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Monday July 11, 2011

The Art of Leftovers secrets from the pastry kitchen

In get-to-know-you type conversations, people often ask me, “What’s your favorite thing to make?” They probably expect a generic answer, “Oh, I love everything!” As if I considered my desserts precious children that I could never choose between.

If desserts are my children, then I am one bad mother…

salted caramel brownie chunk ice cream

Heck yeah, I have a favorite: ice cream. And everyone inevitably acts surprised. Perhaps these people think of me as a baker, and outside of “Baked Alaska” one does not routinely bake ice cream. But seriously? You wouldn’t act surprised to hear a CPA loves to file tax returns; why wouldn’t I love making ice cream?

The follow up question never varies from the script, “Oh, really? What kind of ice cream?”

Okay, now I’m being asked to choose. I panic, “Uh, um…Ice cream flavored ice cream.”

Truly, I love ice cream with all of my whole-milk heart. Making it. Eating it. Thinking of it. Writing about it. Engaging in all of those activities at the same time, perhaps even at this very moment…

fresh cream, caramel, gooey ice cream and brownies

Stripped down to nothing more than its key components, ice cream speaks for itself. The flavor of simple vanilla bean ice cream hinges entirely on the quality of the ingredients used. When you skimp on good quality dairy and eggs, you’ll notice an astonishing difference.

Conversely, in its most complex form, ice cream speaks not of itself, but of the person who made it. Not that I really want to know what a batch of “Salted Caramel Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownie Chunk Nutella Swirl” says about me. (Possibly that I have no sense of subtlety…)

Ice creams like this utilize every aspect of the sweet kitchen. Cooking custard: crème anglaise. Working sugar: dark caramel. Confectionery: "Nutella" (well, faux-gianduja). Baking: brown butter hazelnut brownies.

a dish of salted caramel ice cream and brownies

A bowl of this makes a composed dessert of its own, filled with contrasting flavors and textures. Silky, chewy, crunchy, salty, bitter, sweet…This sort of ice cream parlor style recipe, chock full of mix-ins, marks the dividing line between home and professional baking. Not because of any inherent difficulty but because it involves so many disparate components.

In a restaurant, ice creams like this come together out of convenience and thrift. I don’t build it from the ground up, but rather pull it together from things I’ve already made. At home, we have the luxury of throwing away our dessert scraps: trimmings, odds and ends, that last bit something. Restaurant “leftovers” happen on a grander scale and with more expensive ingredients.

On a given menu, I may use "Nutella," anglaise, brownies, and caramel sauce as components for various desserts. After running that menu for a time, I have a little of everything leftover in the end: not enough to keep on the menu, but too much to throw away. Having made everything painstakingly from scratch, I can’t overstate my reluctance to literally throw away that hard work.

And why should I? Whisking some of that caramel into the anglaise, running it through an ice cream maker, chunking in the brownie scraps, and drizzling in "Nutella" makes me a hero.

dish of brownie chunk ice cream and a spoon

The next week, I might not have brownie chunks, but a handful of broken graham crackers. Some extra ganache instead of caramel. A few smoked vanilla bean marshmallows trimmings. S’mores ice cream, anyone?

So if you have an ice cream maker, stop throwing away delicious scraps. Ask yourself, “Would this taste phenomenal stirred into ice cream?” If you answer yes, your inner Ben and/or Jerry is on to something (unless you’re pregnant, in which case please consult with a family member to verify the deliciocity of your idea). In either case, get out a Ziploc bag and start hoarding those mix-ins.

Many thanks to Sarah Jane Sanders for stopping by Table 310 to take these photos for me. She loves photographing ice cream as much as I love making it, so expect more ice cream based adventures from us soon.

Salted Caramel Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownie Chunk Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

Recipes for the individual components:
brown butter hazelnut brownies

posted byStellaand filed under:  Chocolate  Gluten Free  Ice Cream  Sarah Jane

44 comments and counting

Jul 11, 2011 · 11:42 AM

love the styling . looks extremely delicious , wish i could just eat it from the pic

 · A Spoonful of YUMM ! ·

Jul 11, 2011 · 11:47 AM

Umm this looks so delicious

 · Notyet100 ·

Jul 11, 2011 · 11:49 AM

Now that’s ice cream!

