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Chocolate, Salted-Caramel Ice Cream

I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse that there are so many great ice cream shops from which to choose here in the Twin Cities.  Besides scooping up some great and unique flavors, they give me inspiration for coming up with even more ideas.

Here’s the latest one.  It’s a combination of a half-dozen other recipes including a couple of chocolate and salted-caramel, plus a compilation of several methods.

I will definitely make this one again, but I also want to see if I can recreate the Salted-Caramel that is served at Izzy’s Ice Cream [1] shop in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Makes 1 quart

8 ounces (64 – 65 %) chocolate (I used Valhrona Manjari [2])
4 large egg yolks, preferably free-range, organic
1¾ ounces (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
3½ ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1½ cups whole milk (Cedar Summit Farm [3])
1½ cups heavy cream (Cedar Summit Farm)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) premium unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon fleur de sel, divided

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, position a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl that is set in an ice bath (a large bowl containing ice water).

In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs yolks and the 1¾ ounces of sugar until pale yellow.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add the water and 3½ ounces of sugar.  Gently stir just until the water and sugar combine.  Then, swirl to evenly cook the sugar to the color of dark amber.  Add the butter, ½ teaspoon salt and heavy cream.  The caramel will seize but that’s okay.

Stir until the caramel re-melts.  Add the milk and heat to barely a simmer (about 175°F).  Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.

Whisk the milk-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk-caramel mixture in the saucepan; set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 185°F. (Do not allow to boil the mixture.  Otherwise the eggs will curdle.)   Immediately strain the custard into the bowl that is set in the ice bath.  Stir in the cooled chocolate.

Cool the custard to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Cover and refrigerate until an instant-read thermometer registers 40°F or lower, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Pour the custard into the ice cream machine canister and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream.

Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, press plastic wrap flush against the surface, cover the container, and freeze the ice cream until firm, at least 2 hours.  The ice cream will keep for up to 2 days.