I don't eat much out of the standard rotation these days. Pancakes, peanut butter, ramen; scones, pizza, ramen; smoothies, burritos, ramen. Don't dis the ramen; it's where I get half of my vegetables.
But yesterday I deviated from my well-worn path to make a variety of ice cream that is not dark chocolate. As I posted some weeks ago (the last time I touched this blog >.>;), I've made many batches of ice cream, but all chocolate. Frankly, I've been afraid to try any other flavors. It's very difficult to screw up chocolate. If the texture is wrong, it's still chocolate. If it freezes too hard, well, it's still chocolate so I'm willing to wait. If the flavor is too bitter or too sweet, I have a wide range for tolerance...because it's still chocolate.
Vanilla, on the other hand, is a tricky business. You don't have anything to hide behind. Either the sweetness is spot on, or it's blah. If the texture is wrong, the flavor isn't intense enough to make up for it. Still, even I can tire of chocolate. I sought out viable alternatives: Peppermint. Pistachio. Butter Pecan. All of them, unfortunately, would require me to get to the store for special ingredients.
"Salted Caramel" to the rescue! The title sounds hip, and who doesn't like caramel? Just some water and sugar and patience, et voila, right? Not right. After ten minutes watching syrup bubble, I produced nothing but a hard, sticky mess that wasn't anything like the "deep amber color" all the websites said the combination should magically produce. So I poured it down the drain and applied a tenet seared into my brain during my formative years watching the Food Network: "When in doubt, add butter."
Buttescotch-ish Ice Cream
-1/4 cup water
-1 packet unflavored gelatin
-2 1/2 cups soy milk
-2 tbsp butter
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/3 cup egg whites
Soften the gelatin in the water for ten minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan and stir until bubbly. Turn down the heat and wait for the syrup to burn (3-5 minutes). Heat the soy milk in a large mixing bowl, and dissolve the softened gelatin in it. Pour the "butterscotch" into the milk, mixing vigorously (it will bubble vehemently!) Stir in the vanilla and put the base in the fridge to set up overnight. Break up the gelatinous "pudding" and mix thoroughly if the fats separated to the top. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the pudding, and pour the base into an ice cream maker to freeze.
I don't have photos to share because the quality of my shots would just send you running away, instead of enticing you to try the recipe. I was genuinely shocked that this turned out so well. Sweet, but not ridiculously sugary, with a full body hiding underneath the unassuming vanilla exterior. "Real" butterscotch uses brown sugar, so my lazy granulated substitute made it less complex than it could have been, but I am happy.