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.
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.
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.
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
chocolate covered potato chips, roughly chopped
1/2-1 cup salted caramel sauce, to taste
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.
While the cream mixture returns to a simmer, whisk the egg yolks in a glass bowl and set aside.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pour the ice cream into a wide flat container and mix in your chopped up chocolate covered potato chips.
Swirl in the caramel last and allow the ice cream to set up in the freezer for at least four hours.
Try not to eat it all in one sitting.