Monday, January 19, 2015

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce

Let's play a game. Think of three things you love to eat or drink, things you would ingest every single day if there were no adverse side effects. Think of the three most decadent, indulgent personal delicacies and then combine them into one heavenly dessert. For me, it's these guys: Chocolate. Stout. Ice Cream.

I'm pretty sure if a caricature artist drew a cartoon of me, I'd be holding one of these three things in some form. Add in a coffee, some bread, a cupcake, and salted caramel (did that!) and you've basically got my sweet tooth covered.

Ice cream is funny, though. When I was little, I hated the stuff. I can't recall what it was I didn't like about my now favorite frozen treat, but I would not touch it. We'd go to Friendly's and I would literally order topping sundaes - or basically a bowl of gummy bears and sprinkles topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

I grew out of that strange phase, either for the worse or better. Today, it's definitely better.

Alcohol in ice cream is tricky, as it lowers the freezing temperature of the confection. When we made our bourbon vanilla ice cream as a first adventure with the KitchenAid, it never really set into that ice cream texture. It was just very cold, very amazingly delicious, custard.

With this one, I used beer, which is already a lower alcohol content than whisky, and I cooked it into the custard instead of adding it at the end. Also, considering how delicious this custard was before we froze it, I also didn't much care if it ever set (except for the pictures, of course), but it turned out perfect.

When selecting a stout to use in this recipe, don't stress too hard about it. You want that malty beer flavor, but most of the sweet and chocolately flavors come from the rest of the recipe. Use a beer that you'd drink, but don't waste a bottle of a favorite, or something limited release. It was tempting to use a Southern Tier Choklat, but I'd rather just drink that straight.

When choosing a bourbon for the caramel, go with your favorite mid-level. Again, it's not worth spending the money for something special when much of it gets cooked down. You are just trying to infuse the flavor into the sauce. However, the bourbon flavor in the caramel is stronger than the stout in the ice cream, so make sure it's not a bottom shelf plastic bottle.

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream
Serves 8, or one if you're having a really bad day


2 cups Heavy cream
3/4 cup Chocolate stout (we used Fort Collins)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
3/4 cup Sugar
5 Egg yolks


  1. Whisk five egg yolks (try to separate out as much white as possible) together with 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large, heat resistant mixing bowl
  2. In a large saucepan, mix the cream, stout, salt, cocoa powder and the rest of the sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar and cocoa are mostly dissolved
  3. Raise the heat and watch carefully. Remove from heat the instant it begins to boil.
  4. Gradually add spoonfuls of the cream and cocoa mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly so as not to cook them
  5. Once the temperatures of the two mixtures are close, add the entire egg mixture into the saucepan
  6. Cook on low for about ten minutes as the custard thickens. It's done when it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  7. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the surface of the custard. Leave overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours
  8. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream machine to make the ice cream. Freeze overnight for harder ice cream, but be sure to eat within a few days for the best flavor.

Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce
Makes about 1-1 1/2 cups


1/4 cup (half a stick) Butter
1 cup Brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup whole milk (half and half or cream can be substituted for richer flavor)
2 tsp Sea salt
1 Tbsp Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark, as it's the only one I ever have in the house)


  1. Melt the butter in a medium-small saucepan over low heat
  2. Once the butter is completely melted, add in the sugar and mix until it's coated completely
  3. Raise the heat up to medium high and add in the milk slowly, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until smooth in between
  4. Stir constantly as the mixture begins to bubble.
  5. Once bubbling, add the salt and bourbon. Cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl or jar. Refrigerate until cool, and keep refrigerated for a few weeks 
  7. Don't worry if your caramel solidifies too much. Just microwave for 30 second intervals until it has the desired texture.

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