 · Nicole ·

Jul 11, 2011 · 11:58 AM

Love the way you think! I’d just throw it on the family meal table, half empty squeeze bottles of sauces and broken brownie pieces (also an honorable thing) but this would be even more honorable! xoxo; oh and Sarah did gorgeous pictures! Love them!

 · Nelly Rodriguez ·

Jul 11, 2011 · 12:52 PM

the name of this ice cream really says it all-packed with flavor. Nothing like having what I would call a real “evil” indulgence like this every once in a while-Yum!

 · Tina@flourtrader ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  1:29 PM

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I think “Salted Caramel Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownie Chunk Nutella Swirl” says that you are amazing, and that it’s only noon and I am officially craving each of the above named elements individually, and combined in ice cream form. That sounds TOO good, like all that amazingness would combine to form something dangerously delicious… Which, apparently, it has.

 · christine [the sugar apothecary] ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  3:33 PM

This has to be the best ice cream flavor ever!

 · Maria ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  3:50 PM

Dang. I love your philosophy. Could you be any cooler?

 · tammy ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  3:58 PM

‘Not that I really want to know what a batch of “Salted Caramel Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownie Chunk Nutella Swirl” says about me’

It says you are an absolute genius.

Wow…im speechless, this is just plain decadence in a bowl

 · Sasha @ The Procrastobaker ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  4:30 PM

Stella. I think you should move to London.
This is not at all a selfish idea motivated by my love of ice cream.

 · isabel ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  4:34 PM

ahhh those pictures remind of “dulce de leche granizado”, my favorite ice cream in the world, yet one I can only get in Argentina (if I can taste it elsewhere I haven’t found that magical place yet). It’s dulce de leche with big chunks of dark chocolate…perfection…
When I finally save enough money to buy a Kitchen Aid, I’ll also get the ice cream attachment to make yours, which I’m sure is delicious.

 · Marcela ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  5:53 PM

That is all sorts of amazing! Ice cream is my favourite too…

 · brilynn ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  5:54 PM

Looks wonderful! Refreshing! Perfect recipe on a hot day, like today.

 · Christine ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  7:00 PM

I must say that I have never seen or heard of a more delightful icecream- simply yummy- all the flavors- caramel, nutella..I m in heaven!

 · Tanvi@SinfullySpicy ·

Jul 11, 2011 ·  7:46 PM

Wow, I love all of you guys! It really blew me away when I came home from work to find so many comments. I guess y’all are ready for some ice cream today.

@Spoonful, all the styling credit goes to Ms. Sarah!

@Notyet100 @Nicole it’s 99 here in Kentucky today, in this kind of heat, I have to bring my ice cream A game.

@Nelly, there’s no honor among calories. XD

@Tina @christine Yeah, I couldn’t leave a single word out of that title, all too good!

@Maria, possibly! I have a few tricks up my sleeve yet this summer…

@tammy haha, thanks.

@Sasha, Procrasto Baker? I think you might be the genius.

@isabel, only if I can be your flatmate.

@Marcela, okay now I’m intrigued. That sounds killer, I will have to undertake that ASAP! Perhaps I can recreate a version for you.

@brilynn @Christine yay ice cream!!

@Tanvi, yeah, it’s definitely an “everything but the kitchen sink” sort of recipe.


Jul 12, 2011 ·  1:24 AM

I love three things about this post.
1) The idea. There’s something to be said for plain ice cream. But there’re about four things to be said for this stuff.
2) The photos. I love simple styling. Great job on those pictures.
3) The writing. You cracked me up right from the start. I’m totally subscribing. Great post.

 · Jacob ·

Jul 12, 2011 · 11:02 AM

Hot damn, that’s some badass ice cream. Salted caramel? Nutella? Oh yes. I absolutely need this!

 · Parsley Sage ·

Jul 12, 2011 · 12:34 PM

I MUST buy an ice-cream maker asap. This looks fabulous!!

New to your blog; happy I found you!

