Hugh and I fell into doing this thing where we keep a count when are swept in a moment of gratitude/happiness/love. You know, those moments where time slows and you think to yourself, wow, this life is pretty fantastic. It could be about anything really, as those moments aren't ever anticipated. Like when our washing machine exploded with water yesterday and we were frantically trying to get the gallons of water into the two small buckets we own, us laughing and hustling together with our pants soaking wet.

That was number 72.

It seemed a charming newlywed moment, and we were lucky to have each other in that instance. It doesn't have to be about romantic love, that's just how we started it, as sort of a verbal affirmation to each other. Everyone gets overwhelmed with emotion at some point and it feels good to recognize it with someone.

Given all the hurt, hate and misfortune going on in the world, I think now is as good a time as ever to make a note of good things you have. My heart breaks each time I see a picture of the destruction in Japan. I feel a sense of guilt - why them and not me? A frustration that my aunt's cancer is back or a loss for words in how to console my mother in-law, who lost her mother on friday. There is a lot of crappy stuff that gets thrown at us, and making a note of sweet moments is what keeps my heart from getting too heavy.

And then there was this ice cream. A rich, decadent, ultimately satisfying dessert. We've kind of been on an ice cream bend lately, most specifically these pretty little containers of Talenti Gelato. Hugh fell in love with their Sea Salt Caramel flavor, and I was convinced with a little elbow grease we could make our own. Below is something that I would say is pretty dang close. I apologize for the surplus of treats lately. Such a disgrace to my own blog name. I am hoarding every original idea I have for the book, and it seems the reprieve I get from trying to get creative with seasonal produce, is to whip up a tasty treat. No harm in a bit of ice cream.

I read about achieving success with caramel in Rhulman's book Ratio. A simply written, but informative read. The ice cream is based on memory from my time working at Villa Lucia in Motevettolini, Italy.

I only push using organic products every so often, as I know it is not always accessible or affordable, but this would be the time to splurge if you can. You will taste a difference.

4 Large Egg Yolks
3/4 Cup Natural Cane Sugar
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 Cup Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Milk
2 tsp. Real Vanilla Extractundefined

1. Bring everything you are using out of the fridge, to get it close to room temperature.
2. Put the yolks in a large glass bowl, over a pot of just barely simmering water, being careful to not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl (double boiler method). Whisk the yolks until they start to become a pale golden color, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. In a heavy bottomed pot (enameled cast iron if you have one), heat the sugar with a few drops of water over medium heat. Once it starts to melt, stir it around with a heat proof utensil to ensure even cooking. Watch it closely. When just a few bits of sugar are left and it's a lovely golden brown color (this took me about 7 minutes), sprinkle in the salt. Add the butter and stir. It will bubble a bit, which is normal. Slowly pour in the cream while you continue to stir. The caramel will seize up, just keep it over medium heat to melt it back down, then take it off the heat. Add the milk and vanilla and stir again. Let it cool about 5 minutes.
4. Starting with just a few spoonfuls, add some of the caramel mix to the egg yolks and stir to combine. You are trying to bring everything to the same temperature so it doesn't scorch the yolks. Add the rest of the caramel mix to the yolks and stir. Pour it through a fine mesh strainer in to another bowl, and refrigerate the mix for about an hour or two to cool.
5. Pour the chilled mix into an ice cream machine and let it do it's thing. For some scientific reason I don't know, this ice cream never really gets super firm. Keep it frozen in an airtight container for up to a week. It is great with a little sprinkle of cocoa nibs or roasted almonds for contrast.undefined

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Reader Comments (73)

Beautifully written! I'm not much for ice cream but I love indulging in your simple photographs.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersally mae

Sara, your blog is such an inspiration. This ice cream looks wicked good. I anxiously await the publication of your first cookbook, I'm rooting for you guys all the way.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey, at Happyolks

I snorted with laughter at your washing machine story—sometimes, all you can do is laugh when things malfunction. It's harder to laugh when other, heavier things go wrong in your loved ones' lives, but I'm glad you can still keep counting your blessings and making amazing ice cream.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie

The heartbreak of Japan has brought gratitude into such sharp focus for me; was just talking about that with my sister yesterday. Also, salted caramel ice cream is the crack cocaine of sweets. My goodness. So ridic. Can't wait to give your recipe a whirl.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

I'm drooling all over my keyboard right now! I still hesitate to buy an ice cream machine but this recipe may change my mind, because I so much want to make this ice cream!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarka

Beautiful post.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I am just writing a post about salt/sweet combos arent they delish! Sorry to hear you are having a rough time of things. The Japan situation is a global heartache.
Much Love, love, love
Miss T

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Keep your heads held high and be a light for others. We can offer that - and ice cream...

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

oh how i love salted caramel icecream. although, i made some cardamom ice cream that wasn't half bad, either. Talenti brand is so freaking amazing though!!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterheather @ chiknpastry

This looks AMAZING! I ahve an ice cream machine that I was given, and (criminally) I have only used once so far. Time to bust it out! Thanks for the recipe!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

OMG I have been obsessing over this stuff. I went on a two week search for it in my city and FINALLY found it. Definitely bookmarking this for when it's warmer!! Thank you!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril

Seriously this looks INCREDIBLE. And you are adorable, I love your blog so much! xx

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDragon Fruit

This ice cream sounds amazing. I'm sure consuming it must have definitely been one of those moments of love/gratitude/happiness :)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

[...] unrelated, but I am flipping my wig over this salted caramel ice cream recipe. Must find evaporated cane juice at the health food store [...]

