Popcorn Ice Cream

Ballpark Sundae with Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream

Baseball is finally back! To celebrate the return of my favorite sport, I made the ULTIMATE Ballpark Sundae with Buttered Popcorn Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Homemade Cracker Jacks, Cracker Jack Cookies and Chocolate Covered Pretzels! Play ball!

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 has been a wild and strange year. Amid all of the unrest, anxiety and uncertainty, we are all craving a little normality.

For me, that means baseball.

Busch Stadium in St Louis, Missouri

My Love of the Game

My family follows Major League Baseball year-round. MLB network is the only cable channel that we watch on a regular basis. We watch what deals are made, who is traded to what team, who is injured and what new rules and changes that MLB has made with each new season.

Now, I know that some people think that baseball is boring. These are usually the same people that watch golf and some how find it exciting. I don’t get it but to each his own!

I will say that the only time that I actually focus on a game completely is when I am in the ballpark. If I am watching a game on TV, I will generally be doing something else (baking is the #1 activity and writing a blog post is #2!).

But I can keep up with everything that is happening in the game while satisfying my ADD tendancies.

The sound of my favorite broadcasters’ voice (I’m looking at you, Dan and Ricky!) and the crack of the bat or the cheering of the crowd are the sounds of my home. We begin watching Spring Training games as soon as they are televised and eagerly await the beginning of regular season play.

Every game is a chance for us to watch our favorite team (Go Cardinals!) and other teams and players that capture our attention.

We talk in baseball stats and monitor the injured list daily.

I’m a Baseball Convert

I will admit that I was not always a baseball fan. But when we moved to my husbands’ hometown just outside of St Louis, Missouri, we began to watch the Saint Louis Cardinals games.

It was about 2003 when I began to learn a lot about the game. At the time, Cardinals fans were consumed with the career of Albert Pujols.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Albert was great and I appreciate everything that he did for the team and for baseball. He is a powerhouse!

But baseball still hadn’t really captured my attention. I could watch a game on and off. I could go to a game and enjoy myself but I didn’t really love it.

Then this young catcher named Yadier Molina signed with the Cardinals.

This guy plays with passion and knowledge and strategy and so much heart! Watching him play just intrigued me!

I started watching more and more, and learning more and more.

When Pujols left the Cardinals in 2012, Yadi (a common nickname for my favorite player) stepped into the role of team leader and he has excelled ever since.

I love to watch Yadi as he works side by side with the veteran players while also mentoring the younger players.

He knows every player, every team, and every nuance of the game. You can see him analyzing every second if you watch his eyes. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t run on Yadi. He is faster than you, plain and simple!

Yadier Molina is reason that I learned to love baseball.

And I need baseball more than ever now.

This season will be shorter than usual and we can’t enjoy it in the ballpark. Life has been turned upside down and nothing is normal.

But the return of baseball, even for a short time, will bring a welcome sense of normality to our house and I can’t wait!

Baseball in glove - Ready for Opening Day MLB 2020

Making the Opening Day Ballpark Sundae

OK, this blog is about recipes but here I am going on and on about baseball.

My friend, Tina Zaccardi, and I were talking several months ago (pre-COVID) about life and baseball.

Both Tina and I believe that baseball IS life so that is where our conversations tend to go if we are not talking about baking!

Check out Tina’s Baseball Treat on her website at https://tinazaccardi.com/tina-zaccardi-bakes

We decided in February that we should both create a recipe for Opening Day that was originally scheduled for March 26, 2020. Tina and I agreed to work with the traditional flavors that you find in the ballpark – peanuts, popcorn and cracker jacks!

I immediately knew that my recipe had to include ice cream because it is my favorite ballpark treat.

Read all about why I associate ice cream with baseball in my post on the Cracker Jack Cookies that are on top of this Sundae.

But ballpark treats are big and over-the-top so I couldn’t just do a scoop of ice cream in a bowl.

So I decided to put together an Ice Cream Sundae that is big enough to be served in a ballpark!

Ice cream and cookies and cracker jacks and chocolate covered pretzels! All in one bowl!

These recipes were ready to share by early March.

And then…COVID.

COVID19 sidelined baseball as well as everything else in most peoples’ lives. Tina and I had to push off the debut of our baseball treats until games could actually be played.

While we can’t go to the ballpark this year, you can bet that I will be eating this Sundae at home while I watch my Cardinals play!

