Melted Ice Cream Is Ina Garten's Unexpected Go-To Dessert Addition

Melted ice cream is typically not considered a good thing — rather, it's an unfortunate annoyance of enjoying the frozen treat, especially on a hot day when we crave it the most. However, celebrity chef Ina Garten has a more positive view of melted ice cream — in fact, she'll even melt it on purpose sometimes.

In her cookbook, "Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook," Garten revealed that she lets ice cream melt to use it as a dessert sauce. Garten wrote, "Vanilla ice cream is essentially crème anglaise that's been frozen. I reverse the process and end up with crème anglaise!"

By using this method, you'll save yourself the hassle of whipping up a fresh batch of crème anglaise, which isn't terribly difficult but does require you to seek out the ingredients and separate egg yolks. Plus, you can choose your favorite type of vanilla ice cream — if you choose vanilla bean, you'll save the money that you would've used toward vanilla bean paste, which can get a bit pricey.

How to use the melted vanilla ice cream turned crème anglaise

Any dessert that is made a little bit better with a sauce will make for a perfect vessel for the melted vanilla ice cream. For example, you could drizzle it over bread pudding to add a little bit of extra flavor. Or, maybe you want to make your banana bread into a sweeter treat — we already know banana bread pairs well with vanilla ice cream, so it's guaranteed that it will taste delicious dipped in the makeshift crème anglaise.

The melted vanilla ice cream is also a great pairing for any slice of cake — after all, cake and ice cream are one of the most iconic pairings — such as a classic chocolate cake, pound cake, or maybe a Neapolitan cake. It would also work well with something like a spiced baked apple crumb or an easy peach crisp. Or, if you're looking for a lighter dessert option, you can sweeten up a bowl of berries with a drizzle of melted ice cream over the top.