Al Dente Frozen: Coffee pretzel ice cream


The Dogfish Head Chicory Stout ice cream from last week was the most viewed post in Al Dente history, thanks to the brewery’s loyal fanbase. While I liked it, it was rather heavy and loaded with fat from the eggs and cream. This latter fact turned The Wife off, instead longing for an ice cream that “won’t kill me.”

One of the things I learned is that chocolate-covered pretzels are an underrated entity in the world of snack foods. They went well as a topping for the Chicory Stout ice cream, so it only stands to reason that they would be even better mixed into the frozen base. And, since I was jonesing for coffee ice cream anyhow, it seemed like a good combination.

IMG_1741My first batch of homemade ice cream was a coffee-flavored vanilla ice cream with regular pretzels added at the end. The flavor was fine, but the pretzels were really soggy. The coating of chocolate prevented that in this round.

I also found that the first batch had a good coffee flavor, but I wanted something stronger. Sooooooo, instead of a double-shot of espresso from Starbucks, I picked up a triple. That did the trick. For sweetness, I toffee chips worked quite nicely, adding texture and sugar to each scoop.

Coffee pretzel ice cream
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 cup milk (I used 1 percent; as long as you don’t use skim, you’re okay)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt (I used a healthy pinch of sea salt)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 shots espresso, chilled
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso
  • 1/4 cup plain toffee chips
  • 1 cup chocolate covered pretzels


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, sugar and salt so that the latter two dissolve. Gently whisk in the heavy cream, vanilla, espresso and instant espresso until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.


Pour the cold base into the ice cream maker and run per the manufacturer’s instructions. (Cuisinart says to run 15-20 minutes. I’ve found that letting it churn longer mixes things in better.) With five minutes to go, add the toffee chips and pretzels. If necessary, use a soup spoon to free any mix-ins or ice cream that bunches up at the top.


Transfer the ice cream to a resealable container and freeze 2-3 hours before serving.


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