Caramel Ice Cream with Apple-Cinnamon Topping–No Ice Cream Maker Required!

Years ago, I saw a cartoon in a women’s magazine.  In the frame were two girls aged about 5 or 6, facing each other.

Girl One (self-satisfied smile on her face): My mommy lets me eat candy every day.

Girl Two:  (scowling): That’s not candy, stupid.  That’s broccoli.

Girl One (crushed):  You mean. . . broccoli isn’t candy?

I remember thinking, Ah, if only parents could convince their kids to eat broccoli that easily!

Even though I don’t have kids of my own (“What do you mean, Mum?  Aren’t we your kids?”), I’ve come to realize from being with my cousins’ and friends’ children that kids can have some pretty idiosyncratic eating habits indeed.

Way back in high school biology class, we learned that children’s taste buds are much more attuned to sweet tastes than are adult’s taste buds. So flavors that appeal to a child (I’m thinking Froot Loops, Jawbreakers, chocolate-covered marshmallows) can be cringe-inducing and lip-puckeringly sweet to a grown-up.  In addition, we tend to develop tastes for things as adults that we wouldn’t get close to as kids (artichokes, anyone? Or how about avocados? And I’m still amazed that I could have ever hated coconut!).

I’ll never forget visiting with my friend T’s family when I was around six.  Every weekend in the summer, T’s parents would lug me along with their brood to their country house up in the Laurentians. It was basically a big box made out of wood with a stove on one end and a sofa on the other; T and I slept up in the attic, which we loved, as if afforded us our own private bunkhouse where we’d occasionally retreat during the day as well, to escape T’s bratty younger brother, M.

One morning as we made our way down the ladder for breakfast, I spied T’s mother carrying out what looked like contorted performance art, flapping her elbow as she swirled a butter knife inside the peanut butter jar. When I asked what she was doing, she replied, “Well, M will only eat peanut butter from a new jar, with a smooth, fresh surface on top. So before he wakes up every morning,” (and with this, she smiled at me conspiratorially), I smooth it out for him so he’ll think it’s new.”  Even at age six, I remember thinking, “Wow, that is an awful lot of work just to convince a snotty-nosed four year-old to eat peanut butter.”

My friend Babe’s daughter, on the other hand, refuses to consume any kind of pasta dish but one: a specialty they call “Aunty K’s Pasta,” a basic butter-and-cheese macaroni that her aunt prepares at home and delivers to Babe’s house once a week.  Babe then rewarms the pasta and serves it alongside whatever she’s made for dinner that night.

My own peculiar childhood culinary proclivities ran the gamut from cutting my mom’s homemade hamburgers into tiny, bite-sized pieces, then burying them in the accompanying mound of mashed potatoes before I’d scoop up the whole mess, forkful by forkful (even back  then, it seems, I didn’t want to see meat on my plate!); to casting out coconut (see above), to eschewing cheese cake (crazy, I know), to filling my chicken soup with so many crushed soda crackers that it resembled gruel more than soup; to spurning strawberry ice cream.

In fact, I hated any kind of fruit at all in ice cream in those days, but strawberry  was by far the worst offender. Chocolate was my one and only flavor of choice, and it was all I ever ordered when we were lucky enough to be taken to the local ice cream parlor. As the years went by, I broadened my scope a wee bit and would occasionally ask for Double Chocolate Chip (chocolate with a side of chocolate chips); Chocolate Swirl (chocolate with a side of chocolate sauce);  or Heavenly Hash (chocolate with a side of chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and chocolate brownie bits). Basically, it was all chocolate, all the time.

 As it turned out, my dad’s favorite ice cream was Neapolitan, with its equal stripes of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry; I had to make do. My tactic was to remove the entire box from the freezer, allow it to soften somewhat, then scrape along the outside edges of the chocolate and vanilla stripes, leaving the pink pariah virtually untouched.  Eventually, I’d eat almost all of the other two flavors, leaving a slightly melty mound of strawberry in the center surrounded by a kind of moat all around it, like those abandoned sand castles you see on the beach that were washed over by the tide a few times.

I’m glad to say that these days, my tastes in ice cream range far and wide (though a quick glance at this blog’s Recipe Index does suggest a heavy emphasis on chocolate-based  ice creams). Today’s recipe is one I developed for the Sweet Victory cleanse with Andrea Nakayama, and it’s been a huge hit here in the RH household. Of its dense, creamy texture,  The HH remarked, “It’s like a really good quality ice cream.” And one of the Sweet Victory participants wrote, “I loved the caramel ice cream (sort of like magic…I can’t figure how that combination turns into caramel, but it does). ”

In other words, don’t let the odd mix of ingredients here deter you. This really does taste like caramel!  And topped with the warm cinnamon-apple mix, it’s like pure comfort in a bowl. Of course, if you prefer not to combine your caramel with apples (or if you happen to have some fussy kids at home), just leave it off and have the ice cream on its own. Or add a handful of chocolate chips, or some chocolate sauce, or brownie bits. . . you know you just can’t go wrong with chocolate.  😉

Mum, that ice cream sounds great and all, but what do you mean, broccoli isn’t candy? Next thing you’ll be telling us is that sweet potatoes aren’t meat!”

This is my contribution to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and  Wellness Weekend event.