Mary xo

 · Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls ·

Jul 12, 2011 · 12:48 PM

Holy heck this looks amazing! Whilst I don’t have a great assortment of “leftovers” like you do, I do have a few chocolate chip cookies that would be perfect in an ice cream! Thanks for the inspiration =)

 · Peggy ·

Jul 12, 2011 ·  7:28 PM

Delicious!!! What a great post and pictures, love this!

 · Kelly ·

Jul 12, 2011 · 11:09 PM

@Jacob, wow, thank you so much! I’ll definitely pass the point of number 2 on to Sarah, all the credit definitely goes to her on that one.

@Parsley Sage, Best. Comment. Ever.

@Mary, Yeah, you definitely need an ice cream maker STAT!

@Peggy, oh yeah, Chocolate Chip Cookies are totally fair game.

@Kelly, thanks. I’m not sure we can eat ourselves skinny with this one, but it’s worth a shot.


Jul 13, 2011 · 11:54 AM

I’ve never seen a more tempting ice cream. YUM YUM! Salted caramel, hazelnut brownies and nutella all inside ice cream. You should market this or offer to sell the recipe to Ben and Jerry’s. It sounds and looks THAT GOOD.

 · Chocolate Central ·

Jul 13, 2011 ·  5:27 PM

@Chocolate Central, haha, put in a word with Ben & Jerry for me, wouldja?


Jul 14, 2011 ·  9:12 AM

I love ice cream and the more stuff mixed in with it the better. This looks amazing and now I will probably be thinking about it all day.

 · kitchenarian ·

Jul 14, 2011 · 10:37 AM

Stella, I love your tip – going to think of adding in some extra stuff lying around and adding to that churning ice-cream bowl. Beautiful photos, too. Now you’ve got me dreaming of ice cream…

 · Jill Colonna ·

Jul 14, 2011 ·  7:18 PM

@kitchenarian, I do have a serious love of mix-ins, if you didn’t notice. Happy dreaming!

@Jill, I’m lucky to have so many photographer friends like Sarah willing to trade dessert for photos! Whenever I see people toss yummy kitchen scraps (like carrot cake trimmings. hello! carrot cake ice cream!) it makes me sad.


Jul 16, 2011 · 11:08 AM

0% waste is a beautiful thing! I don’t usually go for mix ins, but I want a bowl of this for breakfast with my cup of coffee. Now.

 · Mallowsota · 

Jul 17, 2011 ·  3:00 AM

It’s calling my name. I don’t care if it’s eleven degrees celsius down here in Oz I WANT IT!

 · erin ·

Jul 17, 2011 ·  5:03 PM

That’s a pretty epic and enticing looking ice cream! Ice cream making is so much fun!

 · Dana ·

Jul 17, 2011 ·  9:35 PM

@Mallowsota, yeah my food cost is a dreamy 12%

@erin, I can’t stop eating ice cream just because there are icicles on the window. Hang tough!

@Dana, love love love ice cream. Making it is the best, no question. Thanks for stopping by!


Jul 19, 2011 ·  9:59 AM

I. Am. Fainting.

 · Gail  ·

Jul 20, 2011 ·  6:32 PM

Here I was thinking, that looks great but man what a lot of work for a batch of ice cream. I appreciate the sincerity (and the really useful tip)! Now if only the leftovers around here were things like cake trimmings and marshmallows— the only leftovers we ever have are failed experiments (beet cake, weird oily donuts) which I doubt would be improved by folding them into ice cream base. (Your blog is hilarious, by the way.)

 · Eva ·

Jul 21, 2011 ·  9:44 AM

@Gail , haha, hang in there!

@Eva, I will concede that my line of work gives me especially amazing leftovers. Weird Oily Donut Ice Cream doesn’t have that same ring….


Sep 10, 2011 ·  3:17 PM

Okay, ice cream is now my official favorite food. I really wish I could try that right now… It’s 80 degrees. I need ice cream. And great photos!

 · iloveicecream · 

Sep 11, 2011 ·  6:41 PM

@iloveicecream, yeah, you would definitely have enjoyed this batch. The circumstances were just right for it to come into existence, who knows when I’ll ever have such an excellent collection of leftovers again!


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