Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream

Posted on: November 4, 2009


Two snacks in one!

This is what I ate on Halloween instead of candy. I unfortunately had a cold at the time so my tastebuds were a little off, but still, this was way, way better than a Kit-Kat. I’ve been munching on fun size Halloween candy for weeks now, so by the time Halloween rolled around, I was ready for a non-chocolate based ice cream.  I wanted to create an ice cream that had a connection to Halloween, but didn’t involve just smashing up some random candy bits and throwing it into my ice cream maker. Not that that flavor sounds bad, mind you, but I wanted to push myself and come up with a more creative ice cream recipe. I started brainstorming about popular halloween treats when a friend brought up popcorn balls. You know, those old school, sticky popcorn balls that people always make for Halloween? I’ve never been a huge fan of them, but it got me thinking about how popcorn might taste in a ice cream recipe. Well, as it turns out, pretty sensational. The popcorn here is in cased in a salted toffee sauce and baked up until light and crispy. Mixed into the sweet cream base it becomes heavenly, a treat without any trick.


The buttery toffee sauce...

For the popcorn, I used a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and it came out beautifully. The flavor is very similar to Poppycock, but with less fat and calories. The popcorn was so delicious on its own that I’m considering making a large batch around Christmastime and giving it away as gifts. The toffee sauce here was rich and buttery with a hint of warm molasses underneath it.


The best caramel corn ever!

The only issue with popcorn in ice cream is that it doesn’t sit very well if you want to store for a while in the freezer. It will still taste good, but the popcorn will get soggy. This really wasn’t an issue for me however, because my family and I gobbled it up in one sitting. So for this ice cream I would recommend that you serve it when you know that there will be lots of hungry mouths around. Which shouldn’t be to hard because, heck,  I’m getting hungry just looking at the pictures!


The sweet cream base.

The sweet, buttery and slightly salty popcorn was divine when folded into the sweet, cream base. As always, I used once pasteurized, and non homogenized milk and cream for a super creamy and deeply flavorful sweet cream base. The caramel popcorn became little crunchy, nuggets of caramel flavor that enhanced and intensified the flavor of the cream. I definitely think that this ice cream could be an improvement over those old Halloween popcorn balls. I enjoyed this ice cream so much that I wouldn’t trade it for a lifetime supply of fun size candy. And coming from me, that’s really saying something! So enjoy and I hope you all had a Halloween that was both spooky and safe.

Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream


2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream, preferably unhomogenized

Caramel Popcorn recipe (recipe follows)

 1.)    Whisk eggs together in a large bowl for a few minutes. Then, gradually add the sugar to the eggs, all the while whisking. Add the milk and cream and whisk until well mixed. Pour into ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is finished churning, fold in caramel popcorn and enjoy!


Caramel Popcorn (from Cooking Light Magazine, December 2002)

Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)


 Cooking spray

1  cup  packed dark brown sugar

1/2  cup  light-colored corn syrup

1/3  cup  butter

1  tablespoon  light molasses

1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract

1/2  teaspoon  baking soda

1/2  teaspoon  salt

12  cups  popcorn (popped without salt or fat)


Preheat oven to 250°.

Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.

Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Make it a Sundae!- You could easily create a Poppycock sundae by topping this ice cream with caramel or toffee sauce, mixed salted nuts, and fresh whipped cream for an over the top treat.


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