I used this recipe, which made plenty of caramel sauce to swirl into the ice cream, with some to spare.

MixCaramel4

The next day, remove your ice cream base from the refrigerator.  It should be thickened and cold.   Pour the mixture into your ice cream make and churn until it is thick and creamy, almost like a thick soft-serve ice cream.  This should take about 20-30 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker.  It took about 20 minutes using my KitchenAid attachment.

Mixer

Pour the ice cream into a wide flat container and mix in your chopped up chocolate covered potato chips.

MixIns

Swirl in the caramel last and allow the ice cream to set up in the freezer for at least four hours.

Scoop

Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Cone

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chipotle crusted scallops + roasted poblano and sweet corn risotto

My lack of blogging over the last few weeks can undoubtedly be attributed to the fourth of July holiday.  I had a glorious 11 day vacation from work, during which I rode my bicycle, laid on the beach, played with my dog, drank margaritas in the middle of the afternoon, and indulged in daily afternoon naps.   As cheesy as the term “staycation” may be, it was one of the most relaxing and fun vacations I’ve had in a while.  I avoided all sense of responsibility and normalcy, including cooking (and the impending pile of dishes that would inevitably clutter my tiny apartment kitchen).

But after a few weeks of take-out and meandering boozy brunches, I was itching to get back into the kitchen and make something comforting and familiar.  Nothing new and nerve-wrecking, nothing that would require research and planning.  So, I went with an old favorite: risotto.

Ingredients

Everyone always talks about how difficult and time-consuming making risotto can be, but it’s the first thing I ever taught myself to cook and have made countless variations of the dish over the last several years.  I think that with risotto, practice just makes perfect.  Lucky for you, I have plenty of practice!  I promise to share many more variations of risotto on the blog in the future, but I thought this was a great summery place to start.

I like to do as much of my weekly grocery shopping at the farmer’s market during the summer months, and this is the perfect recipe to use some of that delicious sweet corn that only comes around during this time of year.  Roasting the poblanos gives the rice a deep smoky flavor that compliments the pops of crunchy sweet corn thrown in right at the end.

Roasted Poblano and Sweet Corn Risotto
2 poblano peppers
2 cobs of sweet corn, husks removed
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minces shallot
1 tablespoon minced celery
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4-5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup queso fresco
salt + pepper

Roasted Poblanos

Spray poblano peppers with cooking spray and set on a sheet pan in your broiler.  Broil peppers about 10 minutes per side, until the skin is dark and wrinkly.  When removing the pepper from the broiler, immediately place them in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid for 15 minutes.  This will steam them and allow the skin to separate from the meat of the pepper and will make your life oh-so-much-easier.  Once the 15 minutes are up, remove the skin and seeds from the peppers, roughly chop them and set them aside.

Poblano in Pot

Next you want to prepare your corn.  The magic of sweet corn is that you don’t even need to cook it.  It is sweet and delicious on its own, so this cooking step is quick.  Turn a burner on your stove to high heat and place a cob directly over the flame.  Rotate the cob every few seconds until the corn is slightly blackened on all sides.  Repeat with remaining cobs and let cool.  When the corn has cooled cut the kernels from the cobs and save the kernels for later.

Roasted Corn

CutCorn

Place the cobs in a medium saucepan with the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil and then keep at a simmer until you are ready to start adding the stock to your rice.  Boiling the corn cobs in your chicken stock will really enhance the flavor of the sweet corn in the risotto.

Corn in Stock

Veggies

Set your non-stick pan over medium heat (I love to use my ceramic dutch oven for making risottos for the evenly distributed heat).  When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil.  Once melted, add the garlic, shallots and celery.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened, but not brown.  Next you will add the arborio rice.

Starting Rice

Toasting the rice is a very important step in making a good risotto. You’ll know when it’s ready by the smell.   The rice will give off a nutty, toasty aroma that will fill your kitchen.  Once your rice is toasted, add the poblano peppers and continue to toast for a minute or two to infuse the rice with the poblano flavor.

Add the wine to the rice mixture and cook until the pan is almost dry.  Remove the corn cobs from the chicken stock and discard them.  Once the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle or two of chicken stock and stir until the rice has absorbed almost all of the stock.  this is where the “babysitting” aspect of cooking risotto comes into play.  You want to allow the rice to absorb almost all of the stock before adding more, but you don’t want to let the pan completely dry out.  Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time until the rice is creamy, but still has a slight bite to it.  This will take about 30 minutes.  You may not need all of the chicken stock.

Add Stock

The trickiest part of making risotto is knowing when to stop adding the chicken stock.  Adding too little yields a crunchy risotto, but adding too much yields a mushy risotto.  You’re looking for the middle ground.  The best way to achieve a perfect risotto is to taste the rice after each addition of stock, once it has absorbed most of the moisture.

When the rice has reached the perfect consistency, season with salt and pepper.  Add remaining two tablespoons of butter .  Once the butter has melted, add the corn kernels and stir.  Add the crumbled queso fresco at the very end and stir to combine.

chipotle crusted scallops
1 pound fresh sea scallops
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt + pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 tablespoons butter

Scallops in Pan

Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Combine flour with chipotle powder.  Lightly dredge the scallops in the flour mixture, making sure to shake off the excess.

Crusty Scallops

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes.  When hot, add butter.  When the butter has melted, add scallops in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes per side.  You may need to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your scallops

Done

Bonus:  If you have leftover risotto, stick it in the fridge overnight.  When chilled, it will be easy to roll into balls, lightly flour, and pan (or deep) fry.  Risotto cakes are a great appetizer or can be turned into a full-blown meal when served with a salad.

Dinner for 2