Salted caramel ice cream is everywhere today. If you make ice cream in America, you’re making a variation. But our version—Salty Caramel—the signature flavor that Jeni has been making since 1996, is the original salted caramel ice cream, the flavor that put us on the map.
Named in tribute to the Frenchman Jeni used to work with in the Columbus patisserie La Chatelaine (salted caramel was salty caramel to the chef), this flavor is made entirely from scratch. Because ice cream made with caramel flavoring tastes flat and chemical-y (think gas station lattes), we always make our caramel from scratch in a kettle over fire.
To caramelize our sugar, we use a dry-burn technique, which means no water is added to the sugar before putting the pan on the heat. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream.
It’s a dangerous process—the sugar pops and spatters—and it requires precision and timing, so only a few people in our kitchen have mastered it. It’s a method that takes a lot of time, labor, and know-how, which is why most ice cream makers don’t caramelize sugar by hand. And if they do, it’s a challenge to ensure consistency each time.
Salty Caramel ice cream is really special. It’s a flavor that we and our customers really love. From where we stand, there is no better flavor in the world.