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

Yield: 1.5 Quarts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes ( + 6 Hours Chilling Time)

Print Print Recipe


  • 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.
  10. 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.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits | Blogging Over Thyme

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

39 Responses to “Burnt Sugar Ice Cream with Chocolate Bits”

  1. #
    Tieghan — August 15, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    This looks heavenly! Burnt sugar? WOW!! I am in love!

    • Laura replied: — August 15th, 2013 @ 9:43 am

      Thank youuu!

  2. #
    pippa@popovertopippas — August 15, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    Did Connor like the ice cream?! I’m not even going to tell Brian about this post, because he will insist that we bring up the ice cream machine from his parent’s house!

    • Laura replied: — August 15th, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      He loved it and sent me a text, consisting entirely of emoticons, if that says anything. Rachel also got to try it earlier this week, when she popped over! All three of us thought it tasted a bit like a caramelized coffee ice cream in a way. Really good! I have a feeling Brian already received this post via email this morning….

      Too late :)

    • jann jones replied: — August 18th, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

      @Pippa, love the name, btw, Walmart, Target, etc, a 4 qt electric machine will run you around 25.00, maybe less, as this is clearance time. I’ve got 2, and a 6 qt., I grew up with homemade ice cream. This one sounds like I should’ve made it ages ago!!! Check into the machine, or look online, Rival.com, so worth the bit of cash, lasts years!! Brian wil be pleased, I bet.. =)=)

  3. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — August 15, 2013 @ 11:29 am

    I totally agree… “burnt-sugar” is a genius phrase! This looks so fantastic!

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:45 am

      I know–pure genius. Thanks for visiting Jen!

  4. #
    Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie — August 15, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    Oh, this sounds delicious! There is a local restaurant that has a burnt sugar ice cream and it is divine! I never thought to make it myself :)

  5. #
    Alexandra @ Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker — August 15, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

    Oh my… this is like an ice cream fantasy! I ‘m OBSESSED with caramel – I make my caramel with the dry method all the time – and I’ve been wanting to make a caramel ice cream for a while now. Adding the dark chocolate chunks is like a given – how can you NOT want chocolate chunks in your ice cream?! Anyway, this sounds amazing; definitely bookmarking and pinning!

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:45 am

      Thanks so much Alexandra! :) I tend to do a bit of water with my caramel–just to give it a bit more time, but I really liked this method, it worked really well. And totally agree, if the occasion calls for it, always add chocolate chunks.

  6. #
    Christy — August 15, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

    That looks heavenly.

    I made a burnt sugar cake for my birthday a few years ago and it was the best cake ever. I still dream about it.

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:44 am

      Oh man…burnt sugar cake?! Must do this.

  7. #
    Vanessa — August 15, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

    This is the perfect example of why I don’t own an ice cream maker.. I would turn into a pint of ice cream! Looks SO good!!

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:44 am

      HAH! Would that be so bad?! :)

  8. #
    Christine — August 15, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

    I would get an ice cream maker just to make this ice cream. Looks fantastic!

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:43 am

      I was lucky enough to get the KitchenAid ice cream attachment for Christmas–but I sort of agree :) Thanks so much Christine!

  9. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — August 16, 2013 @ 12:36 am

    I totally agree! Carmel ice cream…hmmm ok. Burnt Sugar ice cream? WOAH. What is it, can I have it, I want it. And this looks like it totally lives up to the hype!

    • Laura replied: — August 16th, 2013 @ 8:46 am

      YES!! Loved this comment. Thanks Sarah!

  10. #
    Lillian — August 16, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    Yum! this looks delicious

  11. #
    Gwen — August 16, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    Oh, goodness! I don’t even own an ice cream maker, and this one definitely has me browsing the web for one. Looks awesome!

    • Laura replied: — August 18th, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

      Thanks Gwen! Hope I haven’t burned a hole in your wallet! :)

  12. #
    Laura@bakinginpyjamas — August 18, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    It looks delicious and the base for the Ice cream sounds nice and simple too!

