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Jeni's Salty Caramel Ice Cream


Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Makes about 1 quart


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Step 1: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Step 2: Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Step 3: Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout. Heat to a simmer.
Step 4: Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Step 5: To make the caramel: Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color. Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color — like an old penny.
Step 6: When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately, but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the simmering cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar, stirring constantly.  It will fizzle, pop, and spurt.  Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue to slowly add all the cream and corn syrup mixture until it is all in.
Step 7: Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Step 8: Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.
Step 9: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. 
Step 10: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Step 11: Pour into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. If you don't have a stand alone electric ice cream maker, an ice cream Kitchen Aid attachment works really well. Churn on the lowest speed for 30 minutes.
Step 12: Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.
Step 13: Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

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