Welcome to another edition of Ice Cream Fridays. Every Friday you can look forward to a new ice cream recipe which will hopefully inspire you to break out your old dust covered ice cream maker that is hiding somewhere in a closet (yes, I'm talking about you). Since I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas, feel free to leave me a comment here on my blog or on my facebook page, and let me know what ice cream flavor you would like to see. Who knows, you might just get lucky and it will be featured the following week.
I blame my husband for this flavor. He had checked out my open TasteSpotting site and this recipe caught his eye. He was sold then and there! I on the other hand, was not convinced about adding bacon to an ice cream. But hey, this is my blog, and I can at least try everything once, right? Isn't that what being a food blogger is all about? Trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone for recipes that you might not have made normally? See, I knew you would all nod your head in agreement.
The ice cream starts by taking some bacon (I used center cut), laying it out on a foil covered baking sheet and sprinkling it generously with brown sugar. The bacon is baked until dark and caramelized. Once crisp, it is set aside to cool and firm up on a baking rack before chopping into little pieces.
Meanwhile I got started on the brown butter ice cream. I made a few ever so slight changes to the recipe to bring out more flavor. First up, butter is melted in a saucepan, I actually let it get brown (the recipe did not mention this step) before adding in brown sugar and half-and-half. Once the mixture is hot, you proceed as you do with any custard based ice cream. After the mixture has thickened, I strained it into the rest of my half and half and added brandy, vanilla, and cinnamon. This mixture is then chilled before churning it in an ice cream maker until thick. During the last few minutes, the cooled, caramelized bacon bits are added.
So, what did we think? Well, despite all of my reservations, I have to give credit where credit is due, this was surprisingly delicious! My husband loved this flavor (it doesn't get more "manly" than with bacon), and my boys loved it as well. I thought the base was amazing with the brown butter flavor and I did like the crunch the bacon provided, but was slightly thrown off by the smokiness left after each bite. The only one who absolutely did not care for this flavor was my teenage daughter. She was totally revolted after her first and only bite. Will I be making this ice cream again? Maybe. In the right entertainment setting, it could be fun to serve, but I certainly won't be stocking it in my freezer. If you are adventurous go ahead, give it a try, and let me know what you think about this one!
Brown Butter Candied Bacon Ice Cream
(adapted from Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck and as featured on TasteSpotting)
For the bacon:
5 strips bacon (I used center cut)
approx. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the ice cream base:
3 tablespoons (45 g) salted butter
3/4 cup (170 g) packed dark brown sugar
2 3/4 cups (675 ml) half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons brandy (whiskey or dark rum will work too)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
For the bacon: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the strip of bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon. Bake for 12 -16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that's collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until deep brown (watch carefully during the last few minutes). Remove from oven and cool the strips on a rack.
Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces.
For the ice cream base: Melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Cook the butter, watching carefully, until caramel colored. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups of the half-and-half.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens. Pour the cooked custard through a strainer into a large bowl containing the rest of the half-and-half (1 1/4 cups). Add brandy, vanilla and cinnamon (if using) and whisk together.
Chill the mixture for about 5 hours in the refrigerator. Once thoroughly chilled pour into ice cream maker and chill according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last couple minutes of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.