Apple Cider Sodas with Penuche Swirl Ice Cream

Penuche is a fudgy candy made with brown sugar, cream, butter, and often nuts. I thin it to a sauce consistency and layer it in a chocolate tart or serve it warm over ice cream. Here, I partially fold the cold sauce into vanilla ice cream, creating swirls of buttery brown sugar and rich, creamy vanilla. It is similar to caramel but has a deeper flavor. Apple and penuche are natural partners. Each brings out the best in the other. This soda is best made in autumn, when fresh cider is available.

Ingredients

Penuche Swirl Ice Cream

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) pecan pieces, toasted
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
  • French Vanilla Ice Cream base

Apple Cider Soda

  • 3 cups fresh apple cider or apple juice
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more if needed
  • Large pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 cups cold seltzer water

Method

To Make the Ice Cream

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the brown and granulated sugars and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until combined, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Add the cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and nuts. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Churn the French vanilla ice cream base in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is freezing, put a medium bowl in the freezer. When the ice cream has finished freezing, remove the bowl from the freezer and put the ice cream in it. Place spoonfuls of penuche over the ice cream. Carefully fold the two together, leaving swirls of penuche visible in the ice cream. Freeze until scoopable, about 4 hours, depending on your freezer.

To Make the Soda

Stir together the apple cider, the 6 tablespoons sugar, and the salt in a large pitcher until the sugar dissolves. Taste for sweetness, and if necessary, add another tablespoon or two of sugar. Stir in the seltzer water.

In Advance

The apple sodas should be prepared just before serving.

To Serve

Place several scoops of ice cream into each of 6 tall glasses. Pour the apple cider mixture over the ice cream. Serve immediately, with straws and long spoons.

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