Hazelnut Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl

As I previously mentioned, I love anything hazelnuts, and especially with ice cream. I used to get hazelnut ice cream with marshmallow fluff mixed in at my favorite ice cream place until they told me that my orders were breaking their mixing machines. Whoops.

I decided to class this one up with some salted caramel swirled in. I realize that salted caramel is a “fad” but I’m hoping it’s here to stay. It is in my world at least.

My next post will use this ice cream recipe for some delicious ice cream sandwiches, but for now, just the ice cream.

The ice cream itself is inspired by a Peanut Butter Ice Cream recipe by Martha Stewart. I made the peanut butter one once because my husband is obsessed with PB, and it was crazy good. Extremely peanut-y, smooth, and perfect with the addition of crushed Oreos. For the sandwiches, though, I wanted to try something new.

As anyone who has made homemade ice cream before knows, this is a long process, and takes some prep. Unfortunately this isn’t a recipe you can run to the store, get the ingredients, and have it on your table by dinner. Sorry! The first step is to put your ice cream machine budget in the freezer overnight, so it gets as cold as it can. The next is to make the “hazelnut milk” ice cream base.

To make the ice cream base, you first roast up some hazelnuts. Yum. Try not to eat all of them and then have to go to the store to get more to roast. I’ve found that hazelnuts can be expensive, but are surprisingly cheapest at Whole Foods. Once roasted (see “Holiday Pies” post), remove most of the skins with a towel, and crush with a knife. You want to “release” as much of the hazelnut essence as possible.

Once the hazelnuts have cooled, you heat up some cream, milk, and the hazelnuts in a medium saucepan until bubbles form around the edges of the mixture. You don’t want it to boil, just be heated through. Remove from the heat, transfer to a big bowl, cover and let sit (in the fridge) for at least overnight. The peanut butter recipe says a few hours, but peanuts have a lot more flavor they can transfer. If you still have any hazelnut liqueur left, I would add one tablespoon. You don’t want to add too much and completely change the texture of the ice cream.


For the salted caramel, you can either make it the night before, while the base is cooling, or the morning/afternoon after, when you’re about to make your ice cream. If you do make it the day-of, I suggest making it at least an hour or two before so it has time to thicken up a bit, and then sit out an room temp. If you make it the night before, you want to make sure to leave it on the counter for a bit (or microwave very briefly) so that it isn’t too hard to pour. Does that make sense?

**I interrupt this blog post for a random craft idea. I saw this (say it with me) on Pinterest and thought it was adorable. All you need is beer (or root beer for kids), brown pipe cleaners, red puffs and googly eyes, all of which I purchased at Jo Ann Fabrics, minus the beer. Just use your mini hot glue gun that you naturally keep on your windowsill for crafting emergencies. This beer was for a friend’s birthday gift, but I made 48 other ones for an office holiday party invite, with custom beer labels that I made from Word. Fun stuff! End of aside**


For the caramel I used this recipe from The Cooking Channel. It makes enough caramel for all of your salted caramel needs, like swirling into ice cream, pouring over ice cream, drizzling on waffles or pancakes, or making into a glaze and drizzling over some apple cider donuts. More on that later…

It’s a pretty basic caramel recipe, just with extra salt. Very creamy and perfectly spreadable. The full instructions are on the link above, but here are some pictures of the different steps. It doesn’t include a picture of the final sauce, because I didn’t think of that. Whoops.

Back to the ice cream. The next steps require a lot of prep, so I highly recommend reading through the recipe thoroughly first, get your act together, and then start making the ice cream.

First, prepare your ice water bath. Next, whisk together the yolks, sugar and salt. You can keep the egg whites in a small container and use for meringues, etc. If you aren’t using immediately, you can freeze in an airtight container. I just recommend writing a note on it about how many egg whites are in there, so you don’t forget and then have to throw them out. Not that that has ever happened to me (every. single. time.).