If you want to make Ballpark Sundaes, you will need to start a day or two in advance of serving them. Each element of the Sundae is easy to make but does take a bit of time, especially the ice cream.

Ballpark Sundae with Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Swirl, Homemade Cracker Jacks, Cracker Jack Cookies and Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream

That’s when I decided to incorporate the buttery popcorn flavor into the ice cream itself and then swirl in salted caramel sauce. It’s amazing that it is so easy to flavor ice cream (or custard, or pastry cream) with almost any flavor just by steeping your chosen food in the milk and/or cream.

I found that using the cheap pre-made bagged popcorn gave the best flavor! Weird but true!

Adding the salted caramel sauce makes this ice cream an indulgent treat in itself. The saltiness is the perfect contrast to the sweet caramel and accents the buttered popcorn flavor.

I loved this ice cream so much more than I thought I would!

Homemade Cracker Jacks

As a kid, I remember eating boxes of Cracker Jacks at my Grandpa’s house. The taste of that nostalgic treat takes me back to weekends at his house.

Cracker Jacks are normally made with peanuts and popcorn covered in caramel. I have added pretzel pieces to my cracker jacks because I love even more crunch and because pretzels are a traditional ballpark treat and I thought they should be included!

My Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe is in a separate post because it is a wonderful treat all on it’s own!

Homemade Cracker Jacks

Cracker Jack Cookie Recipe

The Recipe for the Cracker Jack Cookies on top of the Sundae can be found HERE.

It is much easier to make the ice cream, cookies and cracker jacks a day or two before you plan to serve them.

I highly recommend that you hide these cookies if you want them on your Sundae’s though. They are incredibly addictive and will disappear quickly!

Cookies with homemade Cracker Jacks to top your Popcorn Ice Cream Sundae

Assembling your Ballpark Sundae with Popcorn Ice Cream

This sundae could be served in a glass bowl, baseball helmet or waffle cone or bowl. The sky is the limit here!

A drizzle of additional salted caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt is my preferred addition but if you are partial to hot fudge….omg, yum! Drizzle that on too!

To assemble this sundae, get a BIG scoop or two of ice cream and place in a bowl. The Buttered Popcorn Salted Caramel Swirl Ice Cream Recipe is below.

Top with a handful of Homemade Cracker Jacks, the more the merrier! The recipe for the Cracker Jacks can be found HERE.

Dig a big Cracker Jack Cookie into the top of the Sundae to be used as an ice cream scoop. Get the Cookie Recipe HERE.

Place a couple of chocolate covered pretzels in the side of your sundae. These are another method of scooping the delicious ice cream into your mouth!

Top with a cherry and, to really go big, sprinkles!

Now, enjoy your Ballpark Sundae and PLAY BALL!

Ballpark Sundae for MLB Opening Day 2020 - with Popcorn Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Cracker Jacks and Cracker Jack cookies!

Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 640 mL (2 3/4 cups) heavy cream

  • 320 mL (1 1/3 cup) whole milk

  • 1 1/2 cups buttered popcorn (I used Okie Doke Buttery popcorn found in the chips aisle at the grocery store)

  • 8 egg yolks

  • 185 grams (rounded 3/4 cup) granulated sugar

  • 120 mL to 240 mL (1/2 cup to 1 cup) salted caramel sauce, homemade or store bought


  • In a heavy saucepan, add the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, add in the popcorn and stir, making sure that the popcorn is submerged. Cover and let steep for about an hour to an hour and a half.
  • In another heavy saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. The mixture will thicken slightly. Chill in a bowl in the refrigerator until the popcorn has finished steeping in the cream mixture.
  • Pour the cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the pot with the egg mixture. Press on the strained popcorn with a spoon or spatula to squeeze out all of the remaining cream/milk mixture and the rest of the buttery popcorn flavor. Whisk until very well combined and smooth.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook until thickened, stirring often. The mixture should leave a line on the back of a spoon when it is ready. Add salt, stir, and then strain through a mesh strainer into an airtight container. Chill the custard base in the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next day, pour the custard base into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions until almost set. Pour half of the ice cream to a container, drizzle on a layer of salted caramel. Use more or less caramel to suit your personal taste. Pour the remaining ice cream over the caramel. You can gently swirl the caramel into the ice cream but I prefer to leave the layers as is. This will result in a nice swirl when you drag a scoop across the ice cream to serve. Seal the container with an airtight lid and chill in the freezer for 4 hours or until ready to serve.

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