Some things in life are worth waiting for. Warm towels from the dryer on a cold winter morning. Baseball season after 5 long months of off-season blues. Hydrangea bushes with bright blue blooms in late June. Oatmeal raisin cookie ice cream. Oh my goodness, where has this ice cream been all my life? Actually, I’ve known about it for quite some time and Josie has been talking about it as one of her favorite homemade flavors for ages, but taking a few extra minutes to make it seemed to be just so elusive to me. And boy was the wait worth it. Well worth it.
Clusters of caramel-y oatmeal praline and loads of boozy raisins are scattered throughout creamy vanilla-cinnamon ice cream and even though there aren’t any actual cookies in the ice cream, all of the separate parts come together to taste just like an oatmeal raisin cookie. The praline remains a little crunchy even though you’d think it would soften after a couple of days in the ice cream and it was those addictive little crunchies that I found myself digging around for in the bowl. I drizzled this oatmeal raisin ice cream with a little salted caramel sauce and I seriously couldn’t have been happier with a couple little scoops of this very indulgent dessert. Oh yes, oatmeal raisin cookie ice cream with salted caramel sauce? Definitely worth the wait.
For the Oatmeal Praline:
- 3/4 cup rolled or old fashioned oats (not instant)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of coarse salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the oats evenly on the sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until the oats are fragrant and nicely toasted.
Spread the sugar in a medium, heavy bottomed skillet and cook over medium heat, watching it carefully. When it begins to liquefy and darken at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to stir it very gently, encouraging the heat of the liquefied sugar around the edges to moisten and melt the sugar in the center.
Tilt the pan and stir gently until all the sugar is melted and the caramel begins to smoke. Once the mixture is deep golden, remove it from the heat and immediately add the oats to the skillet (lift the parchment paper to guide them in quickly). Return the paper to the baking sheet.
Stir the oats gently but quickly, coating them with the caramel. Scrape the oats onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool completely. Once firm, break the pralined oats into small pieces by pulsing them in a food processor or placing the pieces in a plastic bag and smacking them with a mallet or rolling pin. If you over-pulse the praline, you may want to sift the praline dust out of the pieces before adding them to the ice cream; discard the dust.
For the Raisins:
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tsp whiskey (not optional)
Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Add the raisins and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until all but about 2 tbsp of the syrup has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the whiskey.
For the Ice Cream:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Warm the milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk the cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon together into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula, about 5-7 minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream mixture to remove any lumps, mix in the vanilla. Stir to combine, and stir over an ice bath until cool.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least 6 hours but overnight will yield the best results), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Before transferring the churned ice cream to a container, stir in the raisins and oatmeal praline.