Would you laugh if I told you that I think of Caramel Crunch Ice Cream as a Pakistani dessert? Probably not if you are from Pakistan and a Karachiite like me. Our Karachi summers constituted a heady number of late night trips to Boat Basin for some of Rajoos Caramel Crunch Ice cream. We would pile into my grandfathers Charmant with the AC on high and jauntily make our way to what is essentially a food street. Most of us would order the same thing – a Caramel Crunch Ice cream with it’s milky stick to the roof of your mouth taste and bursts of shattery almond crunch. There is something so utterly irresistible about the velvety ice cream with it’s contrasting slightly bitter caramel almond bits. The adult in me has had to learn restraint, but the child with the fantastic metabolism polished off a generous serving.
Despite my proud ownership of an ice cream machine I am a little in love with no churn ice creams because of how accessible they are. They take minimal work and thanks to condensed milk still yield a dish that is rich and creamy. This Caramel Crunch ice cream uses Dulce de Leche as it’s base. Dulce de leche is essentially caramelized milk. It is readily available in stores now, either where your condensed milk is or where the nut spreads are.
Dulce de Leche is also a cinch to make. You can boil or bake a whole can of condensed milk (unopened), but since stuff like that freaks me out I don't. Instead I preheat my oven to 425, pour 400ml condensed milk into a dish, and cover it in foil. Then I place the dish in a water bath. Water bath is fancy for put 1.5" of water in a roasting pan large enough for the dish. I let it cook there for about 75-90 minutes until it looked thick and darkly delicious caramelly. Then I energetically whisked the lumps out of it and voila, some irresistible Dulce de Leche.
How irresistible you may ask? Well I am fairly confident that I should have gotten 400ml worth of the stuff. However, my little helpers were scampering around the kitchen and I wound up a little short. At some point I asked my older one if she could hold the whisk for me for a second. She candidly informed me “I can, but then I will just lick the whole thing”
In case you’re wondering I didn’t reward her for her honesty by handing over the whisk. My dulce de leche shortfall made it clear she had rewarded herself enough.
Instead I folded it into pillowy whipped cream and stirred in shards of caramel crunch. I was prepared for the result to be utterly delicious, but skeptical that it would match my expectations. As luck would have it, this delicious dreamy icecream is remarkably close to the icecream that redeemed many a wedding for me. Back in the day weddings would have the standard qorma biryani menu (yawn), but if they topped it off with caramel crunch ice cream all was forgiven. If they made fresh jalebis then well… that’s another discussion for another time.
Enough from me, you go be fancy and make some phenomenal caramel crunch icecream. Make it for yourself to enjoy on a lazy summer afternoon or to wow those guests you're having this weekend. Just make it.
No Churn Caramel Crunch Ice Cream
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup rice krispies
- ¼ cup flaked or chopped almonds
- note: you can use any nut to make the full ½ cup if you don't have rice krispies!
Ice Cream Base
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 300 ml dulce de leche + extra for drizzling optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the Caramel Crunch
- Place the ½ cup sugar in a medium heavy based saucepan on medium heat
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Once the sugar starts to caramelize at the edges start watching it carefully, swirl the pan if needed to ensure even browning
- When the caramel turns a deep amber in color then pull it off the heat, stir in the rice krispies and nuts and spread over your prepped baking sheet.
- Wait for the caramel crunch to cool the break into pieces by hand
To Make the Ice Cream
- Whip the cream until fluffy and it holds peaks
- Beat in the dulce de leche and vanilla
- Stir in the caramel crunch pieces, reserving ⅓ for serving and scattering on top
- Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe container and scatter some of the crunch pieces on top.
- Freeze for 6-8 hours or until firm.