Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

If you’re anything like me, you might have gathered with some friends last night to watch the big game while munching on 3 or 4 different dips, nachos, pulled pork, and brownies. Stuffed doesn’t even begin to describe it. Maybe you woke up today craving something lighter, something healthy, even. As for me? Sorry, but I’m not quite ready to turn the page yet. Instead, I’m nursing my disappointment over the Pats loss with some ice cream. All that build-up, all the hype, and another heart-breaking loss. Besides, it’s Monday, which is always sort of rough anyway so this day definitely calls for ice cream. Healthy can wait for Tuesday.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

This is definitely one of the more unusual ice cream flavors I’ve made at home, and I was admittedly skeptical. Butter in ice cream? My grandparents loved butter pecan ice cream so it was often in their freezer when I was growing up, but I was never a fan. I don’t know if my palate has changed, or if this ice cream just doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one I remember, but I really enjoyed it. The nutty quality of the brown butter that I love so much is definitely prominent, and the texture is perfectly creamy. Originally, the recipe called for toasted pecans, which would have given this a nice salty-sweet contrast, but since I’m not a fan of them, I substituted chocolate chunks. The chocolate worked nicely too, so if I made this again for someone who did like pecans, I might be tempted to include both. Either way, it’s pure comfort food, which is exactly what I need today :)

Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
barely adapted from Dam Good Sweet by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel

9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
8 large egg yolks
pinch salt
3/4 cup chocolate chunks (or chips)

Add the butter to a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the butter starts to brown and smell nutty – be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Add the half-and-half and sugar to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Add the eggs and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you could use a hand mixer too) and begin beating on medium-high speed. Slowly drizzle the cooled, browned butter into the mixer bowl – the eggs and butter will thicken as you combine them. With the mixer on low, slowly add the hot milk mixture to the bowl, just a little at a time. Continue until it’s completely combined.

Strain the ice cream base through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (overnight is good, but at least 4 hours). Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In the last minute of churning, add the chocolate chunks. Transfer to airtight container and store in your freezer.

Makes about 1 quart