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Vanilla Ice Cream with Espresso-Caramel Sauce

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 1-1/2 cups sauce.

Servings: six.

If you don’t have an espresso machine, just pick up a cup at the local café.


  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. brewed espresso
  • 1 Tbs. Kahlúa (optional)
  • 3 pints vanilla ice cream
  • About 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans, roughly chopped, for sprinkling (optional; available online at Peets.com)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 590
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 270
  • Fat (g): 30
  • Saturated Fat (g): 19
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 120
  • Carbohydrates (g): 77
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 6


  • Measure the heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup. Put 1/2 cup water in a small, heavy saucepan with steep (at least 4-inch) sides. Add the sugar and swirl the pan to moisten it. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high and cook, still covered but checking frequently, until the sugar starts to turn light brown, 3 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar turns dark amber, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and slowly and very carefully stir in the heavy cream; it will bubble and splatter. Continue to stir until the sauce is smooth.

    Pour the caramel into a small, heatproof bowl, and let it cool slightly. Stir in the espresso and the Kahlúa, if using.

    To serve: If the caramel is cold or has thickened from sitting, reheat it gently over low heat. Put a scoop or two of ice cream into six individual cups or dishes. Drizzle some caramel on top and sprinkle with a spoonful of espresso beans, if using.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the caramel sauce up to a week in advance and refrigerate; it may separate, so stir to combine as you gently reheat the sauce before serving.


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