The tastes and textures in this sweet, smokey, slightly salty dessert meld together nicely, creating a flavor balance that’s hard to resist. Smoke in desserts is becoming more common on upscale restaurant menus and it’s something that’s incredibly easy to replicate at home with a cold smoke generator like the Smoke Chief. Made from scratch, caramel may sound difficult but it’s actually very simple, requiring only a few common ingredients. All components in this dessert can be cold smoked; the salt, the caramel/brittle ingredients, and even the ice cream. If you are going for a lot of smoke, smoke everything. If looking for just a slight smokiness, only cold smoke one or two of the elements. While this recipe suggests smoking ready-made ice cream, ice cream made from scratch can be smoked by first cold smoking the heavy cream and sugar and then proceeding with the recipe instructions. Ice cream can be cold smoked ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to serve.
Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Fill Smoke Chief with cherry pellets and set up in a grill or alternative smoking container. Pictured in this recipe, one side of the grill grates have been removed, making ample room for the Smoke Chief to run with the grill lid closed. Of course, the grill is not on, it just serves as a smoking container with this cold smoking method.
Place brown sugar in a shallow tin, salt in a coffee filter and cream in a shallow dish. Butter also can also be placed in a shallow dish to smoke. Turn on Smoke Chief and cold smoke caramel ingredients 20 minutes to an hour to infuse smoke. The longer ingredients smoke, the stronger the smoke flavor will be in the final sauce.
In a heavy skillet, melt brown sugar over medium-high heat. Whisk continuously to prevent scorching. When sugar is completely dissolved and begins to clear, slowly add salt and heavy cream, stirring constantly. Add butter and vanilla, remove from heat, and continue to whisk. If sugar crystals form, they can be strained out as you put the sauce in a serving container.
Smoked Sugar Brittle
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons water
Parchment lined baking sheet
Cold smoke sugar as directed above, if desired.
Place sugar and water in a heavy skillet over high heat. Do not stir. When sugar and water begin to boil, turn heat to medium-high. Watch closely as sugar will begin to caramelize and turn golden brown. Once it begins to darken (or reaches 310º on a candy thermometer), pour it on a parchment lined baking pan. Tilt pan to get the brittle as thin as possible. Let cool and before serving; carefully break or shatter and serve as sundae garnish. Smaller bits can be mixed into ice cream or used to top whip cream on a fancy coffee drink.
Smoked Ice Cream
Fill Smoke Chief with cherry pellets and set up in a grill or alternative smoking container. Pictured in this recipe, one side of the grill grates have been removed making ample room for the Smoke Chief to run with the grill lid closed, grill power/propane off.
Smoke flavor adheres to the surface of ice cream when smoking. To get the most flavor, cut ice cream in the box or container into 2-inch portions. If the ice cream is soft, refreeze before cold smoking. Fill a disposable tin half full of crushed ice to keep the ice cream as cold as possible. Place desired amount of ice cream in another disposable tin and place on top of the crushed ice.
Turn on Smoke Chief and cold smoke 15-20 minutes. Remove from smoker and serve with Smoked Salted Caramel Sauce garnished with Smoked Sugar Brittle and chopped nuts if desired. If ice cream is too soft to serve it can be refrozen prior to making sundaes.
Recipe by Tiffany Haugen