Chocolate Ice Cream with a Bacon Caramel Swirl

Chocolate Ice Cream with Bacon Caramel Swirl

You guys, my love for bacon is serious.  I don’t play games when a pig is involved and I find a way to slip bacon into just about everything I make.  Sure, it’s not the healthiest food in the world and yes, maybe I do feel a little guilty about eating so much bacon when I see celebrity pigs like Glitzy but then I catch the scent of a freshly fried piece of bacon and know that I’m doing the right thing.  If I had to pick my top five favorite foods, they would look a little something like this:

1) Cheese
2) Bacon
3) Chocolate
4) Pizza
5) Cheese (it’s just too good to only make the list once…)

Chocolate Ice Cream with Bacon Caramel Swirl

I’ve been on a bit of a caramel kick recently and though I haven’t quite mastered it, I’m getting close.  I attempted to make a batch of bacon caramel and ended up with a bacon caramel sauce instead.  I realized I couldn’t wrap it in cute parchment paper rolls and gift it like I had originally intended but I also knew it was too delicious to get rid of.  Then, I thought that maybe combining it with some ice cream would be a good solution.

Turns out, it was a GREAT solution.  This ice cream….  It’s just so good.  It combines two of my favorite foods, fits right in with the “put chocolate on bacon” trend, and makes my taste buds do a little happy dance in my mouth.  It’s the perfect hit of sweet with just enough of a savory balance.  I love salt on all of my sweets because it really plays with the flavor in the most magical way so you can only imagine how great the salty flavor of the bacon is against the rich chocolate backdrop of the ice cream.  I die.  And now?  It’s your turn.

Chocolate Ice Cream with a Bacon Caramel Swirl

recipes slightly adapted from Not Without Salt and Bi-Rite Creamery

for the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 8-12 strips of fried bacon, crumbled

for your ice cream:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa butter, measured then sifted
  • 1 cup of 2% milk
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

make the magic:

  1. If I might make a suggestion…  This ice cream is rather time consuming and seems far more manageable if broken into two sessions.  On the first night, let’s make our caramel and ice cream base, shall we?  You’ll thank me later!
  2. Start by baking your bacon.  Lay your bacon in one layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven until crisp.  Your heat can range between 350-400 and your cooking times will vary based on the heat.  Keep an eye on it and add more time as needed.  When the bacon is fried nice and crispy it’s ready to roll.  Sit it on a paper towel to get rid of some excess grease and allow it to cool.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup of your cream then, in a non-reactive saucepan, combine the rest of your ingredients.  Stir until combined then place over medium-high heat.  Stir it constantly until it reaches 235°F.  Remove from the heat and add the remaining cream then place it back over the heat until it reaches 240°F.
  4. Remove your pan from the heat, stir in half of your crumbled bacon, then pour into a buttered dish.  Sprinkle the remaining bacon on top and sit it somewhere out of the way to cool.  Allow it to cool overnight.
  5. Now, start on your ice cream base!!  In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up then add half your sugar (6 tbsp).
  6. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, combine the cocoa powder with the remaining sugar.  Whisk in about 1/4 cup of the milk until you have a paste.  Whisk in the remaining milk, cream, and salt then place the pan over medium-high heat.  When the mixture is at a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
  7. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks.  Repeat adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks.  Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
  8. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula.
  9. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container.  Set the container into an ice-water bath stirring occasionally until cool.  Remove the container from the ice water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

the next day:

  1. Ah, you’re back at it feelin’ fresh now.  Your ice cream base has cooled overnight and your caramel is cool as well.  Let’s pick back up with your ice cream base…
  2. Remove the base from your refrigerator and mix in the vanilla extract.  Pour your mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. When your ice cream is all frozen and beautiful, scoop alternate layers of your caramel and ice cream into an air-tight container.  No need to create perfectly even layers, just try to make sure you’ll get an even amount of caramel and cream in each scoop!  Freeze your ice cream for at least 4 hours then serve.

Chocolate Ice Cream with Bacon Caramel Swirl