burnt sugar ice cream

I used to be so good with caramel. For years, I made caramel with no problems, and then when I made this hazelnut cake, everything changed. I can’t remember how many batches of caramel I made for that cake, each one forming crystals instead of turning amber; I do remember that even the final batch crystallized, but I had given up. Since then, it’s been hit or miss – probably half of my caramel attempts crystallize. I’ve lost my caramel mojo.

I know a lot of my problem is that I’m working with smaller batches than the recipe recommends. Working with caramel is notoriously difficult in small batches, but my freezer is already stocked with vanilla cake, three types of cookies, and cheesecake. A half batch of burnt sugar ice cream would be plenty for us.

Fortunately, there’s an ace in the hole when it comes to caramel – corn syrup. A seemingly insignificant squirt of the sticky stuff can make all the difference in whether you get to move on to the next step in the recipe or you dump out yet another batch of sugar and start over.

So with that taken care of, I was finally able to make some ice cream. And lo! it was good. Smooth and chunk-free, which is my preference, plus that deep caramelly hint of bitterness makes for a really fun ice cream flavor.

Becky chose this for Tuesdays with Dorie, and she has the recipe posted. For the first time in weeks, I didn’t add any salt to Dorie’s recipe!  But I did add a squeeze of corn syrup to the sugar/water mixture.

One year ago: Tiramisu Cake
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Torte


  1. Wow… would you believe that burnt sugar sounds even better to me than caramel?! 😀 I love sugar of all kinds, but burnt sugar? Just a touch of burnt-ness: Mmm. 🙂


  2. Oh, your ice cream looks AMAZING!!! Wow.

    I just made custard for salted caramel ice cream. I made the caramel with the dry method; it was a lot easier than the sugar/water method in my opinion. You just have to keep your eye on it 99% of the time. Also, it caramelizes a lot quicker, which I feel is an advantage. Nevertheless, adding corn syrup really does help. I like doing it that way as well.

    Oh, I want your ice cream right now.

  3. I love the shot where you’re peeking into the ice cream maker. Gorgeous composition. Well, I had a little trouble with my caramel too but all that soothed out once the cream was added. Guess its all in the heat control as well. I’ll heed the advice and add a bit of corn syrup in the next time round.

  4. It’s really not that easy to present the icecream, so you get good pictures – but you found a great way!
    (And I miss Friends, too. Although Saturday afternoons we have reruns round here, but it’s not the same)

  5. Wow that’s a lot of yummy food in your freezer! The ice cream looks great. Great to see the pics of it in the ice cream maker.

  6. The fourth picture is amazing!

  7. I love your pictures. You are making me want to make another batch!

  8. Beautiful pictures! I love all of those cool, little glasses you used! Nice job.

  9. This looks amazing! I’m not a huge chocolate ice cream fan, so caramel is right up my alley! I love the idea of salted caramel that @ Memoria suggested. Yum!

  10. Your ice cream looks wonderful and the photographs are beautiful!

  11. that first pic is so artsy. cute serving dishes and nice composition!

  12. beautiful photos! it looks so tasty!

  13. I also use the dry method and it’s never failed me. It looks ugly when the sugar melts into clumps but it all smoothes out, and no wet pastry brush is required.

    Your ice cream looks so great! It makes me want some NOW!

  14. i was quite surprised, actually, that the recipe didn’t call for corn syrup in the caramel. looks like you got a gorgeous caramel ice cream!

  15. Your ice cream looks perfect! I love the picture in the churn:)

  16. Mine crystallized too! I wasn’t sure what was happening, and I did downsize the recipe. I ended up adding a little more water and it turned out fine, for the most part. It still tasted good.

  17. What a great tip with the corn syrup! Your pics look amazing, and goodness was that ice cream delicious.

  18. I made a half batch too and had problems with the caramel. I wound up breaking every rule of caramel making to get it to amber so I could move on. Turns out we’re really not caramel ice cream people but I tried… Oh well, glad it was a hit for you! It looks terrific 🙂

  19. I love your pics! Looks fantastic!

  20. Caramel is my enemy. Stuff crystallizes so easily. Your ice cream looks beautiful and inspires me to dust off my ice cream maker!

  21. Those pics of the ice cream look so damn delicious!

    Shame the Internet can’t handle taste-o-vision!

  22. I agree, adding corn syrup definitely helps the caramel making process. I didn’t try this for the ice cream, but I regulary make a gorgeous caramel sauce that calls for syrup. Your ice cream looks delicious! We all loved it here 🙂

  23. I wish I had known about the syrup. My first batch turned into a sugar lick!!

    2nd batch was just fine, tho.

    Love the little containers. Cute.

  24. Beautiful ice cream. Corn syrup is good caramel insurance. I took my ice cream into the salted land and added a full teaspoon because I love salt and caramel together.

  25. Beautiful scoops! I loved this so much I broke down and bought an ice cream maker (same one)! And love it– not sure if that’s a good thing… I’ve been making too much! I agree with the caramel – corn syrup is a lifesaver.. cheating some may say but who cares! 🙂