January 15, 2015

Ice cream experiments ()

by fluffy at 3:40 PM

A while ago I tried making ice cream using the salad-spinner approach. This did not work well, so I ended up buying an ice cream maker. I've made plenty of experiments with it so far; here's some of what I've done.

White chocolate almond milk with cacao nibs

My first experiment was just making an almond milk custard base (with a mixture of almond milk and heavy cream and a few egg yolks — nothing vegan here) and melting in some white chocolate, and then churning it with cacao nibs. I learned that almond milk does not make a very good ice cream base (it crystalizes too much), and cacao nibs, while an excellent ice cream topping, are horrible as an ice cream addition.

Various semi-savory sorbets

For Thanksgiving I made two semi-savory fruit sorbets; one of them was rosemary-grapefruit and the other was cranberry-orange.

For the rosemary-grapefruit I just took grapefruit juice and boiled it with rosemary and honey, and then cooled it before churning. It came out tasting pretty good, but the grapefruit bitterness was a bit too much. Also I felt like it had a bit of a slimy throat-coating texture.

For cranberry-orange I made highly-concentrated orange spice herbal tea (the same thing I use to make my herbal tea soda) and added some cranberry juice, and then boiled that down a little. That one came out pretty good, but I didn't have enough sugar to keep it from forming large ice crystals. I added a little vodka and re-churned it, and that improved the texture a lot.

Experimental use-up-some-ingredients crap

I had some soy milk, heavy cream, and iced coffee sitting around that I didn't want to go to waste, so I made ice cream out of it. It was terrible, mostly because I decided to add some lemon extract, but ended up adding way too much so it tasted like floor cleaner. PROTIP: use an eyedropper to measure out SMALL amounts of lemon extract.

Lemon chocolate chip yogurt

I originally set out to make mint chocolate chip, but after I made the custard base (with 200mL each of plain yogurt and heavy cream, and 200 grams of sugar), the base tasted tart enough that I figured mint wouldn't go well with it. But lemon would! So I whisked it up real good, then added three drops of lemon extract, and the juice and zest of a large lemon. I churned it with chocolate chips. Of all the ice creams I've made so far, this one set up the quickest, and also had by far the best texture and flavor. Highly recommended.

Future experiments

Things I want to try down the road:

  • Oolong tea sorbet (both with and without lemon)
  • Savory vegetable sorbets as a topping to an entree, such as chard or green peas
  • Mint chocolate chip, or cookies and mint creme
  • Chipotle chocolate (possibly with cinnamon as well)
  • Various herbs infused into heavy cream and turned into ice cream that way (and not all of those herbs would necessarily start with a trip to Uncle Ike's)
  • Lime mint (which some would call a "mojito")


#16901 Ostrich 01/16/2015 06:18 pm
    I've never heard of the 'salad spinner' method. All I've ever used is the old-fashioned bucket and can machines, where you turn the crank to make the scraper rotate. There's something quite satisfying about cranking away on that thing and getting icy saltwater all over the porch on a hot day.
    #16902 fluffy 01/16/2015 06:48 pm
      I had mentioned the salad spinner method over on Schadenfood when the forum was working (before it got overrun by spam). Basically you just put a bag of your custard inside another bag filled with ice and rock salt, and then put all that in a salad spinner and then spin it for 20 minutes or so. The centrifugal force pulls the liquid outward to get frozen, and the whole thing gets convection-churned.

      But my salad spinner sucks and my arms are weak so I never got anything from it.