Winter Worthy Brown Butter Ice Cream

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It’s starting to get chilly outside…chilly enough to wear a “real” coat and cold enough to be forced to wear socks (I wait to wear socks until it becomes unbearable…in my mind, if I’m not wearing socks, it can’t be that cold…and if it can’t be that cold, winter isn’t really here yet).I’m good at mind games.

But, like it or not, winter is around the corner and the cold weather is upon us.  And when the weather is cold, we tend to think of certain foods – steaming mugs of hot chocolate, bowls of chili topped with cornbread, large pots of simmering, hearty soups and ice cream.

Okay, maybe not ice cream.

But, this  ice cream is soooo good that you will think of it during winter…and spring…and summer….and fall.
I made this at the beginning of the summer for a barbeque I was invited to; I brought a basket with jars of toppings like cookie crumbles, Skor pieces,and hunks of dark chocolate along with a tray of home made waffle cones.  It was a good conversation piece.  But I thought people would talk about the cones (or even the cute toppings), but noooo…it was the ice cream!
Who would have thought that a simple ice cream could be that good?
But it is that good…and you need to try it…like now…

8 tbsp butter
2 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c milk (anything but skim)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
1 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt


1.  In a skillet, melt the butter and heat over medium heat until it begins to brown (you have to be careful here because it can burn…when you start to see brown speckles at the bottom of the pan, it’s done); set aside.  It will have a nutty smell and it may have some foam on top (like this above)…that’s okay!

2.  In a medium sized saucepan, heat the cream, milk and vanilla together on low heat; bring to a simmer or until you can see tiny bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan…careful not to boil it.

3.  In a mixing bowl, with a whisk attachment if you have it, beat the egg yolks at high speed.  Add brown sugar and salt and mix again until light and fluffy; slowly add the cooled butter and whisk again.

4.  To this egg mixture, very slowly add the warm milk in a stream while the mixer is going; mix again until combined well.

4.  Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and heat on medium/low until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon…

…like this!  When you think it is the consistency of a thin custard, take the wooden spoon out and run your finger down the back of the spoon; if the mixture make a line like this, it’s good to go!

5.  This step is optional, but if you are a beginner “ice creamer”, put the mixture through a strainer to ensure a smooth mixture (the sieve will catch any bits – like the icky white “slime” that connects the yolk to the white)

6.  If you have time, the best way to make this is to cool this mixture in the fridge overnight and put it into an ice cream maker the next day.  If you need it that same day, wrap the outside of the bottom of the bowl with a wet, cold dish towel and place it in the freezer to cool it off; stir it every 20 minutes or so until it is completely cool.

7.  When it’s cool, pour it into your ice cream maker (if you don’t have one, you can always pour the mixture into a 9×13″ pan and place in the freezer but you need to stir it often and that can be a pain!).  I bought my ice cream machine (above) in the middle of the summer for $60 on sale but there were also plenty of them on Ebay when I checked for around $30 brand new.  Run the machine until it becomes creamy and has the consistency you want (remember, it will get very hard in the freezer when you transfer it to a container…in the machine, you are looking for the consistency of soft serve ice cream).
8.  Transfer the ice cream to a container with a lid and store in the freezer until you are ready to serve it.
9.  Now…THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP….put the covered container underneath a bunch of stuff in the freezer so you can’t see it.  If you just leave it there, all exposed and everything, for everyone (including you) to see every time the freezer is open, it will be gone in no time…you are just asking for trouble.It’s that good.