The Michelangelo Milkshake
(For almond pralines)
* 4 tbsp butter, divided
* ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
* ¾ cup granulated sugar
* ¾ cup half and half
* 2 cups coarse chopped almonds
* ¾ tsp. vanilla
* ¼ tsp. almond extract
* 8 ounces vanilla ice cream
* 2 ounces ( ¼ cup) almond paste or high quality marzipan
* 1/3 cup milk
* 3 ounces praline candies
* whipped cream and coarsely chopped almonds (for garnish)
1) To make pralines, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, sugar, brown sugar, and half-and-half and stir until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add almonds. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 238ºF. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened, then drop by heaping teaspoons onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pralines should settle into smooth mounds; if the syrup is too thin, stir a little longer. Let cool until set. Extra pralines will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
2) To prepare milkshakes, scoop ice cream into the canister of a blender. Add almond paste, pralines, and milk. Blend on medium-low speed until smooth. Add more milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Divide among chilled glasses. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and chopped almonds, as desired.