Last Year at this Time: Mint Chip Ice Cream–No Ice Cream Maker Required! (Gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Two Years Ago: ACD Update: A Return to Sweetness

You Might Also Like:Coconut Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker Required)

© Ricki Heller

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  1. Wow, some picky kid tales for sure! But I was the same way about that Neopolitan ice cream, Ricki. It’s like why oh why did they mess it up by adding that strawberry part? This ice cream looks fantastic and I can totally see these flavors creating a caramel apple taste. YUM! I’ve got Roasted Banana Rum Ice Cream chilling before churning right now. From The Ice Dream Cookbook … can’t wait! 😉

    Happy Saturday, Ricki! Thanks for this heavenly recipe! 🙂


    • Well, I knew we had a lot in common–adding “hated strawberry ice cream as a kid” to the list! And you’ll love The Ice Dream book. I did a review of it a while back and tried out a whole bunch of flavors. . . fabulous. 🙂

  2. OMG – I want some now! Just arrived home from 2 days of driving from Aspen. And it is 104*F hot here!

  3. This looks and sounds very lovely!!

  4. this is just fantastic… rum and sweet potato…! another one on my to try list:).
    Have an awesome weekend.

  5. Oh my gosh I have been craving caramel flavor. You made my dreams come true lol!

  6. Kelly Michelle says

    loved this post. When I was younger I would only eat things in even numbers. I don’t even know why but I wouldn’t eat it otherwise. My mom still reminds me about how she had to stand and count out things like snack crackers for my lunch to make sure it was an even number.

    • That’s so funny! And it sounds so much like the kinds of things my kids’ friends do. When we were little, my cousin would only drink orange juice that his dad had mixed with exactly 1/3 cup extra sugar in the carton before pouring. And if his mum did it, forget it–no orange juice! 😉

  7. I was just saying on twitter how I wish I had some dessert to enjoy, so looking at your ice cream is pure torture. It looks soooooo good!

    • Sorry to torture you–that does not sound too good! Really, it’s so easy to whip up and total yumminess. . . with the bonus of fiber and protein. I think I’m in love. 🙂

  8. Ricki,

    Wow! This sounds delish!
    I love your stories! You have a great sense of humor!
    Have a Blessed Day!

  9. This ice cream looks fantastic!!

    I remember when I was little I would NOT touch BBQ chicken. My mom’s friend used to have me over for dinner and make a dish called “Pat’s Messy Chicken” that I would gobble up. Little did I know it was just chicken and BBQ sauce baked in the oven..

    • That’s so funny, Lauren! I had a similar experience–my mom’s best friend used to cook chicken that was exactly like my mom’s, but I wouldn’t eat it because it wasn’t made in our kitchen. Looking back, I think, “What a spoiled brat!”. But I guess kids’ tastes are all like that! Glad you like the ice cream, too. 🙂

  10. This is awesome Ricki! I love caramel ice cream so I will be making this as a special treat! Mmmmm! I am with your Dad – neopolitan does rock! As a child, I was always amazed by the 3 colours. I might be inspired to create it for my kiddies! xo

  11. yep this sounds weird to me that these ingredients make caramel flavour – but then you wouldn’t want to tell kids what is in this as they are so funny about ingredients in foods

    I never thought of myself as fussy as a kid – apart from no eggs and no cream and not too much milk (hmmm maybe that made life a bit harder for my mum) – though I know there were things like spices and pepper that we couldn’t stand. But I can’t imagine what my mum would have said if I had eaten neapolitan ice cream like that – probably because she served it to us and decided what we got – not much choice in my house

    • Well, it tastes like caramel to me, anyway! 😉 And we weren’t really supposed to do that in our house, either. . . I used to sneak it after school or when my dad wasn’t around. He was definitely not too pleased with me afterward, though! 😉

  12. OH WOW!!!!!
    This looks and sounds amazing!!
    *goes off to google coconut sugar*

  13. I don’t think I’ve ever had ice cream with an apple cinnamon topping like that. I love the idea! Especially on top of caramel ice cream mmm.

  14. nükhet kuzuoğlu says

    it is very interesing recipe, because use potato puree but i couldnt understand where is caramel.

    • The caramel flavor comes from this particular combination of flavors when mixed together. There is no actual caramel (ie sugar) in it. 🙂

  15. Kathy in Idaho says

    how much cinnamon is supposed to be in the apple cinnamon topping?

    • Hi Kathy–so sorry about that! And thanks for pointing it out. It’s a range (1-2 tsp), depending on how much you like cinnamon (I use the full 2 tsp/10 ml). It’s updated now! 🙂

  16. You are so inventive and creative! This looks amazing and I’m sure my kids will love it. When I was a child I hated mushrooms, raw tomatoes, closed-face sandwiches and pizza! Funny though, I never really liked chocolate ice cream and still don’t.

    • Not like chocolate ice cream?!! Well, it may not be my favorite chocolate food, but it’s CHOCOLATE!! Hope your kids enjoy. . . it’s great with some brownie bits mixed in. 😉

  17. love the post and what a clever recipe – cant wait to try it :). thank you!

  18. I think I read in the comments that someone mentioned about the lack of the word cinnamon in the Topping recipe, but I still do not see it there… just 1-2Tsp, to your taste… since this is a fairly old post, you may not even read this comment, but thought I’d try anyway. Thanks… looking forward to trying this recipe… need to make the puree.

    • Thanks for pointing that out, Marilyn! Not sure how I missed it before. Anyway, it’s been added now! Hope you like the ice cream (I literally just made some tonight for us to enjoy tomorrow–five years later and I’m still eating it all the time! 🙂


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