Butter Pecan Brittle Ice Cream

Y’all. I think Ample Hills Creamery has ruined me for ice cream. It’s just so good.

The last ice cream recipe I posted was from their cookbook, and this one is even better.

And I’m in love with the pecan brittle that this calls for. I’m usually kind of wary of nut brittles – probably a holdover from my youth when I cracked a tooth. Admittedly, that was on a pretzel (there were issues with that tooth!), but I’m permanently cautious around foods that seem like they could result in dental work. Not so with this brittle!

The pecan brittle is light and crunchy and delicious. It’s got the lovely toffee/caramel flavor without the tooth-cracking hardness.

I don’t know if it holds up outside the ice cream – I left town and accidentally left the ziplock with the surplus brittle un-locked. And since it’s humid as all get out here in the summer, the brittle lost its brittle-ness (and I think took on a bit of flavor from the baggie of smoked paprika that was open next to it – bleh!!). But! I’ll probably make it around the holidays and doubt it’ll last long enough to go soft. It’s just too yummy.

Pair that with a brown sugar ice cream, and this stuff is better than any regular butter pecan ice cream I’ve ever had! And I’ve had/made some good butter pecan ice cream before.

Not gonna lie – I’m not sure any other ice cream cook books measure up. I also made some ice cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams last week, and it’s just not as good… but. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m just glad I can make something this delicious at home!

**Note – Golden Syrup (AKA light treacle) is a somewhat specialty ingredient. I found it at Fresh Market (it’s not at Whole Foods or Earth Fare), but you can also order it online.

Butter Pecan Brittle Ice Cream (from the Ample Hills Creamery cookbook)

Grade: A+

for the Pecan Brittle

  • 12 oz pecans, broken into pieces and toasted
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

for the Brown Sugar Ice Cream

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk powder
  • 1 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the pecan brittle: line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat mat.

In a medium saucepan, combine the syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and water. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until the ingredients are combined and sugar has dissolved, then stop stirring and cook until the mixture reaches 305°F (150°C) – roughly 15 minutes, but keep watch over it.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the pecans and baking soda. Whisk vigorously for a few moments to combine. Move quickly, as the mixture will begin to set as the temperature drops. Spread the mixture evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Let it cool until brittle – at least 2 hours.

Chop it into bite sized pieces and store in an airtight container or freezer until ready to use.

To make the ice cream: prepare an ice bath in the sink or a large heatproof bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, skim milk powder, and milk. Whisk until smooth, making sure the powder is wholly dissolved and that no lumps remain. Stir in the cream.

Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture reaches 110°F (45°C), 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.

Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour about a half a cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk/pour the egg-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.

Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat, and continue cooking and stirring until it reaches 165°F (75°C), another 5-10 minutes.

Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Pour ice cream mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and chill for at least 1-2 hours.

When ready to mix, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. Fold in the pecan brittle pieces after the ice cream is churned and you are transferring the ice cream to a storage container. (You won’t use the whole batch)

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