Crack Corn

Welcome to Day 2 of my Corn Fed series!

One of my favorite guilty pleasure snack foods is caramel corn. I love it. LOVE. It’s serious.

The problem is our relationship is…complicated. When caramel corn is around, I cannot resist it. Even if it’s so-so, boxed, stale caramel corn, I will STILL stuff it in my face until my stomach hurts. There’s just something about the combination of light, crunchy popcorn and sweet, buttery caramel I can’t resit. The way it sticks to your teeth, the way it makes your fingers sugary and lickable. I just can’t get enough of the stuff.

And when it’s fresh, sweet, GOOD caramel corn (preferably mixed with fresh cheese popcorn a’la Garrett’s in Chicago), forget it. Hold my calls, do not disturb, I am busy. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can tear me away from my forbidden love. I cannot be held responsible for any bitten fingers should you try to stick your hand in my bowl. You’ve been warned. 😉

For all of the above reasons and more, I keep my distance from caramel corn. Most of the time. Usually. Except for a few times a year when the stars align perfectly and I happen to find myself in the great city of Chicago following the scent of freshly popped popcorn across many city blocks to the nearest Garrett’s. Then I just gotta get my hands on some. It’s fate.

Now, I’m featuring SWEET corn recipes this week not POPcorn recipes. That’s another week for another time. What if I told you you could have sweet delicious caramel corn flavor all mixed up into creamy, dreamy ICE CREAM! And what if I said it actually starts with fresh corn on the cob? You’d say I was crazy, right? Caramel corn ice cream? Really, REALLY?!

Yes. Really. And it’s really easy. And really good. And it really does taste like caramel corn! This ice cream is so unexpected I just had to try it. The corn flavor is there for sure, but it’s subtly sweet. The caramel really makes the flavor POP (I’m just full of CORNY jokes, aren’t I? 😉 )

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to swap out the 2% milk for whole. It is ice cream after all – might as well go all out with it. Otherwise I kept everything the same. Then I stuffed my face with it like I do actual caramel corn. Then life was good and my tummy was happy. 😉 I kind of loved this stuff. And I kind of wish I had some in front of me right now. It’s actually quite wonderful and I hope you’ll consider giving it a try. Enjoy it!

CARAMEL CORN ICE CREAM (Recipe adapted from: Cooking Light via MyRecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2  cups  fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
  • 1  cup  half-and-half
  • 2  cups  whole milk
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 3  large egg yolks
  • 3  tablespoons  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 12  small soft caramel candies

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine corn and half-and-half in a food processor; process until smooth (about 1 minute). Pour pureed corn mixture into a sieve over a large bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids. Add 2 cups milk, sugar, salt, and egg yolks; stir with a whisk. Pour mixture into a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until thick (do not boil), stirring constantly (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 30 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill the ice cream until very cold or overnight.
  2. Combine 3 tablespoons milk and caramels in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; cook 10 minutes or until caramels melt, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Pour corn mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in caramel mixture. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 2 hours.
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