FreshTartSteph Recipe: Caramel Popcorn Candied Almond Ice Cream

Remember Poppycock, the massively addictive caramel-glazed popcorn with almonds that has graced every dorm room on every campus ever? Well apparently I still love the stuff, because when craft ice cream whiz kids Benny Solberg and Erik Powers—aka the Froz Broz—asked me about collaborating on an ice cream flavor (whee!), what we came up with together is in a nutshell, Poppycock ice cream. Hellooo brown butter, salty caramel, and glazed almonds, spun into a popcorn-infused custard base. I’m telling you, this beauty hits all the right crunchy-creamy-salty-sweet notes.

It may still be cold outside, but it’s the perfect time for ice cream.

Benny and Erik swung by my house to demonstrate the ice cream’s various steps, chat about their business plans, and perhaps share a couple of cocktails. Have I mentioned that they are awesome? Smart and funny and talented times 1000—the fact that they’re churning the coolest ice cream flavors in town is really just a bonus. A decidedly delicious bonus!

Born from their mutual passion for cooking with local ingredients, the long-time friends decided to invent adventurous ice cream flavors…a new one each week. With flavors like Sweet Pea Mint; Tomato; and Black Pepper Grape Syrup with Pita Cracker & Chevre (to name just a few), the Broz work with local farmers to incorporate peak-season ingredients. Every flavor I’ve tried—I’ll confess I’ve been lucky enough to try several—has been just beautiful to eat.

These are ice cream flavors you think and talk about afterward.

I know your next question: Where can I buy some? And the answer is: You can’t. Not quite yet. For now, they give away two pints of each weekly flavor, so definitely subscribe to their blog and leave a comment to enter their drawings. Or, hire them to make you a special small batch. And then, if you like, contribute to their equipment fund, because in their words, “Making our own base is crucial to the quality and breadth of flavors we create, we have no choice but to get the expensive pasteurization equipment required to get legal with ‘the man.'”

While you’re waiting for the Froz Broz to take over the world, churn yourself a batch of Caramel Popcorn Candied Almond and forget there’s still snow on the ground.

Happy Brown Butter Spring!


Caramel Popcorn Candied Almond Ice Cream

The Froz Broz

Note: Start the ice cream the day before you plan to serve it. Make both the caramel and ice cream base (so the base is very, very chilled before churning). Toast the almonds and cool them to room temperature the day you make the ice cream.

1 c. white granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. heavy cream

Candied Almonds:
4 c. raw almonds
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 egg white

4 c. popped popcorn (popped in a pan on the stove with oil), ground coarse in a food processor
3/4 c. white granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted/browned
1 pint heavy cream
1 c. milk (can use any fat percentage, higher will result in creamier texture)
2 eggs
1 tsp. sea salt

For the Caramel: (Make 1 day ahead)
Pour sugar into heavy saucepan and stir in water and mix until sugar is wet.

Bring sugar and water mixture to boil over medium high heat. **DO NOT STIR! Stirring at any point before caramelization occurs will cause the caramel to turn out grainy.** Watch carefully until boiling sugar begins to turn an amber color (after 6-8 minutes or so). Remove from heat and stir in the cream—it will froth up when cream is added and will seem to separate, but keep stirring and mixture will blend nicely. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to combine with ice cream.

For the Candied Almonds:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Oil or spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whip egg white until light and foamy. Stir almonds, brown sugar, and salt into the whipped egg white and toss to coat. Spread almonds evenly on sheet pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring once during process, until almonds are browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheet pan. Use a metal spatula to scrape almonds off of sheet pan.

To make the Ice Cream:
Whisk eggs and sugar together until they become fluffy and batter-like. Add cream, milk, salt, and pulverized popcorn and stir until well mixed.

Cook ice cream base in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until batter reaches temperature of 160 degrees. Whisk in brown butter while ice cream batter is warm. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove all small pieces of popcorn kernels. Place mixture in heat-proof mixing bowl and cool in refrigerator overnight.

When ice cream base is fully chilled, place in ice cream maker and follow instructions for machine. Add in 1 c. of almonds in final minutes of churn and let mix until well dispersed. Layer in the caramel as you pack the ice cream into its container. Freeze.