A couple of months ago, I asked my Facebook community to chime in with inspiration for ice cream flavors. Their responses equated to a virtual jackpot of deliciousness. I’ll be trying several more of the suggestions over the next few months, but I absolutely had to push this one in particular to the tippy top of the list. Jenny responded to my Facebook question, telling me that her local ice cream shop, Grand Ole Creamery, has a flavor they call Black Hills Gold. She explained it as caramel ice cream with chunks of Oreo, pralines and pecans. It’s sounds insanely delicious, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that you should stop whatever it is you’re doing right this very minute and go to the store to pick up these ingredients because I totally copycatted Grand Ole Creamery’s Black Hills Gold ice cream and it is hands down my favorite homemade ice cream flavor ever. I can’t decide whether to thank Jenny profusely for introducing me to this bit of heaven on a spoon, or mumble about her under my breath for causing me increased calorie intake. I think I’ll go with the former.
The ice cream base is David Lebovitz’s recipe. I dug out my favorite praline recipe for the praline bits. The Oreos and pecans are, well, just Oreos and pecans.
1/2 cup half and half (alternatively, you can use 1/4 cup heavy cream mixed with 1/4 cup whole milk like I did)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecan halves
To make the ice cream:
Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large glass bowl and set a mesh strainer on top of it. Set aside.
Spread the sugar evenly in the bottom of a large, heavy saucepan. Heat it over medium heat until it begins to melt around the edges. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir the melted and liquified sugar towards the center of the pan. The goal is to stir the mixture as little as possible while still getting all of the sugar to melt and liquify. There may be some lumps and that's okay. They'll melt eventually. Continue cooking until the caramel smokes and turns a deep amber color.
Quickly remove caramel from heat and stir in the butter and sea salt until the butter is melted. Gradually mix in the cream. The caramel may seize as you stir in the cream. Don't let it discourage you. If it happens, simply return the pan to the burner and continue to heat until the caramel melts again. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk.
Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Temper the egg yolks by gradually drizzling 1/2 cup of the warm caramel mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you go. Pour the tempered yolks back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Continue cooking the custard, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a rubber spatula.
Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk. Add the vanilla and stir thoroughly to mix. Refrigerate overnight.
To make the praline bits:
Combine brown and white sugar with half and half in a medium heavyweight saucepan. Heat over medium heat until candy thermometer reads 238°. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Let cool for just a few minutes until mixture thickens somewhat and begins to lose its gloss. Add vanilla and pecans. Pour mixture out onto a sheet of waxed paper and allow it to cool completely. Once mixture is completely cool, chop pralines into bite-sized bits. Store in a airtight container until you are ready to freeze the ice cream.
To freeze the ice cream:
Freeze the chilled custard according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is done, stir in smashed Oreos, praline bits and toasted pecans. Mix well before storing in freezer.
Did you make this recipe?
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