You know, just saying the words in the title of this recipe make me want to get another bowl of this stuff. I make a lot of ice cream but I’m a real traditionalist most of the time. I make chocolate, vanilla or strawberry that complements whatever I’m serving. Sorry about the photos. I was so eager to taste this ice cream that I didn’t wait for it to freeze properly. I hate to admit that by the time it WAS frozen properly we’d eaten most of it.
When I received a package of raw macadamia nuts from the Australian Macadamia Society, I knew I wanted to do a savoury and a sweet recipe. I did the savoury macadamia chicken the other day and this ice cream is definitely sweet.
Normally ice cream around here is used to go along with a dessert I’ve made. We rarely get a bowl of ice cream and stuff our faces with it but that’s exactly what we did with this ice cream. Orgasmic? I’ll leave that to you but it certainly was for us.
John doesn’t like caramel so I figured I’d get the whole recipe to myself. I roasted the nuts in the oven for 5-6 minutes until they were golden brown and then made the toffee by adding sugar and water and boiling it. I know I didn’t follow the rules of toffee making, I’m sorry. It wasn’t until I’d made this that I looked up how to make toffee. Can I hear your eyes roll?
I probably should have chopped the nuts into smaller pieces but I like a nice bite of nut in an ice cream in the same way I like a big strawberry if I’m making strawberry ice cream or blueberry.
Once the sugar was dissolved I wiped down the sides of the pan with a wet brush and when it just started to look golden I added a hunk of butter. Yes, I can say a hunk because I measured NOTHING – not the sugar, not the water – nothing. What a horrid cook I can be sometimes. I just reached over with a knife and hacked off a slab of butter and dropped it in. Once it was golden but not brown I tossed in the nuts and took the pan off the heat. I did test for hard crack if that gets me any reprieve. I had prepared a large bowl with ice water so that I could stop the cooking so once I liked the color. I sat the bottom of the pan in the ice water for just a second or two. I don’t like really dark toffee/caramel because I think it can taste bitter.
I did make the toffee again and this time I wrote everything down. I still didn’t follow the conventional recipes. Maybe I should follow a recipe just to see if it would taste even better but I found this to be very very good. If you’ll notice in the photo there’s a hunk taken out of the right side. I couldn’t wait. Once John tasted it I knew I was going to have to share. Bugger.
I poured the toffee on to a silpat and set it aside to cool. Once cool I broke it apart and put it in a plastic bag and bashed it with a rolling pin. A food processor would work too but the pieces would be much finer and that’s not what I wanted.
The ice cream is David Lebovitz’ brilliant vanilla ice cream recipe. I have never had this recipe fail. Because of the really sweet toffee, I did reduce the sugar and I’m glad I did. It would have been cloyingly sweet otherwise.
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup roasted chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
- A pinch of salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or use vanilla paste)
- 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and place on medium-high heat.
- Swirl pan several times until sugar is dissolved.
- Wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.
- Cook for about 10 minutes just til you see the mixture start to turn color.
- Add the butter and stir to combine.
- As soon as the butter is melted, add the nuts and remove from the heat.
- Pour over a silpat or baking paper and spread it out.
- Set aside to cool. Can be made ahead of time but be careful, you’ll eat it before you make the ice cream.
- Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
- To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
- Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
- Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once the ice cream is ready to come out of the machine, pour it into a bowl and stir the macadamia toffee crunch through the ice cream.
- Place in a container and freeze until firm.
I’m nearly outta nuts but I have one more thing coming that will go brilliantly with this ice cream. I think. I haven’t actually made it yet so it’s still sitting in my brain.
What’s your favourite way to use macadamia nuts? I know it’s not important in a recipe like this that’s full of sugar, but macadamia nuts are naturally low GI and are great as a snack on their own. If you use twitter or facebook, please follow Australian Macadamia Society? They’d really love it as they want heaps of people to know about their great nuts. (Yes, I know someone is going to call me on writing that but I couldn’t resist) I received the nuts from the Australian Macadamia society that I used in this recipe.