Malted Milk Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Recipe

Two classics that play better together: a sweet, creamy malted milk base and the salty-nutty crunch of toffee.

Photograph: Robyn Lee

I'd guess that whoever first said "you can't go home again" probably wasn't a cook. Sure, mom's short ribs are mom's short ribs, but mom also has email and can write down recipes and now I don't need to hear family gab about how [PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE REDACTED] is destroying America just to get a taste.

Another case in point: Ovaltine, which gets precious little love on our fair site, but was one of the foundational flavors of my childhood. Because we were a healthy household and didn't do chocolate milk, Ovaltine was a solid after school ritual.* And I'm betting I'm not alone: that there are lots of Ovaltine fans out there who'd mix up a tall glass with triple the recommended amount of powder when no one was looking. Or just eat the powder straight when the milk ran out. Every time I drink, or cook with, Ovaltine, it's something of a time warp.

I know, I know—Ovaltine isn't actually healthy. But it was the 90s, the milk mustache was still cool, and Ovaltine cleverly positioned itself as the healthy alternative to all the other drinkable sugars on the market.

I've explored using Ovaltine in ice cream before, but there it played second fiddle to milk chocolate. In this recipe there's nothing to get in the way between you and the Ovaltine in all its creamy, malty glory.

Except...for some chopped up toffee. Because if we're going to play at nostalgia, we might as well go all the way, and folding chopped up candy into ice cream is a surefire way to get a kid to do whatever you want, forever, as long as he or she gets a taste. Plus, malted milk powder is pretty sweet stuff; some salty crunch is just the thing to balance it out.

This recipe is pretty easy as far as ice cream goes, and flexible, too. Want to add nuts? Almonds and hazelnuts would be right at home. Cookie dough more your speed? Go right ahead. Pretzels would be great too, but best as a topping; they'll get too soft suspended in the ice cream.

Recipe Details

Malted Milk Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 13 hrs
Makes 1 quart

Two classics that play better together: a sweet, creamy malted milk base and the salty-nutty crunch of toffee.


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (recommended: Ovaltine; see note)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 6 ounces toffee, chopped, storebought or homemade


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, malted milk powder, sugar, and two tablespoons half and half into a smooth paste.

  2. Slowly pour in remaining half and half, whisking until yolk mixture is incorporated. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until a custard forms against the back of a spoon and a swiped finger leaves a clean line, 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt to taste.

  3. Pour custard through a strainer into an airtight container and chill at least 8 hours. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Return to container, quickly stir in toffee chunks, and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Special equipment

ice cream maker


Malt powder, available from mail order and some commercial vendors, is just pure malt; malted milk powder, which this recipe calls for, adds dry milk powder and sugar.