Spiced nut caramel sauce for ice cream
I love the way sugar transforms into a rich, silky caramel with nothing more than a pan and some heat. I melt the sugar until it turns golden brown. I then add a mixture of nuts that toast instantly from the heat of the sugar. I add a mixture of ground allspice and ancho chile. I then add the cream and a cloud forms and the sugar disappears. Moments later the cloud comes to a rest and the sugar re-appears as a silky, golden caramel sauce with a luscious combination of nuts all bathing in the sauce. The allspice is such a natural with the ice cream that the sauce is bound for. The ancho chile powder keeps you guessing and gives the sweet dessert the savory balance it needs. There is very little heat and the chile is not overwhelming. When the sauce hits the ice cream you understand the true meaning of holy matrimony! You now have an entirely new decadent sauce in the bottom of your bowl as the caramel sauce mixes with the melted ice cream. The nuts stay perched on top of the ice cream for a moment until they give in to the temptation to dive into the sauce.
I always need dessert at the end of a meal. Sometimes I buy a fancy dessert, sometimes I make a fancy dessert and sometimes I don’t have the time, money or energy for either. I created this late one night after a dinner party. Everyone was in the mood for something sweet but I had very little on hand. Sometimes the last-minute dishes are the best ones. Give it a try. Enjoy!
½ C. granulated sugar
¼ C. each of walnuts, green pumpkin seeds, peanuts and slivered almonds (you can use any form or combination of nuts that you have on hand or like).
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp ground ancho chile (or chile powder)
½ tsp salt
¾ C. heavy cream
Place the sugar in a medium size pot with a large surface area (you don’t want the sugar to be deep). Cook over medium heat. DO NOT touch or stir because it will potentially form crystals that will make the sauce seize up.
When the sugar starts to become golden you can swirl the pan gently. Once fully golden add the nuts, the spices and the salt. Allow the mixture to become a little darker than you think it should because the cream will lighten it up.
Pour in the cream and turn off the heat. Whisk to combine. Be careful, this stuff is really hot! Pour over ice cream. Resist doing shots of this even though you will be tempted!
Eat Well, Enjoy life, Be happy