Thank you for this recipe- I cannot wait to pull out the ice cream machine this year. I live in China now, where it's hard to find good milk and sugar. I agree that it's important to think about where and how your food arrives to the table- but life isn't complete without a decadent bowl of ice cream. Like you said, sometimes you gotta splurge ;)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

I'm so sorry those crappy things are being thrown at you, but I know that you + Hugh + y'all's positive attitude = a great day. Thanks for reminding me that I need to slow down and be grateful for the happy moments in life.
I've been working on a salted caramel cheesecake and when I saw this I gasped! Could they be a match made in heaven??
Have a great day :)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

OH NO. I'm done for. Salted caramel ice cream is my biggest life. Thanks so much for sharing :) The photos are gorgeous, and I can't wait to try it out! (though once I start... we might have a problem).

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate hart

How funny that you posted this. I just bought a pint of salted caramel ice cream and have been planning my recipe. This looks incredible... just how it should be, sweet, salty, buttery... sexy?

No harm in the sweet stuff. I think it's just how we're wired sometimes - comfort and joy in food when there's sadness all around us. This ice cream looks amazing and salted caramel is pretty much my dream flavour.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

This post makes me smile.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

Oh salted caramel, how I love thee! I am very proud to say that Graham's favorite ice cream flavor is salted caramel, as a 6 year old. Lovely job here Sara!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDana

This looks delicious, but even more gorgeous is this sweet post. I love it!

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while and I admit the photography is one of the best things I like about this place. So bravo.

This recipe looks like something I can try with the kids. But what would you suggest I do if I don't have an ice cream machine?

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn

What a beautiful introduction to your post. I try to count my unexpected moments of pure joy too. I think it is so important to count one's blessings because life is full of ups and downs and we should be grateful for the health, love and good times in our.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNuts about food

I am sorry for the hardship your families have to suffer. There really isn't anything one can say when someone loses a loved one.
I am also thankful for your idea and will tell my husband about it when I see him tonight. It's nice to have little reminders of joy.

And for the recipe: Looks great. Will be tried soon!
3/4 Milk - I assume you mean cup?

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika

Another thing: Is there a substitute for evaporated cane juice? I have never seen any where I live. Is it liquid? Can I use agave nectar?

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnika

beautiful- photos, words, messages. i totally know what you mean, it's funny when even the things that go unspoken you know they share meaning for both of you. silent affirmation feels like a secret only you two share.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

This looks absolutely amazing! I am an advocate for anything salted caramel related. I just whipped up a batch of Fleur de Sel Caramel and Browned Butter Brownies over the weekend :)

This sounds divine. It is amazing how well salt and caramel go together.


March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSense of Home

What a beautiful idea to count moments of happiness and love. Your post made me smile and that ice cream looks delicious!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpicy Bohemian

i can't wait until i get to make this.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDesi

With all the pain and suffering in this world, I find that taking time for simple gratitude is necessary; I have so much in my life and I have to remind myself sometimes how lucky I am.

Great post, and lovely pictures!


March 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbianca

Oh wow... My husband and I got an ice cream maker for Christmas and are constantly trying out new recipes, but this one looks especially incredible!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

Love the up close photos, especially the foamy milk. Almost feel like you're getting a delicious taste!
Can't wait for your book, congratulations!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercoconut and quinoa

i love your words here. so sweet. also, never apologize for an abundance of treats. :)

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercourtney

Love that Talenti gelato, but how wonderful to make it yourself! Thanks for the recipe--as tricky as caramel can be, this is worth the try.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPennie

As always, brilliant pictures. I'm not much of a caramel fan but maybe a little salt will help?

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTender B.


March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnthea

Cool. I love ice cream and I've never tried making it, not even once.

Thank you for writing about appreciation/gratitude and happiness. It's easy to think of all the things we don't have and the things we lack that we sometimes forget to see all the wonderful things we do have.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Oh wow. This looks amazing. I have a birthday coming up next week, looks like the perfect thing to make! And thanks for the reminder to make note of the moments I am grateful for, I need to appreciate the good things more and not get bogged down by the rest.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

No harm in a little ice cream. I'm sorry to hear about your washer; we had a similar situation with our dishwasher last week. I have to admit, there was a lot of laughing during the clean up.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Oh Sara, it looks like a fabulous ice cream. I'm going to start making more as we start towards summer. Salted caramel will be at the top of my list!

So many things in our lives we have no control over. It makes us feel helpless. We have to take our joy and love as it comes along.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

This looks divine! Making asap...

beautiful thoughts and beautiful ice cream!

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleela

Um, Yes please! Looks rich and divine. x Nicole

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Franzen Salted caramel on it's own...yum. Ice cream on it's own...yum. Together?!! Can't wait to try this one!

Oh my....Salted Caramel Ice Cream may just be one of the best things on earth!
A great way to express the beauty and goodness in a complicated world.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteryummy supper

Oh my....Salted Caramel Ice Cream may just be one of the best things on earth!
A great way to express the beauty and goodness in a complicated world.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteryummy supper

Oh wow, yum! This looks so good.

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren at Keep It Sweet

I agree Talenti gelato is insane. Couldn't pick a better flavor. And I'm all about the "heatlhy" sweets, so please don't hold back. I really look forward to all that you are saving up for your book!

March 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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