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An easy homemade vanilla ice cream base swirled with salted caramel sauce and crunchy pecan praline pieces.
Today’s recipe is coming to you thanks to Millican Pecan.
They sent me 2lbs of their pecan halves and pecan pieces, and since homemade pralines had been on my list for a long time, I thought what better way to share them than to combine them with a homemade ice cream.
WHAT ARE PRALINES?
Before we get to the bulk of the recipe, maybe we should discuss exactly what pralines are, because until I got into my kitchen to really make pralines (rather than just eating them during our trip to Nashville or visiting our hometown candy shop), I couldn’t exactly tell you what they were.
Pralines are simply a candied pecan– the candy is made up of sugar, butter, and cream. This means that it’s essentially a creamy caramel covered pecan. And nothing about that sounds bad.
While traditional pralines are usually poured into disc shapes, we’re making pralines that turn out more like a scattering of individually candied pecans. We’ll achieve this finished product with the same execution as disc pralines, but the drying method will be a little different.
To make homemade pralines, you’ll start by adding brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, and salt to a saucepan. You’ll bring it to a boil, allow it to caramelize a bit, and then add pecan pieces.
As you stir everything around, the pecans will get covered in the candy coating, and as everything cools in the saucepan, the coating will stick to the pecans and you’ll be able to pour them out as individual candied nuts.
A beautiful sight, isn’t it?
Once your pralines are cooling, you can get started on the ice cream.
One thing you’ll want to do before starting any of this, though, is make sure your ice cream maker is ready to go. I use the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment because I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. It took about 2 hours for my ice cream maker to be completely frozen, but check the instructions on your maker in order to be fully prepared.
The basic vanilla ice cream recipe for this praline ice cream is very simple: heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, and a little salt (notice– no egg yolks, so extra easy!).
All of these ingredients go into a bowl, get all mixed together, and then go straight into the prepared ice cream maker. Turn it on and let it go!
It only took about 25-30 minutes for my ice cream to be completely ready, and you’ll know it’s ready when it looks like, well, ice cream, and no longer liquid.
Remove the bowl (with the ice cream in it) from the mixer, stir in the prepared pralines (reserving some for sprinkling on the top, if you’d like) until distributed evenly, and then, the best part of it all…
Drizzle in some salted caramel sauce and stir around a few times so that you’re left with thick swirls of caramel all around those crunchy pralines and smooth ice cream.
A note on the salted caramel sauce: you can make your own at home or use store bought. Both are totally fine, though of course, I am partial to encouraging you to make your own.
My homemade bourbon caramel sauce can be made with or without bourbon. Spike at your own risk!
You’ll need to let your ice cream set up completely in the freezer, and it will take about 2 hours. Of course, it can stay in there longer, if you have the will power to allow it to do so!
The end result is one of the greatest bowls (or cones) of ice cream you’ll have ever had. I’ve had my fair share of praline ice cream before, BELIEVE ME (such a sucker for chunky ice cream and anything with caramel), and this blew all of those out of the water.
The homemade pralines are the perfect texture and saltiness up against that velvety smooth vanilla ice cream. And the gooey swirls of salted caramel sauce just take every bite to a whole new salty sweet.
This is definitely a recipe we will be making again ASAP (you know, once we have room in our freezer to prep our ice cream maker– hello, all the reserved dino nuggets and frozen meat) and one that I can’t wait for you to try at home.
We’ve had the ice cream maker attachment for our mixer for almost as long as we’ve had the mixer (over 10 years!), and I am sad to admit it has remained unused for many of those years. BOY were we missing out!
Seriously, homemade ice cream is my new favorite thing, so between it and homemade salted caramel sauce, I think we will be indulging in praline ice cream many times this summer!
Praline Ice Cream
- 3/4 cup (150g) loosely packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter you may also use salted butter and omit additional salt
- 1 cup (109g) chopped pecans
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup homemade caramel sauce
- Before beginning anything, make sure your ice cream maker is frozen and prepped!
- Combine the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil for about 3 to 4 minutes to lightly caramelize the sugar.
- Remove saucepan from heat and, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the pecans. Continue stirring until the candy starts to cool and the pecans are completely coated. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the saucepan, then spoon coated pecans onto a parchment lined baking sheet until ready to use.
- Place prepared ice cream maker attachment onto stand mixer fitted with the dasher.
- In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until everything is combined and the sugar starts to dissolve.
- Turn on the mixer so dasher is rotating and slowly pour ice cream mixture into the canister. Process according to manufacturer’s directions (it should take about 20-30 minutes).
- When ice cream is finished churning, remove the ice cream maker from the mixer, add the cooled pralines, and stir to distribute evenly, reserving some to sprinkle on top, if desired. Pour in the caramel sauce and stir a few times to create caramel swirls.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container (like a metal loaf pan), garnish with additional pralines (if desired), and freeze for at least 2 hours. Serve with additional caramel sauce drizzled on top.