I make no secret that I love ice cream. It’s perfect in the summer, when it’s hot and muggy out. It’s even perfect in the winter, especially when it’s alongside a rich, cakey pudding or warm fruit crumble. When I was contacted by the awesome folks at OXO about participating in their #IceCreamForOXO campaign, I practically begged them to pick me. I even already had the perfect recipe in mind–This Hazelnut Mascarpone Ice Cream.
It’s a bit over the top, between the richness of the mascarpone ice cream base, candied, chopped hazelnuts, and the chocolate-hazelnut spread swirls…But it’s oh SO good–Cool, creamy, sweet and delicious!
OXO kindly sent me a bunch of fun tools to help make this sweet treat:
So I got to work on the mascarpone base first:
Not pictured is the mascarpone, as you stir it in after the cooked base has cooled. Then I made the candied hazelnuts:
Which were not as daunting of a task as I’d feared. I did these parts of the recipe the day before I wanted my ice cream–Generally, unless you get up at the crack of dawn, you can’t really have homemade ice cream the same day you make the base. Trust me, I’ve tried it. You get cold, creamy soup. So, it’s best to prep the day before as much as possible, because for the best results, you want your base to be well-chilled before you start churning it in your machine.
It’ll still be the consistency of soft serve, but you can ripen it in the freezer for a few hours before serving, which I did using this LockTop Container (after adding in my chocolate-hazelnut spread swirl).
The chocolate-hazelnut spread is completely optional…The bites I had without any chocolate were just as good as those with.
The day before you plan to serve the ice cream, make the base. Combine the half & half, cream, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla bean paste and hazelnut syrup. Cool 2 hours, then whisk in the mascarpone. Return to the refrigerator to chill at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
To make the candied hazelnuts, first line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
Combine the sugar and water in a medium light-colored saucepan over high heat. Swirl occasionally until the mixture is simmering and the sugar melts. Continue cooking until the mixture turns a dark amber, then add the salt and hazelnuts. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then pour out onto the prepared baking sheet. Once cooled, break the candied nuts into chunks.
Process the mascarpone base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Chop the candied hazelnuts into smallish pieces before adding to the mixture.
If using the chocolate-hazelnut spread, dollop about half a cup onto the soft-serve ice cream, and swirl through.
Place the mixture in a freezer-safe container and ripen for about 4 hours before serving.