Everyone has a favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor whether it’s Half-Baked or Cherry Garcia, or Chunky Monkey. Unfortunately my favorite is one that found its way into the flavor graveyard many years ago. RIP Concession Obsession. This tooth-achingly sweet combination of vanilla ice cream with some favorite movie theatre concessions – nonpareils, crunch bars, chocolate-coated peanuts, and a caramel swirl – does, I will admit, seem like a flavor and sugar overload so I can see how it may have been a less popular choice. But coming from a kid with a life aspiration of one day becoming the next Willy Wonka, this ice cream was perfection. And for the record, this still is my life aspiration. No shame there.
I came up with the idea to recreate this flavor, but with even more of an allusion to it’s cinematic inspiration, after coming across a recipe for buttered popcorn ice cream. I figured this of course would go well with the culmination of candies added to the mix. There are few flavor combinations more classic than that of a handful of movie theatre popcorn quickly followed by chocolate candy or candies of choice after all. And the buttered popcorn ice cream, though odd-sounding at first, really does work well. The flavor is subtle but is undeniably that of popcorn, its salty and sweet flavor buoyed by the rich eggy custard beneath it.
I jazzed up the Concession Obsession remix even more with the add-ins I chose. The nonpareils came from Zoe’s Chocolate, one of my favorite local chocolate shops, and I used chopped pieces of Theo Chocolate’sblack rice quinoa crunch bar. This, combined with pieces of maple-glazed cashews and a thorough drizzle of salted caramel sauce, certainly makes an ultra-sweet ice cream but one that is a true homage to its predecessor. I also discovered that when served in a chocolate and sprinkle coated waffle cone and eaten with some popcorn pieces scattered overtop, some truly magical things happen. So magical that the Ben and Jerry’s masterminds will decide to unearth this flavor from its frozen resting place? Well, we can all dream, right?
Concession Obsession Remix: Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream with Movie Theatre Confections
Ice Cream recipe from The Kitchn
Inspired by Ben and Jerry’s Concession Obsession
Makes about a quart
**Note: The chocolate dipped waffle cones are super simple to make if you want to serve the ice cream in them. See instructions at the very bottom.
For the ice cream base
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 bag popped movie theatre butter popcorn
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped nonpareils
1/3 chopped crisp rice chocolate
1/3 chopped maple glazed cashews (or any candied nut of choice)
Salted caramel sauce
Chocolate dipped waffle cones, caramel sauce, and popped popcorn for serving
Heat the cream and 1 cup of the milk in a saucepan until bubbles just start to form at the edge. Remove from the heat and add in the popcorn. Stir and set aside to steep for an hour. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the popcorn to strain out as much liquid as possible. Add the additional cup of milk and return to a clean saucepan.
Heat the milk mixture over a medium heat again until small bubbles just begin to form. While the milk heats, use an electric mixer to whip the egg yolks, sugar, and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes. This will form a light yellow and frothy mixture. When the milk is heated, slowly whisk about 1 cup of the milk into the eggs. Then, whisk the warmed eggs back into the saucepan with the milk.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continuously stir the custard mixture until it thickens enough that it easily coats the back of a spoon and reaches 185 degrees. Strain through a sieve into a bowl or dish, stir in the vanilla, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, churn the ice cream according to your machine’s instructions. Once churned, stir in the nuts and the two chocolates. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, drizzling in caramel sauce as desired. Let freeze until completely firm before serving.
**To make chocolate-dipped ice cream cones melt chocolate chips in the microwave, swirl the top part of the outside of the cone in the chocolate and let the excess drip off. Pour some rainbow sprinkles onto a plate and roll the cone in sprinkles until it coats all of the chocolate. Lay them on a piece of parchment paper in the freezer until firm and keep stored in a plastic bag in the freezer until ready to use.