Pour your cream mixture back into the large pot, including hazelnuts, and heat over low-medium heat until heated through. You don’t want it to start bubbling. Now the recipe says to add the cream mixture to the yolk mixture bowl, then transfer the whole thing back to the pot on the stove. I’m sure there is a reason behind this, but instead I just remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the yolk mixture, which saves one step. Return the mixture to the stove and turn on medium heat (still no simmering or boiling) until the mixture is thick. This should take 8-10 minutes. You just made a custard!

Next strain the whole thing through a fine mesh sieve, and throw away those precious hazelnuts. Don’t try to save or eat them. I promise they don’t taste good at this point.


Stir in the vanilla (make sure it’s good vanilla), and place in ice-water bath. Let cool until it’s very cold. You can stir occasionally, and make have to chance the water bath if all the ice is melted. I definitely did not let mine get cold enough, so the ice cream was a bit more “gloopy” than it should have been when I put it in the ice cream maker.

Once it’s chilled, place the mixture in your ice cream maker and continue per the manufacturer’s instructions. This recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream. You can easily double (or 1.5) it if you have a larger machine.

After the ice cream has gone through the machine, you want to work quickly, so have a big container or bowl ready. This should be whatever you’re keeping in the freezer. Also have your caramel ready and in something that easy to pour out of, like a measuring cup or squeeze bottle. Pour about 1/3 of your ice cream into the bowl/container, and drizzle some caramel on top. Repeat for two more layers. Use a spoon to slightly swirl the caramel. I say slightly because if you get too aggressive with it the ice cream will lose it’s shape and texture when it mixes too much with the caramel.

Cover in an air tight container and freeze. Since I don’t have one of those fancy ice cream tubs that you can easily purchase online (hint hint), I used a ceramic container. I pressed saran wrap up against the ice cream so fewer ice crystals formed.

Behold, the ice cream! Next post I’ll show you what I did with the ice cream, which was even more exciting.

And now….time for a cat fact! Did you know that most cats are lactose intolerant? Unfortunately, as much as they like milk, it’s not good for most cats. In other words, after you’ve finished that bowl of ice cream, make sure you rinse out the bowl so you don’t hear the cat going to town on it in the middle of the night.

Hazelnut Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl

Per the above, the ice cream recipe has been modified by a Martha Stewart recipe. The Salted Caramel Sauce is from The Cooking Channel.


Ice Cream (makes 1 quart):

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 cups hazelnuts
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce (makes 1.5 cups)*:

*You can make the caramel sauce the night before, or the morning/afternoon of when you plan to eat the ice cream. If you make it the night before, make sure to leave it out on the counter while you make the ice cream so it spreadable. If you make it the morning/afternoon of, make it at least an hour before to put in the fridge to thicken up and then take out of the fridge while you’re making the rest of the ice cream.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt


For the ice cream:

To be made the night before:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes, until fragrant. Place in dish towel, wrap and let steam for 1 minute. Rub towel together to get most of the skins off. Use the flat side of a knife, “crush” the hazelnuts and let cool.

2. Heat cream, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and hazelnuts in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges. Remove from heat, cover, and refrigerate overnight (minimum 12-14 hours).

Next day:

3.  Whisk yolks, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, set aside.

4. Uncover cream mixture, place in a large pot and reheat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.

5. Add yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until well combined. Stir constantly over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes. (Do not let the mixture come to a simmer.)

6. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Set the bowl in the ice-water bath. Stir in vanilla, and let cool, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20-30 minutes. Change the ice bath as needed. The mixture should be very cold.

7. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer 1/3 to a large bowl or container, and swirl some caramel over the ice cream. Repeat two more times. Using a spoon or small spatula, swirl caramel once through the ice cream. Freeze for at least 1 hour. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer for 10 minutes until soft enough to serve.

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble.

3. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool. Per The Cooking Channel link, the caramel will stay good in the fridge for up to two weeks. Let’s me honest though, will it really last that long?

3 thoughts on “Hazelnut Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl

  1. Pingback: Hazelnut Ice Cream Sandwiches with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Sauce | Cats Got My Tongue

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