Let’s call this ice cream the adult version of butter pecan. With layers of flavor from brown butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and a bit of whiskey, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’ve made three rounds in as many days. Tossing in a handful of dangerously delicious candied pecans doesn’t hurt either. Have you placed your ice cream bowl in the freezer yet?
The quick non-custard base freezes to a beautifully smooth and creamy texture thanks to a bit of cornstarch and maple syrup, which help to absorb water from the mixture and minimize ice crystals. You’ll have more candied pecans than you need to mix into the ice cream; I’m certain you’ll find them as tempting as I do!
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- 2 cups half-and-half, divided
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp whiskey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans
- sea salt
- Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour brown butter in a glass measuring cup and let settle; pour off clarified butter and return brown butter solids to saucepan.
- Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons half-and-half in a small bowl; set aside. Add remaining half-and-half, brown sugar, maple syrup, whiskey, vanilla, and salt to saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir constantly for 4 minutes; reduce heat to low and whisk in cornstarch mixture. Cook for 1 more minute, until mixture resembles a thick milk shake. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then cover and chill for 6 hours in the refrigerator.
- For the candied pecans, preheat oven to 275°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a large ziplock bag. Whisk egg white and vanilla in a small bowl until frothy (about 1 minute); add pecans and toss to coat. Remove pecans with a slotted spoon and add to brown sugar mixture; seal ziplock bag and toss to coat pecans. Spread pecans in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until dry to the touch. Sprinkle with sea salt and let cool completely.
- Pour chilled ice cream mixture into frozen cylinder of ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last minute of freezing, mix in 1/2 cup of candied pecans, coarsely chopped. Spoon mixture into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for several hours, until firm.