Ready to propose, here's an ice-cream recipe from Ample Hills Creamery, Secrets & Stories from Brooklyn's Favorite Ice Cream Shop (Stewart Tabori & Chang, April 2014) by Brian Smith, Jackie Cuscuna and Lauren Kaelin of Ample Hills Creamery that will do the trick...
If your better half to be is a vegetarian skip the bacon bark and stick with maple ice cream.
I Want to Marry This!
For the Maple Ice Cream:
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk powder
1⅓ cups whole milk
¾ cup grade B maple syrup
2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
For the Bacon Bark:
Butter for the baking sheet
1 pound bacon
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
2¼ cups organic cane sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Make the maple ice cream: Prepare an ice bath in the sink or in a large heatproof bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, skim milk powder, and milk. Stir with a hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Make sure the skim milk powder is wholly dissolved into the mixture and that no lumps remain (any remaining sugar granules will dissolve over the heat). Stir in the maple syrup and cream.
3. Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning, until the mixture reaches 110ºF (45ºC), 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the egg-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.
5. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking the mixture, stirring
often, until it reaches 165ºF, 5 to 10 minutes more.
6. Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath and let cool for 15 to20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour the ice cream base through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and place in the
refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely cool.
7. Make the bacon bark: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter two 12-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.
8. On one baking sheet, lay out the bacon strips in a single layer. Bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the bacon grease from the pan and discard the rest or reserve it for another use. Let cool, then break the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
9. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cane sugar, brown sugar, salt, reserved bacon grease, and ¼ cup water. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until just combined, then continue to cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 305ºF. Be very careful—the toffee will bubble up as it boils. It is very hot and will cause serious burns if it spatters on you. Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the heat, remove the thermometer, and add the vanilla. The vanilla might spatter when it hits the hot toffee, so be careful. Add the baking soda and whisk vigorously for a few seconds to combine. Then add the bacon pieces and fold into the toffee. Pour the toffee evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
10. Before the toffee cools, sprinkle the chocolate across the top. Wait a minute or two, then use
a spatula to spread the now melted chocolate across the top of the toffee. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for 1 hour, until the toffee has hardened. Chop the toffee into bite-size pieces and set aside.
11. Transfer the cooled base to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s
12. Transfer the ice cream to a storage container, folding in the pieces of bacon bark as you do.
Use as much of the bacon bark as you want; you won’t necessarily need the whole batch. Serve
immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a more scoopable ice cream.
(Recipe reproduced with permission from Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop, by Brian Smith, Jackie Cuscuna and Lauren Kaelin, published by Stewart Tabori & Chang © 2014, photos: ©Lucy Schaeffer)