In anticipation for the Pats/Jets game last night, I wanted to whip up a couple of things that could represent what I believed would be the outcome of the game (naturally believing the Pats would CREAM the Jets)… how wrong I was. But how right I was in my selection of dishes: Caramelized Onion Dip + Salted Caramel Ice Cream.
First, for the dip…
I started with about 2 cups of raw onions, sliced relatively thin.
I seasoned the onions with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and about 1/4 tsp of dill and garlic powder, and let them cook in about 2 TBSP olive oil for about 30 minutes in a large skillet (stirring frequently), until they turned a nice golden brown and could literally melt in your mouth.
While they were cooking, I took out a mini 3 oz container of cream cheese to let come to room temperature for easy mixing. (One thing I love most about this dip recipe is that it calls for no mayonnaise – a condiment I particularly abhor – anyone with me?!)
Once the onions were cooled, I mixed them together with the 3 oz cream cheese and 8 oz of sour cream. After fully incorporating the onions, I tasted, and realized it needed more salt + pepper, so I added another 1/2 tsp of each.
The result – an “oh-my-God-I want-more-of-that” dip. Serve with ruffled chips, pretzels and veggies.
For the ice cream (since I know that’s really what all of you want to read about anyway!) I started by bringing 2 cups of heavy cream + 2 tsp really good vanilla just to a boil in a large saucepan. After it boiled, I immediately took it off the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then I strained the cream into a bowl to remove all the skin and chunky bits. I rinsed the saucepan and wiped it clean, and then transferred the strained and smooth cream mixture back into it.
As the mixture cooled, I whipped together 4 egg yolks with 1/4 cup plus a couple TBSP of granulated sugar until it became light, yellow and fluffy (took me about 3 minutes at a pretty good whisking clip).
After I strained the cream (keep in mind, it’s still really warm at this point) I poured about 1/2 cup into the egg yolk/sugar mixture, and stirred it all together. This tempers the egg yolks so that when it’s all transferred into the hotter mixture (and eventually brought to a simmer) the egg doesn’t cook. Once fully incorporated, I added the egg mixture into the rest of the cream and slowly brought it back to a simmer. Note – during this reheating process it’s VERY important that you continue stirring the whole time… no one likes lumpy ice cream.
The mixture began to thicken, and I knew it was ready to be taken off the heat when the sauce stuck to the back of a spoon and held its form when I ran my finger through it.
Next, I transferred the mixture to a glass bowl (you can use any other bowl you have that’s freezer-friendly) and placed in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let cool. If you live in New England you could also put it on your windowsill since it’s THAT COLD HERE!
After 30 minutes, I took the mixture out of the fridge, whipped it together again for about a minute and then placed it (uncovered) in the freezer. At this point, you have the start to vanilla ice cream… from here, you can pretty much do what you want. For my Salted Caramel version, I removed it from the freezer after an hour, whipped it together again, and then drizzle melted caramel (I used store-bought from whole foods – i know, lazy!) throughout.
After another hour went by, I took it back out and sprinkled about 1/2 tsp of Fleur de Sel over the top. I just knew that the gorgeously delicate flakes of tasty salt were JUST what this ice cream needed to cut through the inevitable sweetness that rich and creamy vanilla ice cream and buttery caramel will deliver. Note – at this point, I covered the ice cream. Ice crystals are not welcome here!
I broke it open the next day and YUM is all I can say. It was heaven in a bowl. Rich, smooth, and creamy, with just a hint of chewy caramel, and the bit of salt on top was juuuuust right. See ya later Haagen Dazs 😉 I think I’ll make my own from now on…