Velvet Vanilla Ice Cream with Pecan Pralines and Creamy Caramel Sauce

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No need for an ice cream maker for this scrumptious, velvety vanilla ice cream mixed with homemade pecan pralines and homemade caramel sauce.
If making plain vanilla ice cream, the ice cream will be ready to serve plain after freezing for about 5 hours or overnight.
The caramel sauce recipe will yield about 2 cups. Only a few tablespoons will be drizzled in with the ice cream. The rest can be used for topping cupcakes, pies, cakes, and yes, even more ice cream.
The pecan pralines will yield about 18 two to three-inch pralines. Only 2 or 3 pralines will be needed to mix with the ice cream. The rest of the pralines can be enjoyed as is, or used to top ice cream.
For the Vanilla Ice Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the Pecan Pralines:
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Velvety Vanilla Ice Cream:
  1. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and microwave to melt. Add condensed milk and vanilla and mix well to combine. Set aside. Tip: Use a microwaveable, freezer-safe bowl that has its own lid so the same bowl for mixing can be used directly for freezing.
  2. Keep the heavy cream cold until ready to whip. With a wire whip, set speed on high and whip cream until stiff peaks.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream with the condensed milk mixture. Gently mix until well combined.
  4. Cover the bowl with a lid and freeze. If making plain vanilla ice cream, freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or overnight. Ice cream will be ready to serve.
  5. If serving with pecan pralines and caramel sauce, freeze the ice cream about 4 hours until partially firm, break 2 or 3 pralines and mix gently. Drizzle just a few tablespoons of caramel sauce. Lightly swirl the sauce with the cream but do not mix to combine so as to leave visible ribbons of caramel sauce. Freeze for 4 more hours or overnight.
  6. If desired, serve with additional caramel sauce and pralines. Will yield about 2 quarts of ice cream.
For the Creamy Caramel Sauce:
  1. Warm cream in small saucepan over low to medium heat. Set aside.
  2. In a separate saucepan, combine water and sugar. Gently stir to combine before turning on heat. Once heat is turned on, do not stir.
  3. Turn heat on to medium. Bring sugar mixture to a rolling boil. Do not stir. When the mixture turns a light, golden amber color, turn heat to low or move the pot away from the heat. Gradually pour the warmed heavy cream into the syrup. Pour very slowly as the whipped cream may boil over.
  4. When all the heavy cream has been poured in, return the pot to medium heat, start stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to combine. If some of the sugar syrup has crystalized after adding the heavy cream, do not worry. At this point, the mixture should be stirred constantly and in the process, the crystallized sugar, if any, will dissolve and blend a few minutes later to form a smooth syrup.
  5. Still on medium heat. Add butter and salt. Continuously stir the sauce to prevent scorching. Cook the sauce until it is reduced and reaches a light golden color. The texture will be slightly thick and will thicken even more upon cooling.
  6. Pour the caramel syrup into a glass container and allow to cool completely. Cover and store in refrigerator.
  7. Will yield about 2 cups of caramel syrup. Only a few tablespoons will be drizzled in with the ice cream. The rest can be used for topping cupcakes, pies, cakes, and yes, even more ice cream.
For the Pecan Pralines:
  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine white sugar and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching.
  3. When the mixture reaches a rolling boil, add the chopped pecans and butter. Continue stirring for 1 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the dark brown sugar and salt. Continue to cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Stir continuously to prevent scorching.
  5. Once the mixture has reduced, thickened and reached a light golden color, add vanilla.
  6. Remove from heat and stir for about 1 -2 minutes to cool the praline mixture down.
  7. With a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop the pecan pralines on the prepared cookie sheets. The pecan pralines will cool completely in about 5 minutes. Once cool to the touch, the pralines will firm up but still have a nice, soft texture.
  8. Yield will depend on the size of the spoon used to drop the pralines. If using a medium scoop, the recipe will yield about 18 pralines ranging between 2 to 3 inches.
  9. Only 2 or 3 pralines will be mixed in with the ice cream. Rest of the pralines can be enjoyed as is.