I was an early convert to the almond milk movement so I figured venturing into the realm of almond baked goods was a natural next step for me. As with most flavors, I started with ice cream. Throw in some caramel sauce and this caramel almond ice cream recipe has me in love.
Like the pecan, almonds are drupes and not true tree nuts. That hasn’t slowed them down though! Almonds are California’s top agricultural export as well as one of the United States’ largest specialty crop exports. No wonder I’m always itching to load up on more when I turn down the nut aisle at the grocery store.
If you’ve been reading the blog a while, you’ve probably realized that my ice cream machine is my second most-used kitchen appliance. I’ve had it for nearly 3 years and it continues to churn amazingly creamy and decadent batches of ice cream on a weekly basis for me. Sure, no-churn ice cream recipes can be easier and just as delicious (I’m looking at you no-churn cookies and cream ice cream) but they’ll never compare to a well-churned custard-based ice cream. Have I convinced you to buy an ice cream machine yet?
The ice cream went through a couple variations while I tried to figure out the best way to incorporate the almond flavoring. The first batch was a sweet cream base with the toasted almonds, caramel sauce and some dark chocolate chunks mixed in. While it was okay overall, the almonds got a bit soggy over time so I felt they would be better added as a topping. Eventually I also dropped the chocolate and added the almond extract to the actual ice cream to give it a more powerful almond flavor. Go big or go home, right?
When pouring the caramel sauce into the ice cream batter, it will lose its shape and get mixed into the batter. To prevent this, I kept the caramel sauce separate until the churning process was done. That’s when I drizzled it between layers of the ice cream base to make sure each and every bite has that sweet bite of the caramel to balance to almond. The toasted almonds are so perfectly crunchy that I add those on at the very end, keeping them fresh in an airtight container at room temperature to prevent any moisture from the fridge to make them soft.
- 1 ½ cup sugar, divided
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup almond slices
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Start by preparing the ice cream base. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining ½ cup of sugar together vigorously for about 1 - 2 minutes. In a saucepan, combine the milk followed by the remaining 2 cups heavy cream and heat uncovered over medium heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly temper cream mixture into egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Add batter back to saucer over medium heat until internal temperature returns to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once desired temperature is achieved, remove from heat and mix in almond extract. Place batter in fridge to completely cool before adding to the ice cream machine, about 8 hours (or overnight).
- Next, make the caramel sauce. Add 1 cup of the sugar to a saucer and heat over medium high heat. Keep an eye on sugar as it melts, stirring it with a wooden spoon. Once sugar has melted fully and turned a nice amber color, remove from the heat. Whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream - the mixture will bubble up but keep whisking until the consistency returns to a thick smooth mixture.Remove the caramel sauce from heat. Place it in the fridge until ready to churn the ice cream.
- Next, make the almonds. Place pan over stovetop on medium heat. Add sliced almonds - as they cook they will become very aromatic. When they start to brown (after about 2-3 minute), turn them over and finish cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and put aside for serving (store in an airtight container once almonds have cooled completely)
- Once cool, put batter in ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- When the churn is done, place a thin layer of ice cream in your ice cream container. Drizzle a layer of caramel on top. Repeat with all of the ice cream and 3/4 of the caramel until done. When serving the ice cream, top ice cream with sprinkling of toasted almonds and the rest of the caramel sauce.