Buttermilk ice cream may seem like an unusual combination. However, mixed with espresso and caramel, this is one ridiculously delicious sweet treat!
What is buttermilk?
Originally, buttermilk was the liquid that remained after butter had been churned.
In modern times, buttermilk is made by adding Streptococcus lactis bacteria to nonfat or low-fat milk to create that iconic sweet and tangy flavor profile.
In a pinch, you can make buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.
Despite its name, buttermilk is actually healthier than whole milk. Buttermilk is lower in calories and grams of fat than whole milk.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
During the hot summer months, it’s normal to crave fresher flavors. Perhaps something a bit more tart or a bit more lively.
That’s where ice cream shines!
This buttermilk ice cream is so refreshing. It’s smooth, creamy, and full of flavor. The combination of tangy buttermilk mixed with sweet milk, earthy espresso, and rich egg yolks creates this alluring ice cream flavor.
For another dimension of flavor, drizzle caramel into the freshly churned ice cream.
Any caramel with do, even the store-bought ones found near the ice cream freezers. Pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds to make it liquid and runny before using.
However, if you are feeling adventurous (and have some extra time on your hands), I suggest making this homemade sea salt caramel.
Crunch is important! Serve this ice cream with a sprinkling of cacao nibs. If you like super dark chocolate, you’ll love cacao nibs. Nowadays, they are widely available at supermarkets and health food stores, and of course, online.
Espresso buttermilk ice cream may sound like an unusual combination, but it tastes so great together!
Recommended Ice Cream Equipment
I personally use this compressor ice cream machine. It is a little more expensive than other ice cream machines. However, it is worth the price if you make ice cream often.
The compressor machine doesn’t require you to freeze the churning canister ahead of time, unlike most ice cream makers. Simply pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the machine and start churning.
If you make ice cream infrequently, I recommend this simpler ice cream maker. I used this one for several years before upgrading. This version requires the freezer bowl to chill in the freezer for at least 24 hours before use.
Espresso Buttermilk Ice Cream with Caramel
- ice cream maker
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cup low-fat buttermilk (reduced-fat)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 Tablespoon store-bought caramel sauce, or homemade caramel
- cacao nibs, for topping
- additional caramel sauce, for topping
- Combine heavy cream, buttermilk, and half of sugar in a medium sized sauce pot. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour the hot liquid mixture over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to distribute the heat. Mix well, then pour mixture back into sauce pot.
- Set pot over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently stir the mixture making sure to pay attention to the bottom and sides of the pan as to not burn the yolks. Continue to stir and heat the mixture until it reaches nappe consistency (thickens and coats the back of a spoon), or until it reaches a temperature of 180 degrees F on a thermometer. Remove from heat and add in espresso powder and salt. Stir until dissolved.
- Cool mixture over an ice bath. Alternatively, pour mixture into a plastic wrap lined sheet tray. Spread over the sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until mixture has cooled to room temperature. Transfer cooled mixture into an airtight container and let mature in the fridge overnight.
- Freeze mixture in ice cream maker according to your unit’s instructions. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 and mixture has reached a soft-serve consistency, about 20-25 minutes, turn off machine. Transfer 1/3 of ice cream into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Drizzle a heaping tablespoon of melted caramel sauce over ice cream. Spread another 1/3 of ice cream into container and drizzle with caramel. Add remaining ice cream on top and drizzle with remaining caramel. Cover container and let rest in the freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Let ice cream sit out for 5 minutes before scooping. Serve with additional caramel sauce and a sprinkling of cacao nibs for crunch.