Table Recipes: Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Spicy Cashews

By franco on 2 August, 2008

Dark Caramel Ice Cream with Spicy Cashews

Inspiration will find you in the strangest of places.

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and I’m channel surfing. While looking for something interesting to watch, I come upon Bobby Flay’s new show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Not having enough culinary competition in his life, Iron Chef Bobby Flay travels around America challenging chefs, bakers and cooks at what they do best. In the particular episode, Chef Flay has challenged the ice cream maker extraordinaire, Jeff Sommers, owner and operator of Izzy’s Ice Cream. Needless to say, I’m glued to the TV.

No surprise. Bobby Flay loses this ice cream throwdown. But on the upside, the episode inspired me to tryout a slight variation on Caramel Ice cream.

Using David Lebotivz’s Pear Caramel Ice Cream as a starting point, I remove the pears and replace the refined white sugar with a deep flavored, dark brown sugar instead. For a mix-in, I decide to follow Jeff Sommers’ lead and make my own version of Spicy Cashews. I image the cashews will bring a hot, nutty contrast to the sugary, velvety ice cream.

Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Spicy Cashews
Adapted from David Lebotivz’s The Perfect Scoop

For the Brown Sugar Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

For the Spicy Cashews

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

For the Brown Sugar Ice Cream

Spread the brown sugar evenly at the bottom of a large saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat. Observe the sugar constantly.

Once the sugar at the edges begins to liquefy and darken, slowly stir the sugar. Once the sugar has melted and darken a few shades more, remove it from the heat.

Immediately, stir in one cup of heavy cream. The caramel will seize and harden. Once the caramel has settled, continue stirring until the hardened sugar is fully incorporated into the cream.

Add the remaining cream, milk, salt and vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture completely in the refrigerator, and then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

During the last minute of churning, add the chopped spicy cashews.

Makes 1 liter

For the Spicy Cashews

Preheat your oven at 375C

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to a foamy consistency. Then combine the egg whites with the cashews, sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper.

Toss the mixture until the cashews are evenly coated. Spread the coated cashews on a non-stick baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until the nuts turn a golden brown.

Makes 1 cup

The ice cream is smooth and creamy. The taste is a caramel sweet balanced by a hint of bitter lingering in the background. Not only does the spicy cashews provide some nutty heat but it also adds a contrasting crunch as you dig in.

Television can sometimes provide the sweetest inspiration.




Post a comment
  • AUGUST 3, 2008 2:15 AM

    Stitch said...

    For some reason, this reminds me of the pig candy ice cream of Sebastian's. Of course, cashews and ice cream sounds a lot better than bacon and ice cream. :)

  • AUGUST 5, 2008 3:37 AM

    Joelen said...

    This sounds fabulous. It reminds me of David Lebowitz's recipe for salted caramel ice cream but the addition of spicy cashews is better for texture and flavor contrast.

  • AUGUST 5, 2008 8:39 AM

    Franco said...

    Hi Stich. When you told me about Pig Candy Ice Cream, I nearly fell out of my seat, laughing. It's that kind of creativity that makes Sebastian's my favorite ice cream brand.

    Hi Joelen.For the most part, it is. Sans the white sugar. :) The difference between a Caramel, Brown Sugar and Butterscotch ice cream comes down to one/two ingredients.

    A difference I only learned to appreciate recently. Thanks, Lori.