Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream (hold the nuts!)

It has been warming up again around here... and will get into the upper 90's this weekend! Totally perfect beach weather, but I'm going to Vegas instead for a friend's big birthday bash. Amazingly enough, Vegas (known for its intense dry heat) will only be in the 80's. Still wonderful, pool lounging, ice cream-eating weather (with tropical drink in hand.) Here's a hot weather recipe for you: another recipe from Ina: Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream (I left out the pecans.)

I picked up the Cuisinart ice cream maker from Costco last summer. Glad I did. It sure is fun to whip up a small batch of ice cream in hot weather. Ina's recipe makes 2 quarts, which is far too much for us (and our ice cream maker) so I halved it with no problems.

The recipe is a little strange. The sugar is caramelized in a saucepan. I went lighter on the caramel color since I was afraid it would get to that point where it might burn just slightly and give my ice cream that lovely burnt flavor. You could actually caramelize to the point where it looks quite dark. In any case, it didn't matter in terms of flavor. Anyway, when you pour in the cream, the caramel solidifies into one big caramel chunk. You then have to return it to low heat and swirl it around in the cream until the caramel incorporates into the liquid. It works, it's just weird. I also fiddled with the fat content (successfully.) Ina calls for all heavy cream. I have a hard time with that- so I subbed part of it for fat free half and half to see what would happen.

The result was a creamy, rich ice cream. A little scoop is plenty. The substitution of the fat free half and half (indicated in the recipe link) probably made it slightly less firm that it might have been with using all heavy cream, but it was good that way. I used Lindt truffles for the chocolate chunks (what Ina recommends.)

Here's a little spoonful for you. Especially those of you who are fortunate enough to have some of this nice, warm weather after enduring your cold winters.

This recipe can be found HERE.