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Nutella Swirl Ice Cream Recipe

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

This one's for Inv Robbins, who died on Monday after helping to make about a zillion kids happy by creating the first American food franchise: Baskin-Robbins.

When I was a munchkin, I loved Baskin-Robbins. There was a BR store within walking distance of all my usual haunts and they gave you free ice cream on your birthday. Even better, my older brother's best friend was a shift manager. For him, this mostly meant he, at 17, got to herd 15 and 16 year-olds, which I am sure was a pain. For him.

I, on the other hand, thought that the point of being a shift manager was free banana splits. Not for him. For me.

Since then, I have switched to making my own ice cream. Last year, I happened upon a sale which tipped me over the edge and I bought a really good ice cream maker, which has led to more than a bit of creamy, frozen goodness around my place. It really doesn't take much effort to whip up a batch of ice cream base and with my machine, which doesn't require pre-freezing a bowl, I can have ice cream almost on a whim.

There is a downside to making ice cream, however: making the custard base.

Standing over a hot stove attentively stirring a pot of cream and eggs lest it scorch may not be as painful as herding minimum-wage teenagers, but it's nowhere near as fun as eating a banana split.

Well, I've got the answer.

This ice cream base can be made in about 10 minutes and almost entirely off the stove. This is a technique I picked up at a cooking class at The Herbfarm and have been using the heck out of ever since. It's quick, painless and remarkably reliable - while I am sure you could mess it up, you would have to work at it.

The trick is heating the milk to near-boiling and then quickly whicking it into warmed egg yolks.

That's it. You're done. No standing over the stove stirring custard. (If you are concerned about safety, I have taken the temperature of this mixture at this point a number of times and it is usually over 180F, well past the bad beastie stage for egg yolks.)

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

This brown sugar ice cream, rich but not overly sweet, has just a swirl of Nutella. Even better, a simple method for making the custard base means no standing over the stove.

Ingredient  |  Volume  |  Weight
Milk  |  2 1/2 cups  |  20 ounces
Cream  |  1 1/2 cups  |  12 ounces
Brown sugar  |  1/2 cup  |  3 1/2 ounces
Egg yolks  |  4
Nutella  |  1/2 cup  |  5 1/4 ounces
Oil (flavorless or nut)  |  2 tablespoons  |  1 ounce


  1. Heat the milk, cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, to just under a boil.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks in large mixing bowl until combined. Run tap water until it is hot and put a couple of inches of water in the larger bowl. Float the mixing bowl on the water (hold it to stabilize) while continuing to whisk the yolks until they are warm and frothy, a minute or so. (The yolks should be just under body temperature, about 90-95F.)
  3. When the milk is just starting to bubble, put the mixing bowl on a towel next to the stove. Slowly pour the milk into the warmed yolks, whisking constantly. Continue whisking for a minute after everything is combined.
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly. I generally dump the hot water from the big bowl at this point and fill it with ice and water to cool the ice cream base faster. Just float the bowl in the ice water - remember to make sure it is stable so it doesn't tip over- and give it a little time (30-60 min) to cool. (The texture is a bit better if the ice cream base is chilled overnight before churning but it's really not necessary.) When the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, strain the mixture and freeze it using your ice cream maker.
  5. While the ice cream is churning, stir together the Nutella and oil. The oil keeps the Nutella from freezing, although it occurs to me now that a shot of alcohol would accomplish the same thing. I'll obviously have to try it.
  6. If your ice cream maker has a hole to drizzle it through, add the Nutella to the ice cream in the last 30-60 seconds of churning. Watch and stop it quickly so it remains in swirls. If you can't add it while the ice cream machine is running, fold it in quickly when the ice cream is done, while you are scraping it into a storage container.


You will need two bowls, one for mixing and a larger one that your mixing bowl will fit inside of with a couple of inches of room around it.

I used brown sugar because I wanted a butterscotch-like flavor without taking the time to actually make it. Besides, once the Nutella is swirled in, what it is swirled into is almost beside the point.

All this talk of ice cream has gotten me craving some. Which is too bad because the very last ice cream in the house was in that photo...and it's gone now. I guess that means I have to make more. How sad for me.

I need inspiration for something new, though, so I am turning to you.

  • What's your favorite ice cream?
  • Is there a kind of ice cream you have always wanted to make but haven't?
  • Bacon ice cream? Anyone tried it? Yes? No? Gross?

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