Toffee Nut Latte Ice Cream

Well, I’m back in the US.  I’ve been back for two weeks, but between jet lag and thesis panic, I haven’t been able to sit down and write this up.  That, and all those “friend” things that I have to see again, just to double check that they actually exist in physical space and time and are not just electronic ghosts echoing in my chat program.

And of course, the best way to re-introduce myself to those people I haven’t seen for a year (or more in some cases) is with something sweet.

For the next month or so I’ll be busting out a shortish thesis for my Spanish Master’s program, so yet again I have returned, tail between legs, to my mother’s house.  One thing about an economic crisis is that it hoovers up your savings pretty quickly.  That and prancing around Italy.  But one perk to forming part of the huge wave of twenty-somethings that meekly return to the nest with empty pockets is that I have my mother’s newly renovated kitchen to mess around in.  And, I’ve been reunited with my toys.

There’s several things that have been soft, plushy cushions to my culture shocky return.  I feel like an idiot when I don’t understand why the bartender would want to see I.D., when I eat up some crosswalks without yielding after not driving for a year, and when I ask the grocery store clerk to hand over some bags so I can get started packing up.  But the plethora of trees, ridiculous groupings of mountains, and quality Mexican and Thai food help.  But most of all: American-style coffee shops.

I love them.  Cushy chairs, hushed voices, laptops clacking away, and more flavor add-ins than you can shake a stick at.  I’ve missed it.  I am a huge fan of Spanish coffee culture, in that you take your time to catch up with an extra strong cup of café con leche in the sun, but toffee nut lattes.  Over in Sevilla they were a Christmas flavor only.  I avoided Starbucks generally in Spain because you could get better and cheaper coffee pretty much anywhere else (every bar, cafe, and restaurant has beer and coffee).  Except for one annual trip to get my toffee nut latte.

So when I came home to my espresso machine and my ice cream maker, I knew what I wanted to do.

This poor machine is about twenty years old. I’m its third owner. But we kept it all in the family.

Toffee Nut Latte Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Ice Cream

I read around for awhile for coffee ice cream recipes, but I wasn’t terribly pleased at all the versions that included instant coffee powder.  I mean, I just carted three different types of Italian espresso back to feed my machine.  I’ve been drinking instant crap for five months because I shipped my stove-top coffee pot home when I moved across town in January.  We would not be doing instant anything. So I made it up.

A quick shilll for David Lebovitz: this man is awesome.  I am a big fan of free internet recipes, obviously, but after he won my heart with his vanilla ice cream recipe (which I used last year to make my Earl Grey tea ice cream), I broke down and ordered his book, the Perfect Scoop. Too late to provide me with his recipe for coffee ice cream, but in time to make peanut butter chocolate for my uncle’s birthday today.  And I am smitten.  If you are at all interested in ice creams, invest in this book.  My friends are going to be inundated with pie a la mode this summer.  Ok.  Now for ice cream. Oh wait, oops.  Use heavy cream.  I accidentally picked up half and half because I was a jet lagged dolt who forgot to read her recipe before shopping.  It came out delicious anyways, but I would have liked it slightly creamier.  So: people concerned with fat content, you can use half in half instead of cream.  People concerned with moan-inducing ice cream, use all the fat.  Fat is flavor, unfortunately.

Key to Lebovitz ridiculously delicious ice cream: an obscene amount of eggs. He suggests adding up to three more for extra oomph.

Makes about 1 quart

Pinch of salt

1 c whole milk

3/4 c sugar

2 c heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla

4 shots of espresso

1/2 c toffee crumbles (I smacked the non-living daylights out of toffee squares from Trader Joe’s with a rolling pin)

Combine the milk, salt, and sugar in a pot.  Heat over low heat and stir until all is dissolved and copacetic.

Set up an ice bath with a large bowl settled in it.  Fit a strainer over the top and pour in the cream, letting it chill down ahead of time, which will help the over all cooling time of your future ice cream base. Make your espresso.

Stir together the egg yolks in a separate bowl.  Temper your eggs by pouring in the milk, a little at a time, whisking all the while to avoid the possibility of flash poaching your eggs.

Add the egg and milk mixture back to the pot and place on low heat.  Cook, stirring with a spatula, until the custard thickens enough to lightly coat the spatula.  When you run a finger down the spatula, the custard shouldn’t run back to rejoin itself right away – then you know that you’ve cooked it long enough.

Strain the custard into the cream and stir until cool.

This is why we strain.

Add the vanilla and the coffee.  I started out with two shots, tasted it, and decided that that was for wimps and added two more in.  Right decision.

Thar she blows.

Chill for at least eight hours.

Freeze your ice cream according to your machine’s instructions.  About three or four minutes before the end of its cycle, add in the toffee bits and let the machine work it through.  Remove. Eat.  Or remove, chill, and eat if you like your ice cream firmer.

Either way, it’s fabulous.

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2 Responses to “Toffee Nut Latte Ice Cream”


  1. 1 Marko June 1, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog
    and look forward to new updates.

    • 2 desasdishes June 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Hey thanks! I don’t, but you can get the rss feed or email updates in the sidebar. Thanks for visiting!


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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!

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