How To Make Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream


Hawaiian sea salt and palm sugar are both formidable flavors and, when combined, you can expect a taste sensation.

On its own, palm sugar has a flavor close to caramel so the sea salt brings all that out in a rounded ice cream flavor that you should not be able to resist.

How To Make Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream

While there are other sweeteners available like white granulated sugar, palm sugar provides a depth of flavor to create moreish ice cream that’s more than just sweet. 

If you cannot find Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream in your local store, here’s how to make it at home (see also “How To Make A Hawaiian Shaved Ice Cream“). 

The Required Equipment

Just like any ice cream, you will need the right equipment to heat up dairy ingredients and then cool them down to turn them from a custard into ice cream with its various flavorings.

Aside from the ice cream maker, these are pieces of equipment that most kitchens should have at their disposal. 

  • A Heatproof Bowl Or Double Boiler
  • A Saucepan
  • A Wooden Spoon
  • A Large Bowl Filled With Ice And Water
  • Two Medium-Sized Bowls
  • A Large-Sized Bowl
  • An Ice-Cream Maker
  • A Freeze-Ready Container

The Ingredients 

Anyone with experience in making ice cream from scratch should be familiar with many of the flavors in this recipe. A lot of the ice cream is formed from a custard of heavy cream, whole milk, and egg yolks.

What sets this ice cream apart is only a small amount of Hawaiian sea salt and the use of unrefined palm sugar instead of granulated white sugar or any other type of sweetener.

  • Two cups of heavy cream
  • One cup of whole milk
  • Three-quarters of a cup plus an additional two tablespoons (150g) of unrefined palm sugar
  • Two teaspoons of extra-virgin coconut oil
  • A quarter of a teaspoon (1g) of Hawaiian sea salt
  • Six large egg yolks

The Method

There are several stages to creating delicious ice-cream. The first involves making the custard by heating up the dairy and gradually incorporating the egg yolks.

The next part is cooling the mixture down and ensuring that the consistency is correct. Finally, you allow the ice-cream maker and freezer to work their magic.

How To Make Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream

Creating The Custard

  • Pour the whole milk and heavy cream into a heatproof bowl or a double boiler set on top of a saucepan filled with gently simmering water. Make sure that the bowl or double boiler is above the water and that the bottom is not directly touching the water.
  • Whisk in around 110g (half a cup and two tablespoons) of the palm sugar into the cream and milk mixture.
  • Gradually add the coconut oil followed by the Hawaiian sea salt then stir until both the sugar and the sea salt have dissolved.
  • Allow the mixture to heat up sufficiently so that you see some steam rising.  

Creating The Right Consistency

  • Place a handful of ice into a large-sized bowl and pour in some water to create an ice bath with a smaller, medium-sized bowl in the water.
  • Place another medium-sized bowl, on a flat surface with a kitchen towel placed underneath to prevent slippage.
  • Quickly whisk the egg yolks and the remaining palm sugar in the medium-sized bowl atop the kitchen towel until a uniform consistency forms.
  • Continue to whisk the mixture and gradually add the hot dairy mixture until you have added around half.
  • Pour the egg yolk mixture into the rest of the hot dairy mixture in the bowl or double boiler.
  • Ramp up the heat to medium to cook the custard while stirring constantly then reduce to medium low when steam appears. 
  • The custard should be thick enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon. To test it, hold the wooden spoon horizontally then run a finger through it and if the lines remain then the custard can be cooled down.
  • Pour the custard into the bowl sitting in the ice bath and stir for between three and five minutes until the custard has sufficiently cooled.

Turning Custard Into Ice Cream

  • Transfer the custard into your suitably-sized freezer container and cover to cool in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Once thickened up, pour the custard into your ice cream maker and leave it to freeze according to the maker’s specific instructions. 
  • Make sure that there is ample room in the freezer for your container, churn the ice cream until it is ‘soft serve’ then pour it into the container.
  • Freeze until hardened, usually overnight, and serve.
  • In the container, the ice cream can be stored frozen for up to a week or maybe more.

Final Thoughts

While you may be used to creating ice cream from granulated white sugar, try it with palm sugar for a moreish and undeniably sweet flavor.

The ingredient is a rustic but naturally occurring Asian sweetener created from the sap of a coconut, Palmyra, or sago palm, hence the name.

While granulated white sugar can simply taste sweet, palm sugar has a flavor akin to brown sugar yet with deeper notes of toast, caramel, honey, and even whiskey.

Though the taste of palm sugar can vary from region to region, it is undeniably a great ingredient to have, especially when making Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can You Find Palm Sugar To Take Home And Make Ice Cream With?

As with almost anything niche-related, you should be able to order palm sugar online. You may be lucky with your local Asian market as the ingredient is produced in the regions of South and Southeast Asia.

If you do find it in a health food store then expect to pay between $12 and $25 per pound though it is cheaper in an Asian store.

How Should You Serve Hawaiian Sea Salt And Palm Sugar Caramel Ice Cream?

Due to the deep flavor of the ice cream itself, you should not be tempted to overdo your serving with any toppings.

Though if you did want to complement the flavor of the palm sugar then pour over some homemade salted caramel sauce. You can also add a sprinkling of coarse Hawaiian Sea Salt too. 

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