Naughty or Nice Butterscotch Ice Cream

“Ice cream is exquisite – what a pity it isn’t illegal.”  Voltaire

Butterscotch Ice Cream – Boozy Version (photo by MJ Byers)

Dish:   Butterscotch Ice Cream

Despite the best efforts of my strict parents, I developed into a person who rampantly celebrates her hedonism.  Which is why, when I recently purchased an ice cream maker, I immediately began to contemplate how I could marry alcohol with frozen treats.  Probably spurred on by memories of that hot boy I used to date who made the most delicious Kahlua milkshakes.

Anyway, on the subway, the idea came.  Why not combine my favorite Cock Sucking Cowboy shot (it’s a real thing….I am not making this up) with dessert?  And so I got to experimentin’.  Then, if I do say so myself, I came up with something yummy and oh-so-bad for you.  In deference to my parents, my mother DID always say that there is no such thing as “bad” ice cream.  So there you go.

Nonetheless, I wasn’t especially happy with the texture of my alcohol-laden frozen concoction.  This is because liquor is  kind of the enemy of freezing (just ask anyone who keeps vodka in their freezer), and what I got was something boozy (yay!) that never got any more solid than a robust custard.  That led me to (sadly) mix up an alcohol- free version which, actually, turned out to be tastier  (i.e. creamier, rounder flavor notes) AND to deliver the more solidly frozen ice cream I was after.

So, I present to you, both versions:  the “Naughty” one with booze, and the “Nice” one without.  Think of it as a dessert version of the proverbial angel and devil on the shoulder.

You’re welcome, fellow pleasure seekers.

How Do I Make This: Let’s start by mixing up a basic vanilla ice cream.  For 5 cups worth, you’ll need one cup whole milk, 2 cups heavy cream, ¾ cups superfine/granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract.  In a medium bowl, use a whisk (or mixer on low speed) to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved.  Then, stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Put the covered bowl in the fridge for a minimum of one hour and a maximum of 24 hours before putting it into your ice cream maker for the freezing process (during which time you’ll add the flavor components).  You’ll obviously need to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your ice cream maker for freezing.

Naughty:  If you’re going the boozy route, add in 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream and 2/3 cup butterscotch schnapps during the last few minutes your mixture spends in the ice cream maker.  What I do, in this version, is extend the freezing time.  So if, for instance, your ice cream maker instructions call for 15-20 minutes, I leave the boozy version in for another 15 minutes or so.  Adding the alcohol inhibits the freezing process, so tacking on the extra time on allows the ice cream to return to a more solid state (relatively).  At this point, you can serve immediately or put into an airtight container and store in the freezer for future consumption.  Again, this version will never freeze solid; it will always be soft and creamy.

Nice:  To do the virgin variety, you’ll need to make some butterscotch and add this in (again) during the freezing process.  Because there’s no alcohol in this, you can add it at any time after your vanilla mixture hits the ice cream maker.  Here’s how you make the butterscotch:  measure out and have on hand 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (not sure why it needs to be kosher, but this is how I learned to make butterscotch).    It’s important to have all this stuff ready to go – butterscotch is slightly delicate so you can’t leave it cooking while you hunt for ingredients.

Butterscotch aka Sex on a Spoon (photo by MJ Byers)

First, melt the butter on low to medium heat.  Just before the butter is completely melted, add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon until the sugar is evenly wet and no longer grainy.  You don’t have to stir constantly but you’ll need to do so regularly for 3-5 minutes until the mixture no longer appears like wet sand.  This is important as you don’t want a grainy texture in the butterscotch, so make sure you get everything stirred in – even scraping the corners of your pot.  Once the mixture looks sufficiently liquid-y, add the cream and whisk in.  Lower the heat a bit before doing this, then return to medium heat and whisk every few minutes until 10 minutes have elapsed.  It’s fine for the liquid to reach a low boil.  After ten minutes, turn off the heat and let the mixture rest for one or two minutes before transferring to a glass bowl and allow to cool.  Once the liquid is room temperature, whisk in half the salt and vanilla extract.  Give it a taste and, if not “butterscotchy” enough add more salt and extract until you’re happy.  The measures I’ve listed should do it, but you can flavor to taste.  Once you’ve got the flavor the way you like, it’s ready to add into the ice cream freezer.

One final note:  you can create an intermediate version on the “Naughty” vs. “Nice” spectrum (let’s call it “Mischievous”) by using the butterscotch version and adding 1/3 cup Bailey’s near the end of the freezing process.


Expensive vs. Cheap:  At my house this is cheap – we keep a full complement of liquor on hand.


Healthy vs. Tasty:  Please…….do you actually need to ask?


Preparation Time/Ease :  About two hours.  The ice cream is dead easy to make.  If you make the butterscotch, this is a little more involved as you need to take care not to overcook…..but it’s certainly not difficult.


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