Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Sundaes

Buttered Popcorn Sundaes
We love homemade ice cream but we are also pretty lazy people. Dirtying up a bunch of dishes and taking the time to cook and chill a custard base for ice cream just seems like too much work when we have a perfectly good no-cook, no-chill ice cream recipe that gets the job done. Ha! When have I ever let that stop me? I also have this darling little ice cream maker that I feel guilty about hardly ever using. It sits coldly in the freezer waiting to come out and play with all the other kitchen toys. I make a small amount of ice cream! it cries. No rock salt or ice needed! A mother can't play favorites, so I started searching for a small batch ice cream recipe and I found these Buttered-Popcorn Ice Cream Sundaes which sounded divine! Sweet and salty; cold and creamy; warm and gooey all at once.
Start by steeping buttered popcorn (I would advise against microwave popcorn here as it has an unnatural butter oil on it that will leave this with a weird texture) in a mixture of whole milk, cream, corn syrup, and sugar.
Puree it all in the blender, then pour it into a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. While this comes up to a simmer, beat egg yolks with sugar and salt until thick ribbons form.
Once the cream mixture reaches a simmer, slowly pour a small amount into the egg yolks and stir. Then add a little more hot mixture to the egg yolks and stir. Keep doing this until you've added about 1-1/2 cups cream mixture to the eggs. This will prevent your egg yolks from getting scrambled which is what will happen if you just add them straight to the hot cream mixture. Pour everything back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
Spoon Path
When you can swipe your finger on the back of the spoon and leave a path, it's done.
Strain into a large bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to get it all through. You don't want to skip this step. It will strain out all the popcorn "pulp" and any egg strands that coagulated. Pour into a container, cover, and chill overnight. The next day freeze in an ice cream maker according to your maker's instructions. This yields about 3-1/2 to 4 cups of custard before freezing.
Caramel Sauce
Now on to the toppings! First up, caramel sauce.

Combine water, sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a saucepan with room to groove as this is going to bubble up a lot after you add the cream. I used a 3-quart pan.
Cook over high heat without stirring until you see a little color starting around the edges of the pan, then start swirling the pan gently (think hula hoop motion) to even out the color and then don't move from the stove! Once the sugar starts to caramelize there are only seconds before you are at the color you want. When it reaches a deep amber color, turn off the heat.
Cream Explosion
Add butter and cream. This is always my favorite part of making caramel because it bubbles and hisses and makes me feel like a mad scientist in the lab (Mwahhahaha!). Add vanilla and salt and stir until the mixture is smooth and liquid again. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to one month.

Now for the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Halvah. When I read this recipe, I had no idea what halvah was. Turns out it is a term for a sweet, crumbly nut-butter candy.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Halvah
For this halvah, start with store-bought peanut brittle. Grind it up superfine in a food processor, add cooled melted chocolate and peanut butter and whir it up again. Dump onto a lined baking sheet and refrigerate until completely hard. After it has hardened, break it into small pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to a day ahead.

When you're ready to assemble this, rewarm the caramel sauce and place a small spoonful in the bottom of each bowl. Top with a couple scoops of ice cream, then drizzle with more sauce. Add a few pieces of halvah and plop a few pieces of buttered popcorn on top.

Original recipe here at Epicurious.


  1. This was super great! You're the best wife ever!!