  13. #
    Allie | Baking A Moment — August 18, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    Oh, wow, this sounds so good! And you are right, burnt sugar sounds much more intriguing and exotic than plain old caramel… although I can never resist caramel either ;)! Just loving this series, it’s making me want to dig out my old Gourmet Mags! 😀

    • Laura replied: — August 20th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Thanks Allie! Do you have a bunch of old ones too?! Mine are mostly from the early 80’s and 90’s. I have decided to continue the tradition and save my new subscriptions as well. I dream of having a library one day full of cookbooks :)

      • Allie | Baking A Moment replied: — August 20th, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

        I think I have about 2 1/2 years-worth of Gourmet, from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. It was my favorite food mag, by far. I was so p***ed with they did away with it, lol! And now I just can’t part with them. I have lots of Bon Appetit’s too, although I recently got rid of all the non-holiday-month issues, just to make space. But a library-full sounds wonderful! 😉

        Keep the great throwback recipes comin’ girl!

  14. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — August 18, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

    Ah-maz-ing! This looks to-die-for.

    • Laura replied: — August 20th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

      Thanks so much Emily! :)

  15. #
    Marie-Louise Davidson — August 19, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

    Absolutely delicious looking! I want a taste now! I think it might taste like the top of a creme caramel?

  16. #
    Sheila Garey — August 19, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    This looks absolutely divine! I don’t have an ice cream maker and we’re trying REALLY hard to pare down our stuff, not add to it….I wonder how it would taste as a pudding? Do you think if you just refrigerated it, it would thicken enough to be a pudding? :o)

  17. #
    Jessica S. @ Floptimism — August 25, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

    Hi there! My name is Jessica, and I run a food blog, Floptimism. Every week I write a Weekend Wrap-Up post where I share some of my favorite web finds from the past week. I stumbled across this ice cream recipe and thought it looked and sounded so unbelievable, that I had to feature it on this week’s round up! I’ve included the link below in case you’re interested. Thank you for a great recipe idea, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend!


    • Laura replied: — August 25th, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

      So glad you commented! :) Thanks so much for featuring my ice cream, Jessica, I’m so happy to hear great feedback.

  18. #
    Caroline — August 13, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

    The phrase “burnt sugar” immediately woke memories of Christmas in the kitchen at home where we would use the cooling burnt sugar (‘knekk’ in Norwegian, meaning ‘crack’ or ‘break’) to fasten the walls of the gingerbread house. And of course, the deliciously simple and highly addictive Holiday snack called ‘burnt almonds’ are really just almonds glazed in burnt caramel. Come to think about it, I don’t think the traditional Norwegian kitchen uses this technique outside the dark season at all! So to me, this recipe rings of Christmas yet to a tune I have never heard before: With ice cream! AND chocolate! What is there not to love!

    This will go on my Christmas must-make list, and already has me shopping for an ice cream maker. Thanks for finding and sharing this amazing recipe! You might just have given us a new family tradition :)

  19. #
    Jordan Smith — September 18, 2014 @ 5:53 am

    Looks unbelievable Laura! This reminds me of my favorite Sugar Ice Cream Chocolate (one of them!). I have to try it.

    Perfect Ingredients and Directions to make it :)


    • Laura replied: — September 18th, 2014 @ 8:51 am

      So glad you like it! Thanks Jordan!

  20. #
    Culinare — October 16, 2014 @ 2:25 am

    Thanks for the recipe. is very easy to make and very tasty, I prepared it for girls. It was yummmi

  21. #
    Eliza Fischer — July 6, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

    This was GREAT! I’ve never made burnt sugar by stirring constantly with a fork — I usually add a little water and then DO NOT TOUCH — so I was wary about that part, but it was super easy and fast and perfect! This ice cream is absolutely delicious! Thank you!

    • Laura replied: — July 7th, 2015 @ 9:12 am

      I’m so thrilled to hear that you liked it Eliza! Thank you for the feedback! Making caramel just with a fork made with nervous too, I’m used to adding water as well 😉


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