Friday, March 25, 2011

Burnt Almond Cream

One of my favorite treats as a child was delivered by the Good Humor Man. When we would hear him cycling down the street pushing the ice cream cart in front, bells ringing, it seems like every kid in the neighborhood would come running. A Toasted Almond bar was my favorite. Smooth vanilla ice cream covered in a crunchy nutty coating. It was heaven on a stick.

Sometimes I would cheat on Toasted Almond with a Chocolate Fudge Cake bar but most of the time I stayed loyal.

The bars used to look like this.

Now they look like this.

Since I have not tasted this new version, I have no idea what that stuff in the middle is.

Anyway, this recipe reminded me of those Toasted Almond ice cream bars and of running after the ice cream man which, luckily, I don't have to do anymore since I have my own ice cream maker. If I didn't, I still so would.

The best part was the crunchy topping. Similar to a Crème brûlée topping but with an almond twist.

Two quick notes on texture: The first is I had no soft brown sugar on hand so I used one with large granules. As a result, the topping never became glass like when baked. I thought the large granules gave it great texture but next time I will try the soft sugar. 

The second is, while this recipe came out pretty well, I definitely can use some more practice on perfecting my custard skills. The custard was not as creamy as I'd hope for but I don't think it was the recipe's fault. It was mine.

Burnt Almond Cream
(From Helen Brown's West Coast Cook Book, Forward and Annotation by 
Philip Brown, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1991)

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • Soft brown sugar for topping

  • Preheat Oven 350 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil, spread the almonds out on the sheet and place in oven. Remove when almonds are toasted.
  • Meanwhile, heat up water in the bottom part of a double boiler.
  • Using the top part of the double boiler or in a small sauce pan, heat the cream, 6 tablespoons sugar and salt directly on a burner until boiling.
  • Beat the egg yolks and the brandy together.
  • Turn heat off and add a bit of the cream mixture to the egg yolks whisking constantly.
  • Slowly add the yolks to the cream mixture whisking constantly. 
  • Transfer the pan to the double boiler whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • If you want, at this point you can strain the custard. 
  • Mix in the almonds and pour into a small baking dish (I used an 8x8 inch square earthenware dish)  and refrigerate at least 12 hours.
  • Preheat the over at 350 degrees F or use the broiler.
  • Remove from fridge and sift a 1/4 inch layer of soft brown sugar over the top.
  • Pop in oven or broiler and bake until it starts to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and place in fridge until ready to eat.
  • Serves 6 to 8.


  1. Oh My! That looks absolutely delicious, just can't wait to try this.

  2. Even as a kid, you already had such a great palate. While all of the others were scarfing down Nutty Buddies and ice cream sandwiches, you were enjoying your Toasted Almond bar. So awesome.

    This looks incredible, btw.

  3. In Australia those are called Golden Gaytimes.

    They were my favourite as a kid.I still miss them.

  4. I applaud you for making your own custard. I never have. This dessert looks like the ice cream man himself might just chase you down the street for a slice of it.

  5. What a treat! It would be so popular at my house, a must try!

  6. Hi,
    First time here...
    Great recipe! It looks delicious!

  7. Oh my lord, this sounds BEYOND amazing! I'm pretty sure I could polish off that whole batch singlehandedly.

  8. This sounds incredible! Love everything with almonds and burnt almonds (or Gebrannte Mandeln) will always hold a special place in my heart :o) Delicious!

  9. I found this while looking for a burnt Almond Mousse Ice Cream recipe. Baskin Robbins made that flavor in the late 70's and I still miss it. So I've decided to make my own. I think I can use your recipe to make an ice cream... Custard bases are great mixed in a ice cream freezer. In order to get the brown sugar crunch I'll make some brown sugar almond brittle and break it up and use it as a topping on the ice cream. I can't wait!!!

    Thank you so much!

    1. You and I have similar taste in ice cream! I'm glad someone else remembers that flavor at Baskin Robbins! It was the first time that I tried something without chocolate in it and I have missed it ever since!

  10. Hahahaha, that baskins robbins flavor was the first time that I tried something that wasn't chocolate too! It was sooo good!


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