brown butter ice cream / by Maci Britt

After I finished these photos I shared a sneak peek on my Facebook. This is what I wrote: “if only you could taste this ice cream right now, there would be no point in me sitting here trying to figure out how to write about it. we’d probably all just sit around with our eyes closed and make yummy noises and that would be totally fine.”

And that’s the truth.

Have you ever finished browning butter for a recipe and almost wished you could drink it because it smells so amazing? Well, this everything that’s good about brown butter- all of the nuttiness, the richness, and the aroma- churned into some of the smoothest, dreamiest ice cream you will ever eat. Because eating ice cream is a lot less gross/more fun/more sophisticated than drinking butter.

At it’s core, this ice cream is a variation on Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream base. I’ve read about Jeni’s ice cream so many times, in a handful of magazines and on blogs, but this was my first time ever making it. Oh my goodness, it has the best texture ever, and kind of reminds me of Bi-Rite ice cream! I’m completely hooked and can’t wait to try it out in all sorts of flavors.

P.S. A recipe from the Food52 email yesterday has me thinking that fresh raspberries or peaches would be pretty fantastic atop this ice cream.


browned butter ice cream
recipe adapted from food52

[ makes about one quart ]


1 cup butter

2 cups whole milk, divided

½ cup heavy cream

⅔ cup light brown sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons sour cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract 

Brown the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Don’t be shy; really get those little solid bits nice and browned. Pour and scrape all of the butter into a glass measuring cup and let it sit for a few minutes until the solids sink to the bottom. Slowly pour the clarified butter into a jar (you can save it for another use), and scrape just the remaining butter solids back into the saucepan.

Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl; set aside.

Whisk the remaining milk, cream, and brown sugar together with the brown butter in the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. When it comes to a boil, continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cornstarch mixture and whisk for one more minute.

Take the pan off of the heat and whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Allow the ice cream base to cool, in an ice bath if you prefer, and then chill.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours, before serving.