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Salted Caramel Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownie Chunk Nutella Swirl Ice Cream · GF (1 quart)

Yeah. That title’s so long it’s jamming up the font. You know what? That’s kind of the point. Which amazing part would you have me leave out in the name of typographical beauty?

This recipe is essentially two parts caramel whisked into one part crème anglaise (aka vanilla bean ice cream base) with all kinds of extra stuff mixed in after churning.

In the version I make at work, I use brown butter hazelnut brownie chunks, but feel free to mix in chunks of your favorite brownie or chocolate cookie. Mixing it up is what mix-ins are all about.

salted caramel brownie ice cream

20 ounces (1 batch) caramel, still warm

3 ounces milk
3 ounces cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 ounces egg yolks
2 ounces sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste

6 ounces brown butter hazelnut brownie chunks
2 ounces "Nutella"

In a small pot, bring the milk and cream to a simmer with the vanilla bean pod. When the mixture begins to bubble, shut off the heat and cover with a lid. Steep for one hour.

If you haven’t already made the caramel, this would be the perfect time. Either way, once you’ve got it, put the caramel in a medium bowl and place a sieve over it. Set aside until later.

When the dairy has finished steeping, return it to a simmer. Whisk together the yolks, sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Once the dairy begins to simmer, fish out the vanilla bean and use a spatula to scrape out all of the heavily flavored cream from inside the pod. That stuff is liquid gold, make sure not to lose a drop. It’s easier to scrape out the vanilla pod while it’s still warm (hence bringing the mix to a simmer) because when cold, the vanilla-goo congeals and sticks more resolutely to the bean.

Now, whisk some of the hot dairy mixture into the egg yolks, one ladle-full at a time, until the egg mixture is quite warm. Then whisk the egg mixture into the pot of cream and turn the heat to medium low. Stir constantly, making sure to scrape all along the bottom of the pot while to avoid allowing any of the mixture to curdle.

Continue cooking and stirring until the ice cream base thickens markedly (“coating the back of a wooden spoon” being the popular description of done-ness).

Immediately shut off the heat and strain the custard through a sieve and into the bowl of caramel. Whisk them together until thoroughly combined.

Give the base a taste and see if you’d like to add more salt. I call for a 1/4 tsp of salt, but really, that’s just a starting point; some people like their “salty caramel” really salty and others like just a hint. Just bear in mind the ice cream will be paired with brownie chunks and "Nutella", so salt plays an important roll in offsetting all that sugar.

Cool in an ice bath and refrigerate overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. In my experience, this ice cream can take much longer to freeze than other ice creams. Don’t be alarmed, it will churn up eventually, just give it some extra time.

While the ice cream is churning, toss the brownie chunks with the "Nutella" in a medium bowl, until evenly coated. The measurements given are rough; you may find you want more chunks or more "Nutella." Use your judgement; remember more is more.

When the ice cream has finished churning, fold in the "Nutella" coated brownie chunks, transfer to a container and freeze.


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Any questions?

Feb 03, 2012 ·  1:58 AM

I’m totally making this! I have a few questions about the recipe though. 6 oz of milk and cream doesn’t seem like it would yield very much ice cream. Is that really all you need for a batch? Also, how many egg yolks equals 2 oz? Please let me know!

 · JJ · 

Feb 03, 2012 · 10:35 AM

@JJ, it seems like not very much dairy, but more than making up the bulk of the ice cream, that 6 ounces is just thinning down the 20 ounces of caramel to a churn-able state. It actually makes a lot of ice cream!

Eggs can vary considerably from size to size and whether natural/organic or conventional. For me, it takes between 4-5 eggs to get 2 ounces, but I’m using really small eggs from a nearby farmer. With larger, grocery store eggs you may need only 2 or 3. That’s why I’ve come to rely on determining the weight of the yolks rather than the number of eggs; too much variation!


Feb 05, 2012 ·  3:58 AM

Thanks for the response! I made the custard and I’m a little worried how the consistency turned out. It pretty much looks like caramel sauce and I can’t see how it wil churn into ice cream. Is the custard supposed to be super caramely? I’m wondering if I should make a little more milk/cream and egg mixture to add to it..let me know what you think!

 · JJ · 

Feb 05, 2012 · 11:17 AM

@JJ, so just to be totally clear: did you use a scale? If so, everything will be fine! It’s pretty much just pure caramel thinned down with a little anglaise. This is the exact recipe I use at work, so if you didn’t stray from it, you’ll be fine.


Feb 05, 2012 · 11:50 AM

I didn’t use a scale, but I measured out 2oz of egg yolks in a measuring cup (used 3 yolks). I think I may have made a little more caramel than the recipe yields. I added about 2 extra oz of cream and sugar for the caramel, but that doesn’t seem like a big enough amount to mess up the custard. Should I make a little more anglaise to add to it?

 · JJ · 

Feb 05, 2012 · 12:11 PM

@JJ, I think you’ll be fine without the extra anglaise. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot doing things like ice cream without a scale (the perfect ice cream is a delicate balance of sugar, fat and liquid), but that being said, this recipe is fairly forgiving; I’ve made it many times at work by just eyeballing out some anglaise and caramel together in a bowl.

Go ahead and churn it up as-is and, fingers crossed, you will have delicious ice cream later today! You might have already read it, but I recently wrote a post describing why I love my scale so much, you may need one soon too!


Feb 11, 2012 · 11:57 AM

So I’m not sure if it was something did, but this ice cream was suuuuuper sweet and it didn’t really freeze up. It was kind of more like a goopy thick caramel cream. I think there was just too much caramel in the custard to allow it to freeze up. I wish it had turn out better! (the brownies were great though )

 · JJ · 

Feb 11, 2012 · 12:21 PM

@JJ, aw, I’m sorry the ice cream didn’t work out for you (but yay for the brownies!) after all the back and forth. I make this ice cream at work often, but I use a professional ice cream machine there. It may be it has a more powerful freezing element that does a better job of churning such a high-sugar ice cream. I will make up a batch this week and see how it churns up on my ice cream maker at home, I don’t know if this could be the problem or if it maybe relates back to the lack-of-scale; but will report back what I find.


Mar 09, 2012 · 11:07 PM

Hi Stella,
I just made your salt caramel ice cream, and it was unbelievably good. Thank you!I left out the brownies and nutella- the caramel flavour, especially with the salt,is so rich and warm it hardly needs anything else, I think. (Wow, flavours are hard to describe! I’m a musician, and we have this same issue in music-how do you accurately describe a beautiful tone?) I also left out the sugar in the creme anglaise- I just made it with cream and eggs- since I tend to like things a bit less sweet than many people.


 · Caitlin · 

Mar 12, 2012 · 12:58 PM

@Caitlin, I’m so glad to hear it turned out nicely for you, even without the anglaise sugar. Good to know! My husband’s a musician, we often talk about the difficulties in our work that come from the need to accurately describe subjective experiences like taste and sound. It’s tough! But I think you put it beautifully. Thank you.


Dec 07, 2012 ·  4:50 PM

Hi Stella, Can you explain what simmering means? I’m a beginner at baking/cooking and I’m confused about how long to simmer?

 · Mary · 

Dec 09, 2012 ·  6:25 PM

Hi Mary! Simmering is just cooking some sort of liquid until it begins to bubble. It’s the stage before boiling; there are some bubbles, but they move more slowly and gently. In this case, I just mean to heat the milk and cream together until they’re super hot and you see a few bubbles. Hope that makes sense!


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