My love for Pralines and Cream ice cream led me to thinking I had all the reasons for making this luscious dessert myself, namely: 1) this simple, velvety vanilla ice cream doesn’t need an ice cream maker, 2) I know how to make pecan pralines, and 3) I know how to make creamy caramel sauce. So it was just a matter of putting these three components together to come up with a homemade version of Pralines and Cream ice cream.
My favorite ice cream flavor used to be Maui Brownie Madness, and it’s beyond me why such a good thing would be discontinued. Then I discovered Pralines and Cream and it has always been my favorite since.
No baking this time. Both the caramel sauce and the pecan pralines are cooked on the stovetop.
The vanilla ice cream recipe is so simple and easy. It takes a couple of hours to freeze completely, but as far as putting it together, it took me all of just 15 minutes. I made the ice cream first. Then, while it was freezing in the freezer, I made the caramel sauce, since the sauce had to cool completely before I could drizzle it over the ice cream. Lastly, I made the pecan pralines, since pralines take only a matter of minutes to cool down.
This vanilla ice cream makes a great base for any flavor variation. For a few quick ideas, although I haven’t tried them yet, grated lemon rind can be used to replace the vanilla extract to make lemon ice cream. Or to make rocky road ice cream, chunks of brownies, marshmallows and nuts can be added. The sky’s the limit as far as varying the flavors.
- Start by microwaving the butter to melt. Tip: I used a microwaveable, freezer-safe bowl that had its own lid so I didn’t have to use another bowl for freezing.
- Add the condensed milk and vanilla to the melted butter.
- Mix well with a rubber spatula to combine.
- With a wire whip attachment of a stand mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream with the milk mixture until well blended.
- Cover the bowl and freeze.
- Warm the cream in a sauce pan on medium heat. Set aside.
- In a separate sauce pan, combine the water and sugar. This mixture can be stirred before the heat is turned on.
- Turn the heat on to medium. Once the heat is on, do not stir. Let the heat do all the work.
- Allow the sugar syrup to reach a rolling boil.
- After a few minutes, the sugar syrup will gradually start to change color.
- When the syrup reaches a light, golden amber color, turn heat to low or move the pot to a cool burner.
- Slowly pour in the cream to prevent it from boiling over. Once all the cream is poured in, return the pot to medium heat. Add the butter and salt. Start stirring with a wooden spoon. If after adding the cream, some sugar crystals have formed, do not worry. These crystals will all dissolve and blend to form a smooth sauce as the caramel sauce is further cooked and reduced.
- On medium heat, stir continuously to prevent the sauce from scorching the pot.
- Continue cooking, all the while stirring, to reduce and thicken the sauce.
- The sauce is ready when it’s reduced, slightly thickened and has reached a light golden color. When it reaches room temperature, it will thicken even more.
- This recipe will yield slightly more than two cups of delicious caramel sauce.
- Pour the caramel sauce into a glass container and allow to cool completely. Cover and store in refrigerator. The sauce will further thicken once completely chilled.
I used only a few tablespoons of caramel sauce for the ice cream, and a tiny bit more to drizzle on top of each serving. So it’s really a lot of sauce that can be used for so many other treats like cookies, cakes, pies and yes, more ice cream. A treat like these date bars would be made even more delicious if drizzled with caramel sauce.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sauce pan, combine the cream and white granulated sugar.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. On medium heat, heat the mixture to boiling, stirring continuously to prevent scorching.
- When the mixture boils, add the chopped pecans and butter. Still on medium heat, continue stirring and bring it back up to a boil, then add the brown sugar and salt.
- Continue to cook to reduce and thicken the sauce. The color will turn to a nice light, golden color. Add the vanilla. I cooked the pralines to just over 200 F. There is a school of thought that says to cook it to soft ball stage, around 235 F – 240 F, but I once tried it, and it made the pralines too dark. Personally, the maximum I would go is 210 F. You don’t really need a thermometer. I just included it for demonstration. The visual cues that indicate that the pralines are ready are when the liquid has greatly reduced, thickened and turned a nice even light golden color.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Continue stirring for about a minute or two to slightly reduce the temperature. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop the pralines onto the prepared cookie sheets. It will take about 5 minutes for the pralines to cool completely. Once cool, the pralines will firm up. The texture will be firm but still soft, almost like that of a soft cookie. If you break a praline, it won’t snap like brittle does because it does not get that hard.
The number of pralines this recipe will yield will depend on the size of the spoon used to drop the pralines. I used a medium ice cream scoop and yielded 18 pralines. I only used 2 or 3 pralines to mix with the ice cream. So we had a lot left over to enjoy plain or to use as garnish over the ice cream.
