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Friday, August 28, 2009

Not for the Faint of Heart

Please, if you have problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure, please, pretty, pretty please, don’t read this post. I don’t want to be held responsible.

I finally finished up this quarter with the aid of too much caffeine, significant sleep deprivation, and of course the help of my wonderful husband. So, as I gleefully handed in my two final papers, I contemplated what to make for Daniel to tell him thank you for the week full of delicious brain food he prepared while I typed away and mumbled incoherently to myself. Immediately I thought of a recipe I cam across during a break. While I was working on papers, I would continually daydream about a recipe recently posted by Not Without Salt for Bacon Caramel.

Yes, bacon, and caramel.

So, thinking about little else, I head home and start cooking, hardly noticing in my post-finals stupor that yesterday was probably the most humid day Columbus has had since we’ve been here. Looking back at the weather now, I see that we had 97% humidity. Not candy making weather. This is what came out:

I was hoping that I was worrying for nothing and that it eventually would set, even if it took a little while. Surely it would set. It had to. My mother is an incredible candy maker, surely, it would set. I waited three or four hours, nothing. Stuck it in the fridge, still a gooey, sinfully delicious, but a sticky mess nonetheless. I decided to add wax paper and leave it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, it was slightly more solid when you initially took a piece, but quickly melted into a sticky lump. I’m not a good sport often times when things to work out correctly, so I contemplated throwing it away. It was obviously not going to turn into the delicate square, photo worthy and distributable caramels I was hoping for, and the only way to eat them would be with a spoon.

A spoon...Sadly, when I think spoon, my mind immediately jumps to ice cream. I don’t know why, and yes, its probably unhealthy. Nonetheless, the more I started thinking about, the more I thought the texture would work very well as a caramel swirl in ice cream, since it would not become incredibly hard, nor would it melt into the stick mess when trying to eat it. I quickly tried to put together a recipe for an ice cream that I thought would complement the sweet salty flavor of the caramel. Although I can envision these working beautifully and decadently with a dark chocolate ice cream, I wanted something that would allow the flavor of the caramels to shine through a little more.

I immediately thought of a sour cream based ice cream, but shockingly, we don’t buy sour cream. Ever. We just don’t use it. When I make a cheesecake, I get a small container, and any that’s left typically goes to waste. What we did have was a nice Greek style yogurt that I’d been snacking with during finals. I didn’t want anything too sweet, the caramel is plenty sweet on its own, but I did want to taste more than plain yogurt. What I finally decided on was a brown sugar custard with approximately half the amount of sugar, and the addition of the Greek yogurt.

The combination worked out perfectly. The ice cream had a velvety texture that quietly enveloped the indulgent caramel and added a nice palate-cleansing tang at the finish. The only problem with the final product however, is that the balance achieved between the sweet, salty, and tangy flavors prevents any one or two or three….or however many… bites from seemingly like enough!

Thus the caution above. Consider yourself forewarned. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar & Greek Yogurt Ice Cream with Bacon Caramel Swirl

2 Cups Whipping Cream

1 / 2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 Tsp Vanilla

8 Egg Yolks

2 Cup Greek Style Yogurt (whole)

Bacon Caramels (made on a humid day, or removed approximately one minute after reaching boiling point)

First, whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Heat whipping cream, sugars, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, just until a gentle boil, stirring to prevent scalding.

Slowly pour cream and sugar mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent eggs from cooking. Return mixture to stove and cook over low heat until custard thickens. Pour into bowl and whisk in yogurt. Refrigerate until cold.

Once the mixture is chilled, add to your ice cream freezer. If your ice cream freezer has a spot to allow for mix ins, when ice cream is taking shape and there are approximately 5 minutes or so left, start slowly adding in the bacon caramel at room temperature. If not, once ice cream freezer has finished, transfer ice cream to container and pour caramel in slowly, folding to obtain a swirl effect. Freeze until ready.


Natalie said...

Wow this cream sounds intense! Brown sugar is already my favorite ingredient and flavor, but paired with a caramel bacon swirl? yes please!

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