Holiday Recipes

Carrot Caramel Ice Cream Sundaes

Remember that phenomenon a few years back when we pressed everything from hash browns to quesadillas and chocolate chip cookies inside of our waffle makers?  We had some success.  We had some failures.  We learned that waffle irons are mostly best for things like, say… Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles. 

Can we waffle that?  Well, lately I feel the same way about caramel.  Name a single ingredients and the first thing that pops in my mind is…. can I make that a caramel? And… follow-up: can I add caramel to that?  The answer, graciously, is usually yes.  Praise be.  

Remember Turkey Gravy Salted Caramels a few months back?  Well, I’ve emerged from the kitchen with yet another holiday-inspired caramel – this time with carrots.  

Carrots have a natural sweetness that lend themselves very well to caramel.  Carrot juice and caramelized sugar are basically holding hands and we’re the better for it. Try this adventure-caramel! I promise it’s kinda crazy and very cool. 

If you’re have that pang in your belly that says something like ‘I can’t make caramel, I’ll burn the house down’… I’m here to reassure you that you won’t, and this adventure is worth it. 

It starts in a medium saucepan with carrot juice (I used store-bought) and corn syrup.  

We’ll add granulated sugar to the juice and corn syrup and bring the mixture to a simmer.  The idea is to cook the liquid down while allowing the sugar to brown and caramelize.  Now… it’ll be hard to tell how much our sugar is browning because the carrot juice is already orange.  

Keep an eye on the simmering mixture. I’ll change from bright orange to a deeper amber orange.  That’s what we’re looking for.  

When the bubbling mixture comes to a golden amber, remove from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream.  

This is a leap of faith moment. The mixture might seize as it comes together.  Keep pouring.  Keep whisking. 

A bit more carrot juice too.  Get those flavors in there. 

And butter + salt.  Whisk until the butter is emulsified throughout the caramel and completely melted.  

Salt will help balance all the sweetness.  

Last:  carrot!  Finely shredded.

It reminds me of when my grandmother would put shredded carrots in Jello salad.  

Do it! It’s fun. 

The caramel will be thin just out of the pan.  Some time to cool in the refrigerator will help thicken the sauce. 

We better do something grand with this caramel.  Sundaes! 

Crumbled gingersnaps and lots of toasted coconut to start.  

Make a bed for the ice cream and add a few scoops of vanilla, though buttered pecan would also be delicious!  

Top with carrot caramel.  Go for it.  All the way. 

Add a dollop of whipped cream. 

And another sprinkling of cookies and coconut. 

Does it taste like carrots? You bet your butt it does! It’s sweet and lightly vegetal and pairs really well with vanilla ice cream and spiced cookies.  

Adventure status. Try this and let me know what you think! 

Carrot Caramel Sundaes
Yields 1
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. For the Caramel
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup carrot juice, divided
  4. 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  5. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  6. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  7. 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh carrots
For the Sundaes
  1. toasted coconut
  2. crushed gingersnap cookies
  3. vanilla ice cream
  1. To make the caramel, add sugar, 1/4 cup of carrot juice, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice. At a simmer, allow to brown. It may be hard to see the sugar browning because of the orange carrot juice, but keep an eye on the mixture for color changes as it cooks- 5 to 6 minutes should be good!
  2. Once sugar has browned to a medium deep orange color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream, remaining 1/4 cup of carrot juice and butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well until butter melts.
  3. Add salt and shredded carrots - stir well to incorporate. Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok. Place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  4. To make the sundaes, sprinkle toasted coconut and crumbled ginger cookies into small cups or bowls. Top with vanilla ice cream. Top the ice cream with carrot caramel. Dollop with lightly whipped cream and sprinkle with more toasted coconut and crumbled cookies. Enjoy immediately!
Joy the Baker