smoked caramel corn ice cream

Maybe this is how a cigarette addict feels… always dreaming about their next smoke – how it will taste, how it will smell. I too am dreaming about my next smoke although in an entirely different way.

See I have this amazing cold smoker. In fact, it’s aptly named the A-Maze-N smoker and once I get started, I can’t stop thinking about what else I can make. I become so infatuated I even have dreams about it and that’s where the idea for this recipe originated.

A few blogs back I smoked cream and used that as the base for the ice cream. This time I went for smoking the stir ins.

Smoked Caramel Corn Ice Cream
I started off by popping 1/3 cup of kernels and then spread the popcorn and peanuts on a tray and used the cold smoker to infuse them for approximately 4 hours.

They then became key components in this recipe adapted from Epicurious.

Caramel Corn with Smoked Peanuts
Smoked popcorn
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup smoked Spanish peanuts
3/4 Tbsp fleur de sel

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease generously with nonstick vegetable-oil spray. Generously spray a large bowl and all but the handle part of a large spoon or rubber spatula.

Place popped popcorn in the prepared bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels.

In a large deep pot over moderately high heat, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and 1/8 cup water and stir to combine. Cook, undisturbed, until the mixture develops a light amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, add the baking soda and butter, and stir continuously to melt the butter and combine the ingredients, about 20 seconds. (The mixture will be very hot and will foam up at this point—continuous stirring will help the foaming subside.) Working quickly, pour the caramel over the popcorn and add the peanuts, then use the prepared spoon or rubber spatula to stir everything together, trying to evenly coat the popcorn and nuts in caramel. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading out the caramel corn as much as possible. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool and harden for about 20 minutes. Break the caramel corn into smaller, bite-size pieces. DO AHEAD: Caramel corn can be prepared in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Now it’s time to make some vanilla ice cream. If you have a favorite recipe, break it out! Otherwise I like this version, adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything cookbook.

Basic French Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes about one quart

2 cups cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until steam arises from the milk. Remove from the heat.
Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar with the egg yolks until the mixture is light yellow and thick, about four minutes.
Beat 1/2 cup hot cream into the egg mixture, then gradually stir this mixture into the saucepan with the remaining cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture reaches 175° to 180° degrees or is slightly thickened. Do not boil or you’ll have scrambled eggs and while they’re good with bacon too, they’re really nothing like ice cream. There will be a thick coating on the back of a spoon that will hold the outline of your finger after you pass it through.
Stir in the remaining milk and vanilla extract. Chill to 40°. If you’re the impatient type you can speed this up by setting the bowl in a large bowl filled with a mixture of ice and water and give it a stir every now and then.
Churn chilled mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Once the ice cream is done, transfer it to a freezer container, stir in the small caramel corn clusters to mix, reserving some for topping. Either serve immediately, or place in the freezer to firm up and just try not to eat all the smoked caramel corn while you’re waiting.
Wonder what tasty smoked treat I will dream up next. Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned…

About bistroonesix

I have an interest in all things food and am lucky enough to be surrounded by people that share this same passion. There’s never a shortage of inspiration or partners in collaboration. Some of my happiest memories involve big tables covered with food, plenty of wine, and extra chairs pulled up to accommodate all the friends and family. If I can help facilitate these kinds of evenings, well then I’d say this is a great hobby to have. I live in Boise, Idaho with my husband and 2 adorable cats.


  1. Oh. My. God. This sounds absolutely incredible. Props for smoking your own popcorn – that is bad ass!

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