Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans

Though I’d hardly be one to tell you to break with tradition on Thanksgiving, I might suggest you add one more dessert to your line up: ice cream! Inspired by the flavors of my cranberry crumb bars (brandy, brown butter, cranberry, maple, pecan) I had a hunch that those same flavors would make a stellar ice cream, and I was right.

Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans | Tutti Dolci

Creamy brown butter ice cream (like a really good vanilla bean, but better) is ribboned with a pretty cranberry swirl. In the spirit of holiday indulgence, brown sugar and cinnamon candied pecans make a rich and welcome topping.

Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans | Tutti Dolci
Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans | Tutti Dolci
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Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans

Brown Butter-Cranberry Ice Cream with Candied Pecans

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Creamy brown butter ice cream with a ribbon of homemade cranberry sauce. Top with candied brown sugar pecans!


Brown Butter Ice Cream

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp brandy

Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup grated apple
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Candied Pecans

  • 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


  1. For the ice cream, 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 reserve brown butter solids. Combine half-and-half, cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla, brandy, and brown butter solids in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Cover and chill for 6 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. For the cranberry sauce, combine cranberries, grated apple, sugar, maple syrup, brandy, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour chilled ice cream mixture into frozen cylinder of ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon a third of the mixture into a freezer-safe container; top with dollops of cranberry sauce. Repeat with remaining mixture and sauce. Swirl layers together with a wooden skewer, then place in the freezer for several hours, until firm. Serve ice cream with candied pecans.
  4. 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.

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  1. This ice-cream sounds like the perfect combination of Thanksgiving flavors! Love the addition of brown butter, too!

  2. So beautiful! I’d happily eat a double scoop of your brown butter cranberry ice cream instead of traditional Thanksgiving dessert!

  3. This is like a thanksgiving dream come true! I’ve been totally obsessing over cranberries this season. Looks amazing. Great photos!

  4. Those cranberry swirls looks so delicious in the brown butter ice cream. I’d break with tradition just to eat a scoop.

  5. What a wonderful holiday ice cream – how can you go wrong with this one! Love the candied pecans! A must make!

  6. What a great idea…your ice cream sounds like the perfect ending to a Thanksgiving. It is beautiful too!