At some point during the last 24 years, I made a huge mistake. Over the course of collecting diplomas, and earning the grades, gathering the personal references, and hoarding the accolades, I somehow let these things define the essence of me. It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of utility. I was happiest when I was productive and succeeding (who isn’t right?), moving forward, up that ill-defined, but ever elusive ladder. It didn’t matter where the ladder led, so long as I was moving up, amassing and encouraged by all the positive reinforcement society had to offer. But I now suffer the existential repercussions of this. I haven’t climbed all that far up the ladder, but already, I begin to feel that such emphasis on the ladder was utterly stupid. How could I let such superficial place markers define my existence? I had ensnared myself into a self-inflicted trap and made myself incredibly vulnerable. It would only take one minor setback, to hurl me into a messy conundrum of self despair. How could I have been so silly to place so much value and faith into things that I know won’t matter at the end of my life. If there’s anything I had learned from Mitch Albom and Randy Pausch, it’s that none of these things matter.
I am a slave to my own Type-A personality, attached to the yoke and burdened by its weight. It dictates that I cannot produce less than stellar work, and that my own expectations are sky high. But for the first time in 24 years, I am not entirely proud of what I’ve created. If anything, I feel that the products of my labor are meaningless and absolutely insignificant. Sure, this is a reality most people already understand, but for one as sheltered as myself, this comes as shocking, and I am recoiling from the impact. There goes my ego. So today, while I think about what I am, please enjoy yet another ice cream recipe – straight from the beloved Bi-Rite Creamery recipe book.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Source: Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
I realize this is the 3rd consecutive ice cream recipe on the blog – I’ve clearly been having tons of fun with this new toy. Salted caramel is one of my favorite ice cream flavors, and Bi-Rite does an amazing job. Caramel-making can be a bit tricky, but the instructions are posted here on Serious Eats. The darker your caramel (short of burning the sugar, that is), the more intense the flavor – so be sure to allow the sugar to cook to a dark mahogany color. I removed mine from the heat prematurely, and the flavor was not as pronounced as it could have been. Remember though that the caramel will continue to cook for several minutes off-heat, so anticipate that as well.
1 3/4 c heavy cream, room temp
3/4 c sugar, divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cups
3/4 c 1 or 2% milk
1 tsp kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
Follow the directions on Serious Eats to make the caramel. Once the caramel is smooth and all the lumps have disappeared, stir in the milk and salt and cook the mixture until it barely simmers, then turn off heat.
In a separate heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Carefully ladle half cups of the hot caramel/milk into the egg yolks, vigorously whisking to prevent scrambling. Repeat, adding additional half-cups while whisking, until the mixture is entirely incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the pan, and carefully cook the mixture over medium heat until it is thickened and coats the back of a spatula. This is when a clear path holds when you run your finger across the spatula. Strain the custard base, and allow it to cool for at least 2 hours or over night.
Take a break, eat a few cherries, then come back to ice cream making…
When the base is chilled, freeze according to your machine’s instructions. Note that caramel ice cream is much softer than other ice cream flavors, due to the higher sugar content that prevents easy freezing, so the churn may take a bit longer than you are use to. I’d say 30-35 minutes, and freeze for a few hours before consumption. It allows the ice cream to firm up a bit.
Not that it needs anything more, but a bit of dark chocolate fudge topping and nuts push this over the top.
For the other ice cream makers out there, I highly recommend the Bi-Rite book. It is full of useful information, lovely pictures, and really delicious recipes. I’ve tried a few (and will share them shortly), and the results have been beautifully creamy, flavorful, and deliciously refreshing.
I’ll admit that I am a bit glum about this situation, though you’ll never hear me admit that aloud or to people who matter. In the meantime, just taking it day by day, and hoping a spoonful of
sugar ice cream helps it all go down.