Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Low Carb “Lite” Butter Pecan

Butter pecan ice cream was my first attempt at low carb ice cream many years ago. The first batch froze like a rock because I didn’t consider the effects a lack of real sugar would have on the recipe. This flavor was very simple to make and extremely satisfying since it’s pecan halves cooked in salted butter with the salty browned butter mixed into a sweet cream base. The only downside is that it’s extremely calorie dense. Now that I have a relatively low calorie, low carb ice cream base to play with, I thought I’d try making a “lite” version of butter pecan.

It’s important to brown the butter rather than just melt it. Browned butter adds nutty, toasted flavors to the ice cream mix. The milk solids (natural lactose sugar, casein and whey proteins) undergo the caramelizing Maillard reaction. Browning butter can be tricky since it burns very easy. It’s best to cook it slowly and watch over it carefully as soon as the browning begins. I bought raw pecan halves and did not roast them prior to cooking them in the butter. If you use roasted pecan halves, it might be a good idea to wait to add them just as the butter is almost finished browning.

UPDATE 2017-11-28: I reworked this recipe a bit. I doubled the salt and increased the heavy cream. The butter pecan ice cream flavoring is optional.


1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (99 g) pecan halves
¾ cup (180 g) heavy cream
2 cups (484 g) Fairlife whole milk or equivalent
2 tablespoons Truvia
1 scant scoop (24 g) unflavored whey protein isolate
1 scant scoop (18 g) unflavored micellar casein
28 drops EZ-Sweetz
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ teaspoon Dixie Diner’s Thick It Up Low Carb Thickener
2 tablespoons (38 g) vegetable glycerin
2 tablespoons LorAnn Oils Flavor Fountain Flavorings, Butter Pecan (optional)


  1. Add the butter to a small pot (preferably non-stick) with ½ teaspoon of salt and place over medium heat. Add the pecan halves when the butter melts. Keep stirring as the butter begins to brown.

    Pecans in butter and salt.

    Remove from the heat when the butter has browned sufficiently.
  2. Strain the pecans into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup.

    Strained pecans.

    Put the strained pecans in an empty ice cream container and place in the refrigerator. Add the butter back into the pot. Add the heavy cream and EZ-Sweetz to the pot.
  3. Add the rest of ingredients including the other ½ teaspoon of salt except the vegetable glycerine and flavoring (optional) to the blender container. Blend at the lowest speed for approximately 10 seconds. Pour the contents from the blender into the pot and scrape its sides out using a silicone spatula.
  4. Heat on medium to medium-high while constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot using a heat resistant silicone spatula. Monitor the temperature. When it reaches 161 °F, lower the heat, start a cooking timer, and keep stirring for five more minutes. Do not allow the temperature get much hotter or cooler. Remove pot from the heat source temporarily while stirring, if needed.
  5. Transfer mix to the blender container and add the vegetable glycerine and flavoring (optional).

    Siren Failure to follow these directions carefully may result in hot ice cream mix EXPLODING out the top of your blender! Siren

    Stir the mix in the blender with the spatula by hand for at least ten seconds. Quickly put the cover on the blender container. Hold the cover down tightly. Do not cover any venting holes. Turn the blender on at its lowest speed. You may feel a jolt of pressure from the hot air pushing on the cover of the blender container. Blend for approximately 10 seconds. Pour the contents into a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in a refrigerator for 4-6 hours, but preferably overnight.
  7. Remove from the refrigerator. The mix will be thick and slightly gelatinous.
  8. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions for making ice cream. Add the butter-roasted pecans approximately five minutes before the ice cream will be done. Use a silicone spatula to remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and freeze until solid.
Scoops of ice cream.

Scoops of ice cream.

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