Cashew Brittle – Vanilla ice cream

Cashew Caramel - Vanilla Ice cream

So lately I’ve had floating around my head gazillions of ideas for ice cream (probably because I stuck my ice cream maker in the freezer about 9 days ago and hadn’t yet brought myself to the actual task of putting something in it.) Amongst those ideas have been a mamey one, which is probably coming next, a strawberry crumble one, a nutella-banana one, and a rosemary one. But, even though I rarely repeat recipes, I thought I’d start this ice-cream frenzy my mind is on with something tried and true – and oh so very true! I made this recipe before for a friend who’s crazy about nuts (heh, crazy about nuts -insert childish giggle-) in any form, but particularly mixed with anything sweet, namely caramel. The cashews in this ice cream are slightly salted, roasted, and then turned into brittle, all by a very simple process. They are then incorporated into an adaptation of The perfect scoop’s vanilla ice cream recipe. I made extra brittle for serving, and also just because it’s delicious by itself, you can serve it with tea or just munch on it while you blog about it give it to said friend as an extra present. Keep reading for the recipe.

Cashew Brittle – Vanilla ice cream
Uses The Perfect Scoop’s vanilla recipe as base.

For the brittle
2 1/2 cups slightly salted and roasted cashews
1 1/2 cups sugar

For the vanilla base

1 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks


Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Place the cream on the smaller bowl and prepare a strainer to go over it.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.

While your custard chills, make the brittle:
(Be careful, sugar burns are nasty, and caramel goes from caramel to burning disaster in the blink of an eye!)
Slightly crush your cashews and prepare a silicone mat.
Place the sugar in a saucepan over med-low heat. Playing close attention, stir with a heat-resistant spatula. It should start melting and turning brown at the same time. Keep mixing  and as soon as its all melted and caramel-colored and you can no longer see any white bits, remove from fire and immediately add the cashews, stirring to coat them evenly. (Work very very quickly; the cashews will bring down the temperature of the sugar making it go hard very fast.) Place them on your silicone mat and try to spread them out as separated as possible. Let cool completely.

After your custard has chilled (mine was in the fridge for about 6 hours), take a rolling pin and crush half of your brittle to very small pieces, the kind you’d like to get in your ice cream. (Save the rest in big chunks for serving in an air-tight conainer.) Add the crushed brittle to the custard and immediately process in your ice-cream maker. Preferably when done, freeze overnight before serving.

Caramel with cashews

Cashew Brittle

Crushed Cashews




2 thoughts on “Cashew Brittle – Vanilla ice cream

  1. Everything looks so great! This goes beyond the scope of the normal pecan and peanut brittle or praline. I’m excited to try this recipe, it looks really easy.

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