As I continue to moan about the hot and humid weather, the only thing I could even fathom making in terms of food this week was… ice cream! Besides being my favorite kind of dessert, there is nothing that compares to that cooling feeling of ice cream with a creamy, sweet and crunchy mouth feel of Norwegian “krokan-is”. Dangerously good!!
“Krokan” is a word we use in Norwegian that I haven’t been able to find a direct translation for in English – but describes caramelized sugar combined with butter and chopped nuts and comes from the French word “croquant”, which means crunchy. There are a variety of other desserts that contains krokan, including mousse dishes, the Norwegian cream cake “bløtkake” and a delicious milk chocolate called “krokan rull” (krokan roll), popular among many Norwegians and non-Norwegians who have tried it:
I haven’t quite been able to find anything similar in the U.S. to krokan-is in my years here. Sure, there is praline ice cream and other vanilla ice creams with nuts and caramel, but there is a pure flavor combination to this Norwegian ice cream I can’t quite put words to; it is just simply unmatched and must be experienced. Mention krokan-is to anybody from Norway and they all seem to get this dreamy look on their face. Look at this beautiful home made krokan brittle:
Krokan brittle is also sprinkled on soft serve vanilla ice cream in Norway, typically a big hit on May 17th, Norway’s constitution day:
Making home made ice cream is ridiculously easy, especially if you have one of these inexpensive ice cream makers (about $60 on Amazon.com):
It’s perfectly fine to follow and make this recipe even if you don’t have an ice cream machine, don’t despair! Serve it as is or spooned into a waffle cone. Some like it served with chocolate shavings – I prefer to take in all the wonderful, caramelized flavors of the krokan and the pure vanilla flavor of the ice cream and enjoy how perfectly well they go together.
Warning: Once you make this, going back to store bought ice cream or any other ice cream for that matter, will be very, very difficult. This might be my favorite creation so far! Happy ice cream making!!
4 egg yolks
150 grams sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split in half
For Caramelized Nuts:
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 /2 cup almonds or hazelnuts (or a combination of both), roughly chopped
Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod, and place in sauce pot with the milk and bring to a near simmer. Take off heat and let cool off for a few minutes.
In a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and well combined, add in the heavy cream and the milk mixture and mix well.
Melt the sugar and butter in a saute pan over medium heat until it starts darkening and turning into liquid, making sure it does not burn (do not move away from stove). Add the nuts and let it turn into a caramel color.
Pour the nut mixture onto a large sheet of parchment paper and let it seize up and harden.
Chop the mixture into small pieces and if making ice cream by hand, add into the ice cream mixture, stir to combine. Place in freezer and stir every five-ten minutes to avoid the mixture from forming crystals. Alternatively, pour mixture into an ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically the ice cream is churned for about 30 minutes, and the nuts added during the last 5 minutes. If the mixture isn’t thick/hard enough, you can always transfer ice cream to a separate airtight container and freeze for a few more minutes. I like mine pretty soft. The result is something like this (Norwegian viking pewter spoon optional):
* Note: I’ve also seen this ice cream made with the Norwegian spreadable goat cheese Snøfrisk, and I can only imagine how lovely this would be! Try adding a container of that in for an extra tangy taste! My next batch will contain this cheese for sure!