There’s few things more patriotic than peanuts and Cracker Jacks. So how about a modern day twist, in the freezer of course! We caught up with an ice cream entrepreneur who is setting a new standard for frozen treats in the Midwest. And truly speaking, anything that freezes catches our eye!

The story of Tamara Keefe began similar to ours- a simple discovery that started in a garage. You know our story: we figured out how to keep food cold. But for Tamara, her mother discovered a $2 at-home churner at a garage sale. You see they grew up poor in both southern California and Denver, so when other families stopped for ice cream every Sunday after church, Tamara didn’t. Eventually she and her mom learned to do it themselves with that little churner.   

That family activity quickly spiraled into a neighborhood gathering, and fast forward to present day now Tamara is spreading those ideas at Clementine’s, the first and only microcreamery in the Midwest.

A destination that’s all about the experience of creating memories through happy ice cream, Clementine’s boasts all-natural, decadent flavors of naughty (boozy) and nice (alcohol-free) ice cream. All of the small-batch ice cream is handcrafted at their 5,000 square foot ice cream kitchen in St. Louis.  Many of the candies, sauces, cakes and cookies that go into the ice cream are also made from scratch. Known for her exotic food creations, Tamara sources from all over the world, tapping local resources along with celebrated ingredients like Mike’s Hot Honey in Brooklyn and Amarena cherries from Italy. Signature flavors include Tommy’s Toffee Butter Brickle (based on Tamara’s mom’s recipe) and Maple Bourbon (for the adult crowd).  They also have a trade secret process for infusing wine, spirits, and locally brewed beers into their boozy ice cream creations at up to 18%.

Lucky us, Tamara decided to share one of her best recipes:


Salted Crack Caramel Ice Cream  

Cracker Candy

  • Saltines – About 20
  • Ritz Crackers – About 20
  • Pretzel Crackers – About 20
  • 1 Cup butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 8oz chocolate chips (1 & 1/3cup)

Scratch-made Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup cream
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or fluer de sel

Ice Cream Base

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 14 cups heavy cream
  • 23 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 14 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened


To save time in the kitchen, we suggest to make the cracker candy first, followed by the caramel and then finally the ice cream base.

To make the crack candy:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Line cookie sheet with foil and butter lightly
  • Checkerboard crackers, salt side down, on sheet
  • In saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar until it runs caramel in color (just a few minutes.
  • Pour over crackers, covering evenly.
  • Bake 3-5 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and cover w/ chocolate chips. When they are melted, spread the chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt flakes and place in freezer or refrigerator.
  • Once frozen or cool, break into pieces. Allow to cool prior to seeding the ice cream.

To make the caramel:

  • Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved, until it is dark amber. Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.
  • Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Otherwise you may use 2 ¼ cups of a store bought liquid caramel to add to your base if you prefer. Just don’t forget to add the fluer de sel!

To make the ice cream base:

  • In a bowl, stir together 14 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.
  • In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Place softened cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 14 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture, and caramel sauce.
  • Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled. Transfer to your TRUE refrigerator and let rest for 24 hours.
  • Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Once complete, take handfuls of crack candy and seed into your ice cream as you are putting it into your freezer container. Save some pieces for the top to garnish!

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