The ice cream will be semi firm after a few hours. Break about 2 or 3 pralines and gently mix with the ice cream using a spatula. Then drizzle just a few tablespoons of the caramel sauce. Mix with only one or two strokes to keep the ribbons of caramel sauce visible and intact. Cover the bowl and freeze for a few more hours until firm, or overnight.
The ice cream will be frozen solid overnight. Personally, I like my ice cream soft, so before scooping, I let the bowl sit on the counter for about 20 minutes to soften the ice cream. To serve, top each serving with a few broken pieces of pralines and drizzle some more caramel sauce, if desired.
I’m ready for my own serving. OMG, someone save me before I eat this entire bowl of ice cream!
Delicious and easy velvety vanilla ice cream, plus….
…creamy caramel sauce, plus…
…delicious pecan pralines, equals…
…decadent, luscious homemade pralines and cream ice cream that’s just absolutely to-die-for!
If making plain vanilla ice cream, the ice cream will be ready to serve plain after freezing for about 5 hours or overnight.
The caramel sauce recipe will yield about 2 cups. Only a few tablespoons will be drizzled in with the ice cream. The rest can be used for topping cupcakes, pies, cakes, and yes, even more ice cream.
The pecan pralines will yield about 18 two to three-inch pralines. Only 2 or 3 pralines will be needed to mix with the ice cream. The rest of the pralines can be enjoyed as is, or used to top ice cream.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and microwave to melt. Add condensed milk and vanilla and mix well to combine. Set aside. Tip: Use a microwaveable, freezer-safe bowl that has its own lid so the same bowl for mixing can be used directly for freezing.
- Keep the heavy cream cold until ready to whip. With a wire whip, set speed on high and whip cream until stiff peaks.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream with the condensed milk mixture. Gently mix until well combined.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and freeze. If making plain vanilla ice cream, freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or overnight. Ice cream will be ready to serve.
- If serving with pecan pralines and caramel sauce, freeze the ice cream about 4 hours until partially firm, break 2 or 3 pralines and mix gently. Drizzle just a few tablespoons of caramel sauce. Lightly swirl the sauce with the cream but do not mix to combine so as to leave visible ribbons of caramel sauce. Freeze for 4 more hours or overnight.
- If desired, serve with additional caramel sauce and pralines. Will yield about 2 quarts of ice cream.
- Warm cream in small saucepan over low to medium heat. Set aside.
- In a separate saucepan, combine water and sugar. Gently stir to combine before turning on heat. Once heat is turned on, do not stir.
- Turn heat on to medium. Bring sugar mixture to a rolling boil. Do not stir. When the mixture turns a light, golden amber color, turn heat to low or move the pot away from the heat. Gradually pour the warmed heavy cream into the syrup. Pour very slowly as the whipped cream may boil over.
- When all the heavy cream has been poured in, return the pot to medium heat, start stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to combine. If some of the sugar syrup has crystalized after adding the heavy cream, do not worry. At this point, the mixture should be stirred constantly and in the process, the crystallized sugar, if any, will dissolve and blend a few minutes later to form a smooth syrup.
- Still on medium heat. Add butter and salt. Continuously stir the sauce to prevent scorching. Cook the sauce until it is reduced and reaches a light golden color. The texture will be slightly thick and will thicken even more upon cooling.
- Pour the caramel syrup into a glass container and allow to cool completely. Cover and store in refrigerator.
- Will yield about 2 cups of caramel syrup. Only a few tablespoons will be drizzled in with the ice cream. The rest can be used for topping cupcakes, pies, cakes, and yes, even more ice cream.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine white sugar and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching.
- When the mixture reaches a rolling boil, add the chopped pecans and butter. Continue stirring for 1 – 3 minutes.
- Add the dark brown sugar and salt. Continue to cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Stir continuously to prevent scorching.
- Once the mixture has reduced, thickened and reached a light golden color, add vanilla.
- Remove from heat and stir for about 1 -2 minutes to cool the praline mixture down.
- With a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop the pecan pralines on the prepared cookie sheets. The pecan pralines will cool completely in about 5 minutes. Once cool to the touch, the pralines will firm up but still have a nice, soft texture.
- Yield will depend on the size of the spoon used to drop the pralines. If using a medium scoop, the recipe will yield about 18 pralines ranging between 2 to 3 inches.
- Only 2 or 3 pralines will be mixed in with the ice cream. Rest of the pralines can be enjoyed as is.
Velvety Vanilla Ice Cream with Pecan Pralines and Creamy Caramel Sauce