Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits

*To read more about what inspired me to start this new (weekly!) blog series, click here!*

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

Thursday has officially become my new favorite day of the week!

Even though this is only my second official post of the Throwback Thursday series, I’ve been having so much fun thumbing through old magazine issues and simply deciding which dish to tackle next.  One of these days, I’m going to close my eyes, flip some pages, and just point.

[Just tried this and ended up landing on an old advertisement for Burberry marmalade and jams–yes, that Burberry–> how bizarre!]

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

When I first set my eyes upon this recipe for burnt sugar ice cream with chocolate bits [in a November 1987 issue of Gourmet], it immediately went to the top of my {growing recipe} list.

First of all, whoever came up with the adjective “burnt sugar” is a marketing genius, because if the recipe had just been called caramel ice cream with chocolate bits, I’m not sure I would have gotten nearly as excited about it.

This makes no sense at all, because burnt sugar = caramel.  Duh.  And yet, as I’m sure you would agree, it sounds so much more exciting and exotic.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

The recipe calls for a ‘dry-sugar’ caramel method, which basically entails dumping sugar in [very clean] skillet, turning up the heat, and raking it with a fork until the sugar begins to melt and turn into liquid form.

Depending on your preference, you can take the caramel as far as you want–I chose to go with a deeper, medium-dark amber for a more bitter, distinctive “caramelized” flavor.  Once you have made the caramel, simply add whole milk, whisk over low heat to allow the sugar to dissolve, temper this into an egg + cornstarch mixture, and bring it back to a boil.  

As strange as this “boil-method” sounded to me initially, I quickly realized that it eliminated the need to worry about salmonella or anything of the sort [which I know can sometimes be a cause of concern for egg-based ice creams].  How convenient!  Cool this completely, whisk in heavy cream, and churn.  It’s as simple as that.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

Sometimes you make a recipe and before tasting it just know that its gonna be a good one.  This ice cream is definitely one of those types of recipes.

Not only does the burnt sugar add an entirely new dimension of flavor–very similar to that of roast coffee–but the addition of the finely chopped chocolate adds great texture and bitterness to the mix.  Incredibly creamy. Dangerously good.


Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits

Yield: 1.5 Quarts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup well chilled heavy cream
  • 3.5 ounces fine-quality bittersweet (~72%) chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Using a very clean skillet, cook the sugar over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a fork, until the sugar begins to melt and turns a deep caramel color (be careful, once the sugar turns to liquid form, this will happen quickly).
  2. Immediately remove from heat and from the side of the skillet, slowly pour the milk into the caramel. The caramel will immediately seize and harden (don’t worry). Be careful for steam.
  3. Return the mixture over low-medium heat, stirring frequently until all the caramel has dissolved.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch. Add the caramel-milk mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking constantly with one hand, to temper.
  5. Once all of the caramel-milk has to been added to the egg mixture, add this to a medium-sized saucepan and cook over modern heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  6. Allow the mixture to come to a low boil and stirring constantly, stir for 2 minutes. As the cornstarch is brought to heat, the mixture will begin to thicken until it is the texture of pudding. Remove from the heat.
  7. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve, using a rubber spatula, and place over an ice bath to cool. Once the mixture has cooled, cover surface with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  8. Stir in the cold cream and vanilla extract until well combined. Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturers directions.
  9. In the last ten minutes or so of churning, when the ice cream is almost finished, add the finely chopped chocolate. Store in an ice cream container or other container (covering surface with plastic wrap)–and allow to freeze for an additional 4-6 hours to firm up a bit before serving.


Barely adapted from the November 1987 Issue of Gourmet Magazine.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0gSugar: 23gProtein: 5g

A Beautiful Plate provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

For more, check out last week’s Throwback Thursday post…