Late Night Caramel Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream

When making ice cream it’s always good to keep in mind that the “batter” (if that’s what they call it) has to chill. So, for example, if you start your ice cream at 8:30 pm and the ice cream involves hot sticky caramel that needs to refrigerate to “cool,” don’t expect to be eating until after 11. And if after 11 your roommate drags you out for a night on the town, don’t expect ice cream until 2:56 am.

Tonight I was inspired to make the Barefoot Contessa’s Caramel Chocolate Pecan ice cream (a variation on the Turtle). I happened upon the recipe by accident: I was going to make her chicken chili, then I decided it would be wasted since my parents are coming in tomorrow for graduation and we’re eating every meal out. But then I saw the ice cream and said: I gotta make it.

This recipe is easy and delicious. I halved it because Barefoot’s recipes tend to yield 8000 times the amount you actually need. (Her Turkey Meatloaf requires like 15 lbs of turkey meat).

Anyway, begin by boiling sugar and water. (I won’t give amounts for copyright fears…are these unfounded? Anyone here go to law school?)


She says wait until there’s a mahogany color which should happen in three to five minutes. Five minutes went by. Then six. Then seven. I began to grow afeared. But, luckily, the color quickly changed. I snapped a photo:


Now you add 3 cups of cream. I like this recipe because there’s no milk. All cream. That’s my kind of ice cream.


BC says: “Careful when you add the cream, it’s going to bubble up!” And that it did. And then it forms a congealed mass, which BC also warns about. She says: “Don’t worry, it will melt. Put it back on the heat” (oh ya, you take it off the heat when you add the cream) “and stir til the caramel dissolves.”

[Remember when I made that burnt caramel ice cream? I threw away the congealed mass instead of dissolving it. That’s probably why it didn’t turn out so great.]

So I dissolved my congealed mass, poured it into a bowl, and refrigerated. Went out on the town.

When we got back, hours later, I chopped up artisinal milk chocolate from Whole Foods (which tastes amazing, by the way).


Then I chopped up pecans that I had toasted earlier. (I like toasting pecans in my free time as well as butterfly painting and long walks on the beach).


Now we add the cool caramel cream mix to the mixer:


Let it go for 30 minutes while you check your e-mail and download wholesome pornography.

After 30 minutes, I’ll admit it was still soupy but that’s because it required post-mixing freezing:


Now we add our pecans and chocolate:


Serve up two soupy bowls to late night ice cream fans:


Pack the rest away:


Friends, this ice cream was delicious. In the game of “worth making” or “not worth making” this definitely ranks in the former category. It’s wonderfully sweet, rich, and choc full of textural goodness. Lauren complained that it was “too rich” but that’s because she abhors capitalism. Trust me, this is good stuff. And now, I’m afraid, I must slumber.

9 thoughts on “Late Night Caramel Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream”

  1. Wow, looks really good. I have the same problem with making ice cream that tastes great right out of the machine, kind of like “softserve”, but when it’s frozen all the way, the way it’s supposed to be, it’s rock-hard and more like a giant ice cream cube.

    Which of the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks has this recipe?

  2. Check this out:

    I am no lawyer but it is fairly simply stated right?

    Especially when you are demonstarting it yourself with pictuires and your own words. Rather, your version should be copyrighted. ;)

    And I’m sure you’ve tweaked all the recipes to some degree. So, please share the recipes with all of us! It’s not like your scanning the whole book for us.

    Disclaimer : This is just FYI. What you do is your choice. Heh heh ….

  3. Ladies, you can find it in the PARTIES! book on pg. 162. But because I’m feeling generous and dangerous tonight, I’ll type up the recipe and hope Ina doesn’t beat my door down. Keep in mind that I HALVED the recipe…otherwise this would produce way too much. She even says: “If you have a one-quart ice cream maker, you will have to freeze the mix in two batches.” But, in ay case, here’s the original.

    2 1/2 cups sugar

    6 cups heavy cream

    2 Tbs pure vanilla extract

    3 cups pecan halves (10 oz)

    6 to 7 oz best-quality sweet chocolate, diced (see note)

    NOTE: I prefer Lindt Lindor truffles (two 3.5-oz packages) because they do not freeze hard. Lindt Swiss Milk Chocolate (two 3 oz packages) or any good milk chocolate is fine too.

    Place 1/2 cup of water and the sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and cook over low heat, without stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil until the sugar turns a warm mahogany or caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir, but swirl the pan occassionally so the caramel cooks evenly.

    Remove the caramel from the heat and carefully pour in the cream. The caramel is very hot and the mixture will bubble up violently (like my husband) then solidify. Don’t worry. Return it to low heat and cook, stirring with a woodwn spoon, until the caramel dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla. Pour into a container and refrigerate until very cold (like my marriage).

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes until crisp. Cool, chop, mix with the diced chocolate and store in the freezer until ready to use.

    Freeze the caramel mixture in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (It may take several batches). When it is frozen, add the chop cold chopped pecans and chocolate and mix in completely. Transfer to quart containers and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

  4. Thanks so much! You are wonderful and generous. And uh, dangerous. But since it’s not Martha Stewart, I think you’ll be okay.

    I have to go freeze my ice cream machine’s inner tube freezy thing now!

    Thanks again!

  5. I made this! I got the new Kitchenaid KICA ice cream maker attachment for my mixer and this was my first experiment. The bowl holds 2 quarts so I went ahead and made the full recipe. Some of the steps seemed to take much longer than the recipe specified (the sugar didn’t dissolve for over 20 minutes and don’t even get me started on trying to melt that mass of caramel gunk once the cream is added) but I agree with your statement that this recipe is so very much worth the effort. So, so, so very much worth it. It is so good that it made me lie to my father-in-law about how much was left, on FATHER’S DAY.

  6. i had the same cuisinart ice cream maker.

    my ice cream always turned out like soup.

    it may have been my freezer, it never gets cold enough to chill the freezing unit recently.

    so then i find my mom’s hand crank ice cream machine (white mountain) which she ordered from whole earth magazine in her hippie days. even though you have to pack it with ice and rock salt, the churning is not really so difficult, it only takes about 20 minutes. and the consistency is so much better. so my point is, try hand cranked manual labor. you get some exercise in the process.

  7. When I made this, it wasn’t soupy at all. I have the machine that is electric, but that you pack with rock salt and ice. It runs until the ice cream is the right consitency. It was creamy and delicious. My only thought is that it has too much vanilla. 2 Tbs. is a lot! Next time I will try it with less.

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