Caramel- Chocolate Nut Ice Cream

This recipe has been featured in a post on The Recipe Girl blog: Caramel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream (Hold the Nuts!)

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Caramel- Chocolate Nut Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

Prep Time: 25 min + chilling and processing time

Cook Time: 15 min

This has got to be one of the richest ice creams that I've ever tasted. Completely decadent and wonderful!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup fat- free half and half cream (or regular)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves (10 ounces)- completely optional
3 to 4 ounces chocolate, cut into small pieces

Directions:

1. Place 1/2 cup water and sugar in a large, heavy- bottomed saucepan, and cook over low heat, without stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil until the sugar turns a warm mahogany or caramel color, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir, but swirl the pan occasionally so the caramel cooks evenly.

2. Remove the caramel from heat and CAREFULLY pour in the cream. The caramel is very hot, and the mixture will bubble up violently, then solidify. Don't worry. Return it to low heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the caramel dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla. Pour into a container and refrigerate until very cold. (preferably overnight)

3. If using nuts... Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp. Cool, chop, mix with the diced chocolate, and store in the freezer until ready to use.

4. Freeze the caramel mixture in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. When it is frozen, add the cold chopped pecans and chocolate and mix in completely. Transfer to a quart container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Tips:

*If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure that the brand of chocolate you're using is known to be GF.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!)

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