Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dulce de Leche Latte Ice Cream

Did you ever have one of these moments: waiting for someone who's blocking your way in the grocery store, your eyes wander to products you don't normally buy. You start reading names and flavors and descriptions ... Heath toffee ... chocolate ... creamy ... coffee ... mint (nah, that won't go ...) caramel, latte ...

And by the time the way is unblocked, you're ready to grab a whole basket full of that stuff that you've been ogling.

Does that happen to you?

Because it happens to me. Or, more accurately, it just happened the other day. And while I was still drooling over the flavors, I started thinking about what to do with them.

As is typical this time of year, all the sweet flavors made me think of ice cream. If it was winter, I'd be making a Bundt cake or cookies. This time of year, it's all about the cold.

So, I went to the baking aisle and grabbed a bag of Heath toffee bits. Oh, wow, I used to love the ice cream bars with Heath bits when I was a kid. Then I grabbed a can of dulce le leche. In the stores I shop at, that stuff is either with the canned and condensed milk products, or it's in the Mexican food section. Sometimes both.

And then I needed (needed: hah) some heavy cream. And milk. I had the rest of the goods at home. I've been using some of the flavored vodkas - whipped, chocolate whipped, and cake flavor - in ice creams lately. They're a little sweet, but they also seem a little smoother, with less of an alcohol kick.

The alcohol in the vodka keeps the ice cream from freezing totally solid, so when you grab it from the freezer, it's less like a glacier. The more alcohol, the softer the ice cream is, but you can also get carried away to the point where it won't freeze at all.

If you don't happen to have exactly the vodka I used, use whatever you have on hand. Rum would also be nice. Or a nice whiskey. If you think the flavor is a good match, go for it. I'm thinking gin or tequila might not be so good.

Or use some vanilla. Or skip it entirely. The ice cream won't be ruined, it will just be a bit more solid when it comes out of the freezer.

Inspired by Coffee:
Dulce de Leche Latte Ice Cream

1 can (13.4 ounces) dulce de leche
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits

Combine the dulce de leche, whipping cream, milk, coffee, salt, and vodka. Stir until the dulce de leche is completely dissolved into the liquid. You could also do this in a blender, but don't blend it so much that you make whipped cream.

Refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. Since I have an ice cream maker with a compressor, I threw caution to the wind and churned it right away.

ALSO! Pay attention to the amount! This was a little more than my ice cream maker wanted to accommodate in one batch, so made it in two batches. Or (hehe) you could choose to set aside some of the un-frozen mixture to use in milkshakes. Or, freeze the extra in ice pop molds (or whatever they're called - those molds that you use for frozen ice cream bars and stuff).

When the mixture is completely chilled, churn into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. You can mix in the Heath bits as the machine is just about done churning, or mix it in as you're transferring it to a storage container. What I usually do is put a layer of ice cream, then sprinkle the add-ins, then ice cream and add-ins in layers until the container is full. Not even or anything, just plopping it in. Then, I give it one quick mix to make sure it's all fairly evenly distributed. It doesn't matter if there are swirls with more add-ins, as long as each scoop from the container is likely to get a fair share.

After the mixture is transferred to a storage container, freeze until firm.

I thought this was great as-is, but for a more decadent dessert, how about a drizzle of Hershey's chocolate syrup, a dollop of coffee-flavored whipped cream, and some sprinkles of the Heath toffee bits on top? Oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about.

Or, how about an iced coffee float? A scoop of ice cream, topped with iced coffee and a swirl of whipped cream on top.

*If your instant coffee needs to be dissolved in hot liquid, you can mix it with a tiny bit of hot water, or heat a tiny bit of milk and mix that with the coffee before blending. The instant coffee I had disolved in the cold liquid, so I didn't need that step.