Tart Twist: Macadamia Nut Brittle Ice Cream

Island recipes, I have discovered, are hard to find. And when I do find them, they lack appeal and variety.   I think this is mostly because authentic island recipes rely on the limited supply of varied resources. If I had to live out there after living in the land of plenty, I’d probably go broke importing goods into my kitchen.  No joke.
The lone dessert recipe I could find springing from the Marshall Islands is a Macadamia Coconut Tart. This doesn’t sound half bad. Or all bad, really. However…I’m not a huge fan of tarts.
Perhaps it’s because they’re usually filled with fruit (and you know about my fruit/dessert conundrum).  And, unless it’s a shortbread crust, I’m not usually wowed by a tart’s packaging.  Finally, I’ve been using any excuse I can think of to not turn on the oven. It’s July. It’s hot. Alternatives must be found. Or created.
I went with the latter, incorporating the elements of the above named tart into an ice cream. So, I present to you…drumroll
Macadamia Nut Brittle Ice Cream
Whoa. What the heck is that? I created a coconut ice cream base and mixed in homemade macadamia nut brittle and chunks of store-bought shortbread cookies (I told you. No oven this week!).   The result was a mighty fine summer dessert. Or dinner. Whatever. I’m a grown up.
For the ice cream:
Ingredients:
2 cups whole milk
1 TB plus 1 tsp cornstarch
3 TB coconut cream
1- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 TB light corn syrup
Directions:
1. Mix the cornstarch with about 2 TB of milk to create a slurry. Set aside.
2.  Beat the coconut cream and salt in a medium bowl until smooth and set aside.
3. Combine the remaining milk, coconut milk, sugar and corn syrup in a 4 qt. saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cornstarch slurry.
4.  Return the mixture to a boil and cook about 1 minute until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Whisk the milk mixture into the coconut cream mixture.  Refrigerate overnight or until completely cool.  In all the ice cream I’ve made (and I’ve made a lot), I realize you get a much better result if you make It the night before.  You have to freeze the canister anyway, might as well it all chill simultaneously.
Make the brittle:
**This is my family’s peanut brittle recipe. My dad, the Big Buddha, used to get a huge can of it from my cousin every Christmas. He ate most of it himself. It was his fave, and it came out just as spectacularly with macadamia nuts.**
Ingredients:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups macadamia nuts (unsalted)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Well-greased cookie sheet or silpat
Directions:
1.  Use a wooden spoon and mix corn syrup and sugar in a microwave safe bowl for 3.5 minutes.
2.  Add peanuts and microwave for 3 minutes.
3.  Add butter and vanilla and microwave 2.5 minutes.
4.  Add baking soda and pour onto a well greased cookie sheet.  Spread with a wooden spoon.  Let the peanut brittle cool and break into bite size pieces, and crush about 3/4 of this for the ice cream. The rest is for your snacking pleasure.
brittle2This process moves to quickly for me to photo every step.  This is just the end result.
You may have to adjust the cooking time for your microwave.  For step #3 you want to watch it carefully so that it is a nice amber color. Now’s not the time to watch the baseball game. Or go to the bathroom.  Don’t want the sugar to burn. That’s a waste of nuts.
Assemble the ice cream.
1.  While the ice cream is churning, chop 3/4 box of store bough shortbread (I used Walker’s, so about 8 squares) and make sure the brittle is broken and ready to go.
2.  When the ice cream is almost done, mix in the brittle and shortbread. You may have to do this by hand if your ice cream maker starts to slow.
ice cream bowl
To be honest, this may be my favorite flavor to date. I was skeptical since the coconut base itself was a bit disappointing, but adding the fillings sent it souring over the top.  It took all the will power I could muster to not go back for more.
And…
Do you judge ice cream by how good it looks when your first open the container?  I do. And this is what I saw:
ice cream container
Ok, I may need seconds…

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