Maple Walnut Turtle Ice Cream
For the Ice Cream Base:
- 2 c. whole milk
- 2 c. heavy cream
- ⅔ c. real maple syrup
- 6-8 egg yolks (save your whites in the fridge to eat later or for another project)
- 1 T. whiskey
For the Chocolate:
- 4 oz. dark chocolate chips*
- 2 T. water
For the Walnuts:
- 1 c. walnuts, broken into pieces (can also use pecans)
- 2 T. butter
For the Caramel Sauce:
- ½ c. butter
- ¼ c. water
- 1 c. white sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
Make the Ice Cream Base:
- Mix milk, cream, and syrup in a small saucepan. Heat slowly over very low heat, until syrup dissolves and mixture is warm.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks. When mixture is warm, slowly spoon about 1 cup of the milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking to keep everything moving. Continue whisking and very slowly add the rest of the milk mixture to egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan.
- Place saucepan on very low heat. Find a book to read or turn on the TV, settle in, and stir and stir and stir and stir until the mixture thickens, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. This will take awhile, probably at least 15-20 minutes, maybe longer. DO NOT turn up the heat. Leave the heat low. If the eggs start to scramble (i.e. you see chunks in the mixture), remove from heat immediately. If the mixture is a little thin, you will probably still end up with okay tasting ice cream. If your eggs scramble you will end up with scrambled eggs coated in milk and cream. Better to be safe than sorry. If done correctly, the mixture will thicken to the point that it coats the back of a spoon. You will know it coats the back of a spoon when you dip the spoon in the mixture, remove it, run your finger through it and the line from your finger stays in place.
- When the mixture is finished, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. This will remove any bits of egg that may have cooked. Cool at room temperature for a few minutes, until a skin begins to form. When a skin begins to form, add whiskey, stir, then press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the milk mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming and hardening as it cools.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight to cool. Alternatively, you can cool in the freezer in a few hours. If using the freezer method, make sure to check on the mixture every hour or so and stir so that the sides do not freeze solid.
- Churn ice cream according to ice cream freezer’s directions.
For the chocolate:
- Spread parchment paper over a freezer-safe cookie sheet or casserole dish.
- Melt chocolate in a small saucepan. Add water. The chocolate should be “shiny,” if it still looks dull, slowly add more water. Stir to combine. Adding water is the key to creating “fudgy” style chocolate chunks in your ice cream. Instead of freezing solid into chunks, the chocolate will be soft and pliable.
- Spread chocolate on parchment paper. Freeze.
***It does not matter when you make the ice cream base and chocolate. You can make them at the same time or separately. The chocolate will keep in the freezer for several weeks. However, the nuts and caramel sauce go together. My recommendation is to make the nuts first, then caramel, in close succession.
For the Walnuts:
- Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Continue cooking until it just starts to brown. Add nuts. Stir until toasted, about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently so that the nuts do not burn.
- When finished, spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Make caramel. When caramel is finished, pour over nuts on cookie sheet to make caramel coated walnuts. It does not have to be precise and it is perfectly okay if you have caramel that makes it onto the cookie sheet but not onto a nut. Freeze. *This step is optional but highly recommended.
For the Caramel Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients, except vanilla, in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Cool.
- This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It will solidify in the fridge, simply re-heat to re-liquify. If using for ice cream, make sure to re-heat until it is barely liquid, you don’t want it too hot.
- Pour over walnuts as instructed, above.
- Before churning ice cream, place whatever container you will be storing your ice cream in into the freezer (I use a loaf pan). At this point, you should have assembled your ice cream base, chocolate/fudge chunks, walnuts, and caramel. Remove everything from the fridge/freezer.
- Churn ice cream according to ice cream maker’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, cut the chocolate into small chunks. If walnuts and caramel have become frozen together, break them apart into more manageable chunks.
- The assembly will depend on your ice cream maker’s ability to handle add-ins. This is how I proceed: When the ice cream is almost frozen, slowly add the chocolate chunks into the maker so that the are mixed into the ice cream evenly. When ice cream is finished, remove about ⅓ of the ice cream into container. Layer walnuts, more chocolate, and more caramel, if desired, onto ice cream. Then add another ⅓ of the ice cream, repeat, then add final ⅓ and top everything with more walnuts, chocolate, and caramel. Freeze for another 2-3 hours. Serve.
*I always buy Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips for my everyday baking/eating (mostly eating). However, in one of the early versions of this recipe I ran out of my usual brand and used Nestle Toll House dark chocolate instead. Later, when I switched back to Ghiradelli, both the taste tester and I agreed they tasted “off.” I am not sure what the reason is, but I have switched back to Nestle. I have not tried with any other brand.
This recipe originally appeared at Foodiocentric.