Sage Browned Butter Ice Cream (with a bonus cookie recipe!)

This is part two in our series of pizza appropriate savory ice creams.  There was a point where we were just throwing out delicious herbs and thinking about how they were best used in savory foods.  Browning sage in butter is one of the first steps in making an excellent Thanksgiving meal.  And browned butter is just plain delicious and decadent.

sage browned butter- earl grey openThe three important flavor components to our ice cream sandwiches

However, butter is not high on the roster of common ice cream flavors.  It does play an important role in a great proportion of sweet baked goods, so we knew there had to be something to it.  We were kind of clueless on how to make a browned butter into an ice cream component.  Luckily, Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams has a “Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream” that acted, very loosely, as our guide to this butter alchemy.  We made a couple changes, namely lowering the amount of butter (she uses three sticks!) and the addition of some lemon zest and the substitution of light brown instead of white sugar.  The results are surprisingly sweet and just the right amount of buttery.

After tasting the ice cream, we thought it would pair nicely with a shortbread, another dessert that prominently features butter.  The recipe for a favorite Earl Grey Tea shortbread, which naturally highlights compliments the hints of citrus, follows the ice cream recipe.  These ice cream sandwiches are like a butter explosion!


sage-milk cold infusionCold infused sage in whole milk

Sage Brown Butter Ice Cream (makes a scant 1 quart)

Adapted from Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

zest from 1 lemon

1/4 cup of sage leaves, roughly chopped

1.  The night before, soak the sage leaves in the milk.

2.  In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch and whisk to make a slurry.

3. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a larger bowl.

4. Set up an ice water bath in a large bowl.

5. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the lemon zest and let it brown with the butter.  Bring it to a boil and let it bubble until the bubbles clear and the butter is a dark brown color.  (I always get nervous about burning, so I err on the side of amber colored. You’ll see dark bits floating on the bottom of the pan.)  Remove from heat and let cool down for a couple minutes.

sage butter boilingButter and lemon zest at a boil

sage butter brownedCooling browned butter- note the darker brown bits at the bottom- that’s the stuff!  Also, note that I chickened out and there is still foam on the top, meaning it could have browned for a bit longer

6. One cool, pour off the liquid butter fat into a jar, a cup, etc. -just don’t put it down the drain and clog up your pipes- we’ll probably use the liquid to oil pans for awhile.  You want the dark bits on the bottom the pan with as little of the liquid as possible.

7.  Add the infused milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup to the pan with the butter solids.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and let boil for four minutes.

8.  Remove from heat.   Strain out the sage and lemon zest.  Whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Return to heat and boil for a minute until thickened.

9.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk the milk mixture into to cream cheese.

10.  Pour into a resealable plastic bag and cool in the ice bath until thoroughly chilled, about half an hour.

11.  Pour into maker and churn until fluffy.  Pack into a resealable container and cover with a piece of parchment paper pressed into the top.  Freeze in the rear of the freezer until firm, about four hours.

sage browned butter ice cream

Sage Browned Butter Ice Cream

Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies (makes 2 dozen cookies)

(note:  I have had this recipe for years, handwritten, with abbreviations, on yellow notebook paper for years.  I am not sure where it came from, but google searches indicate it may be a combination of Martha Stewart and

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon earl grey tea (I usually use 3 disassembled teabags)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon water

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) (I let it soften for a little bit)

optional: 1 tablespoon zest of orange

1. Put all dry ingredients (plus orange zest if using)  and pulverize in a food processor.

2. Add the wet ingredients and butter.  Pulverize until it comes together into a fully mixed dough.

3.  Put on a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log about 10 inches long with a  1.5″ diameter. Wrap in the parchment and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

5.  With a sharp knife, slice cookies about 1/4″ thick.  A dozen will fit comfortably on a sheet.

6.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or until edges start to brown.  If using two trays, switch tray location halfway through and rotate orientation of pans.

7.  Take off pans and let cool completely before assembling the ice cream sandwiches.  Just a scoop of slightly soft ice cream is enough to squeeze between two cookies.  Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap or artfully folded parchment, and freeze for 20 minutes before enjoying.

sage browned butter-earl grey tea ice cream sandwich

This combination of Earl Grey Tea Shortbread and Sage Browned Butter Ice Cream is a butter explosion!


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