I recently discovered the Stone Ridge brand on a trip to a supermarket I don’t tend to frequent, and having enjoyed their Caramel Cheesecake quite a bit, I was excited to dig into my carton of Caramel Praline Sundae. The description alone is quite a mouthful: “nutty flavored ice cream with milk chocolate covered praline pecans and a caramel swirl.” With all those elements combined into a single flavor, I figured this one was either going to be a big-time success or a major failure. Fortunately, as was the case with Caramel Cheesecake, Stone Ridge got Caramel Praline Sundae just right.
When I popped open the carton, I was immediately psyched to find that caramel swirl peeking out on top of the nutty-flavored base. And it didn’t take much digging to find the first of many chocolate-covered praline pecans. As someone who really appreciates generosity on the mix-in front, I’m happy to say that Stone Ridge definitely lived up to my expectations with this flavor. The praline pecans are abundant, and while very sweet on their own, they combine with the base nicely to enhance its nutty flavor.
Now let’s talk about that base for a minute. I have to say, I was skeptical about it based on the “nutty flavored” description. I mean, it’s kind of tricky to pull off a nut-flavored ice cream. I had many questions floating through my mind as I scooped out my first bowl: Would it be a glorified version of vanilla? Would it simply combine with the caramel to give off a dulce de leche-type taste? But once I actually sampled the ice cream, I was very pleasantly surprised. The base actually tastes nutty, and not in an overpowering way, but in a downright interesting, unusual way. I’d almost describe the flavor as praline meets brown butter with a dose of caramel—which, to me, is not a bad thing at all.
Of course, the presence of the caramel swirl gives the base a really nice boost. And the praline pecans add yet another satisfying layer of flavor while also incorporating a really solid crunch. There are very few offerings I’ve seen that have managed to pull off taste, contrast, and uniqueness for only 160 calories per serving, so props to Stone Ridge for nailing the trifecta without making me feel like a giant pig in the process.
If I were to ding this ice cream on anything, it would actually be that I found it a little too sweet at times. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if a vanilla base would’ve served this flavor a bit better. Yes, we’d lose the quirkiness and distinctiveness of that awesome nutty base, but the sweetness factor would've probably come down a notch—which, depending on your tolerance, could be a good thing. I tend to enjoy really sweet desserts but don’t like it when ice cream leaves me thirsty, and I’ll admit that at one point I was tempted to wash this stuff down with a bit of milk. But overall, I truly enjoyed the combination of ingredients this flavor offered up, and if I spot it again, I’ll definitely be picking up another carton.
Where Mo Found It: Acme
Mo's Grade: B