Brown Butter Ice Cream with dulce de leche and english toffee bits

by Jillian
Nutty, toasted brown butter ice cream loaded with English toffee bits and thick pockets of dulce de leche!

Nutty, toasted brown butter ice cream loaded with English toffee bits and thick pockets of dulce de leche!

I’m sure I’m not the only one shouting this from the rooftops, but CAN IT BE 2021 ALREADY?!?!

As someone who’s tried her hardest to make the best of this crummy year, I think I’ve finally had it. First, it was Covid. Then it was all of the rioting and looting everywhere. Now, it’s wildfires…2020 just needs to sit the eff down and shut up.

Luckily, I have the ability to release some of this stress and anxiety through baking. Not only does it require a lot of time and focus, but the result is always something delicious to take your mind off of the unpredictable things life can bring.

So while the view from my window right now is looking a little post-apocalyptic due to the thick haze and toasty-looking trees caused from what seems like never-ending smoke, at least I have this beyond decadent ice cream to counteract some of these not-so-pretty moments in life.

This ice cream HAS. IT. ALL. Not only is it infused with the undeniably godlike flavor that is brown butter, but it’s ALSO brimming with swirls of rich dulce de leche and chocolatey bits of English toffee! It’s all of my favorite flavors in one PHENOMENAL ice cream. 

For those of you not familiar with the flavor of brown butter, it has a toasty, nutty, almost toffee-like taste to it. During the process of browning butter, the water evaporates, and the milk solids get toasted, separating from the butterfat at the same time. What you’re left with is a golden liquid containing ultra flavorful brown bits of deliciousness. Although most recipes recommend unsalted butter, when it comes to browning butter, my preference is salted butter. I’ve found that the salt just intensifies the brown butter flavor, making it much more noticeable in anything I add it to. 

Once you have your gorgeous brown butter, it’s time to make the custard/ice cream base. For sweetness, I went with a combination of granulated and brown sugar. I wanted a little maple flavor, but I didn’t want it to outshine the flavor of the brown butter, so I just went with a 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated. The brown butter and sugars are whisked together with 5 eggs yolks and a little salt before gradually being combined with a hot mixture of milk and cream. Then the custard takes a trip to the stove for a few minutes until it’s thickened and coats the back of a spoon. At this point the vanilla is stirred in. For extra assurance, the custard is poured through a fine mesh sieve to remove any impurities. 

To speed up the cooling process, I like to pour my custard into a large shallow container before placing it in the refrigerator. It cuts the chilling time down immensely, which means less time that you have to wait to revel in ice cream ecstasy.

After the custard has been properly chilled, it takes a whirl in the ice cream machine until thick and creamy. During the last minute or so of churning, the toffee bits are added to the ice cream base. I, however, ended up shutting my ice cream machine off and using a silicone spatula to manually stir in the toffee bits myself. 

Now, the key to getting those perfect swirls of dulce de leche all throughout the ice cream is layering. First, you’ll want to warm up your dulce de leche a little by heating it in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. You want it soft, but not hot or else you’ll risk melting the ice cream base when it’s being swirled in.

Nutty, toasted brown butter ice cream loaded with English toffee bits and thick pockets of dulce de leche!

NOW you’re ready to layer! Pour a third of the ice cream into the bottom of a freezer-safe container/pan. Then spoon a few dollops of the dulce de leche evenly over the ice cream–you’ll use about a 1/4 cup. Repeat these steps two more times with the rest of the ice cream and dulce de leche before using a knife or skewer to swirl figure-eights all throughout. Allow the ice cream to chill in the freezer for a few hours, or for as long as you can keep yourself from taking a giant serving spoon to it while binge-watching old episodes of Supermarket Sweep. 

Nutty, toasted brown butter ice cream loaded with English toffee bits and thick pockets of dulce de leche!

Brown Butter Ice Cream with Dulce De Leche And English Toffee Bits

Nutty, toasted brown butter ice cream loaded with English toffee bits and thick pockets of dulce de leche!
Prep Time 1 hour
Chilling Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup heath toffee bits
  • ¾ cup dulce de leche

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As the butter melts, it’ll start to foam, then turn a clear golden color. Continue to stir the butter, scraping up any browned specks from the bottom of the pan as it starts to brown. It should have a nutty aroma. Once browned and nutty, transfer to a shallow bowl; cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, both sugars, and salt together until mixture is fluffy and lightened in color. Add the brown butter, whisking until fully combined.
  • Pour the heavy cream and milk into a large saucepan, and stir constantly over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Pour about a cup of the warmed cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until smooth. Slowly pour the rest of the cream into the bowl, whisking until combined.
  • Transfer custard back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Immediately pour the custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or large glass measuring cup. Whisk in the vanilla until smooth. Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, about 4 hours.*
  • Once the custard is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. While ice cream is churning, place the dulce de leche in a microwave-safe bowl and warm in the microwave about 15-20 seconds, or until less thick and a softer consistency.
  • After ice cream is done churning, gently fold in the toffee bits by hand with a silicone spatula. Pour a third of the ice cream into a freezer-safe container, then dollop a third of the warmed dulce de leche over top. Layer another third of the ice cream on top, followed by another third of the dulce de leche. Repeat with remaining ice cream and dulce de leche. Using a knife or skewer, swirl figure-eights throughout the ice cream. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, and up to 3 weeks. Scoop and enjoy!

Notes

*To speed up the cooling process, I like to pour the ice cream base into a large shallow container. 
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