Friday, November 28, 2014

Things To Be Grateful For

For the Thanksgiving holiday, I made Chocolate Ice Cream and Honey Thyme Ice Cream. Do you know how there are moments where you want everything to be perfect? Well, this is how I felt about debuting my ice cream to my family. Unfortunately, the ice cream was sub par. The flavors were good (which I guess counts the most), but the consistency was off. I have two theories on why this could be. The first is that I normally make small batches of ice cream and leave the ice cream churner in the freezer for about a week before churning my ice cream. As there were going to be 12 people at our Thanksgiving dinner, I needed to make much larger batches of ice cream. Since my ice cream churner holds only up to 2 quarts of ice cream at a time, I had to make the ice cream in batches over a couple days. As such, the ice cream churner was in the freezer for less than 24 hours at a time. This could have affected the texture of the ice cream. The second possibility is that my ice cream maker may be broken. It seemed like the actual churning part of the ice cream maker was not churning as much as it could be. I will keep experimenting over the next couple weeks to see which of these possibilities is more likely. If it is the ice cream maker, I will have to buy a new one, so be on the lookout for a blog about the pros and cons of different ice cream makers over the next couple weeks.

Despite all my ice cream woes, the ice cream was still a hit! The Honey Thyme Ice Cream was the favorite of the day, with no left-overs at all. I am so grateful that I could spend the day eating and being merry with such wonderful people and family. Instead of my usual ice cream recipe, I am posting a list.

The things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:
My husband
My family (parents, sister, extended family and in-laws)
My friends
My dog
Having a warm house to come home to everyday
Having enough food to eat
Living in peace
Having a job that allows me to pay the bills and put clothes on my back and still allows me time to pursue my other interests, such as ice cream making
Ice Cream
My life experiences
My education

Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on.

Sweet Cream Take 2

Since I have been trying to improve the consistency of my ice cream, I decided to do a redo on my sweet cream ice cream. There were two reasons for this. First, sweet cream ice cream is a good base off of which to build other flavors. I want to make sure I have a base that both both tastes good AND has a good consistency, as I start to design other flavors. The second reason is that it was my husband's birthday and he loves sweet cream ice cream. Rather than making a cake, I decided to make some sweet cream ice cream. In order to gain a better consistency than I did my first time around, I turned to my trusted source, Bon Appetit magazine, and made sure to use plenty of egg yolks as stabilizers.

Sweet Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream (Courtesy of Bon Appetit)

1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod or add vanilla extract. Bring mixture just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. If using vanilla bean, cover; let sit 30 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in ½ cup warm cream mixture. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, 2–3 minutes.

Strain custard into a medium bowl set over a bowl of ice water; let cool, stirring occasionally. Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container; cover. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week.

Note: In order to make the sweet cream ice cream, I left out the vanilla. My husband loved the ice cream. Sweet cream and Honey Thyme are competing for first place in his mind.

Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin Ice Cream

This weekend I was invited to a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Potluck at my friend's house. What did I bring? Ice cream, of course! Since it is Thanksgiving, I decided to try to be somewhat seasonal, especially as I would already be serving ice cream in November. I was slightly nervous about debuting my ice cream to a large group of people. So far, it has been primarily only my husband and I eating my ice cream. Still, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try and make a pumpkin flavored ice cream.

Alexander McCream Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream (courtesy of epicurious)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
drop of vanilla extract

Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let boil.
Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, fill a sink halfway with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the refrigerator.
Put the pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla extract, remaining sugar into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add to the chilled custard and whisk well. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn 
according to the manufacturer's instructions.
When the churning is completed, use a spoon or spatula 
to scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with 
a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).

I am not a huge pumpkin flavored person. I do not wait year around for the pumpkin latte season, but I thought this ice cream was pretty good. My husband said it reminded him of a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks. More importantly, people other than my husband (who has to say my ice cream is good) actually thought it was good. One guest asked where the ice cream came from, as well as for seconds. I was proud to think that perhaps he had thought the ice cream was store bought. I would definitely rate this ice cream a success, so if you need a Thanksgiving dessert, it's not too late to try this one now.
Enjoy the pumpkin latte season everybody!
Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on!

Honey Thyme Ice Cream

Depending on your tastes, honey thyme ice cream may either sound like a complete disaster or a rather interesting culinary experience. I was in an adventurous mood, so I was leaning towards the later while bracing myself for the former. For once, my adventurous spirit paid off. Honey and Thyme is my favorite ice cream flavor yet.

Honey and Thyme Ice Cream (courtesy of Bon Appetit)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
15 large fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried thyme)
8 (2 x 1/2-inch) strips lemon peel (yellow part only)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep 2 hours.

Whisk eggs and sugar in medium bowl. Add honey to cream mixture. Simmer over medium heat, stirring until honey dissolves. Gradually whisk cream mixture into egg mixture. Return custard to same pan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens enough to coat spoon and thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Strain into clean bowl; whisk in vanilla. Cover; chill until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to bowl, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

I loved this ice cream, as did my husband. He said it was favorite ice cream yet, even beating out the sweet cream ice cream. Believe me, this is no easy feat. It is so good that I have been requested to make it for Thanksgiving dinner, which will be the ultimate test of its tastiness. For those of you wondering what it tastes like, it reminds me vaguely of the Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun. Perhaps because there is honey in both dishes. If you are really curious about what it tastes like though, just make it. Words cannot do this ice cream justice.

Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on.

Egg Yolks Galore

Despite not blogging for awhile, I have actually been busy experimenting with ice cream making. Over this time, I have found egg yolks make a huge difference in the texture of an ice cream. They definitely act as a natural stabilizer (see my previous post on what a stabilizer is). As a result, the ice cream holds its consistency a little bit more and does not melt as fast. You need a minimum of two egg yolks and can often use as many as six egg yolks. In general, I would say the more egg yolks you use the better. Hence the blog title.

I have also found that Bon Appetit offers not only wonderful ice cream recipes, but wonderful ice cream making advice in general. For those of you seeking tips on improving your ice cream or just curious about the ice cream making process in general, I recommend checking out this article: Common Ice Cream Mistakes - And How To Avoid Them.

For my ice cream flavor this week, I made a Bon Appetit classic. You will notice it contains plenty of egg yolks and had a great consistency.

Brown Sugar Balsamic Swirl Ice Cream (courtesy of Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine heavy whipping cream, whole milk, and 1/2 cup sugar in heavy large saucepan. Bring cream mixture to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, whisk yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl until very thick, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and thermometer inserted into custard registers 180°F, about 3 minutes (do not boil). Strain custard into large bowl set over another bowl of ice and water. Cool custard completely, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Cover and chill overnight.

Boil balsamic vinegar in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Cool syrup in pan.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. When ice cream is done, spoon in balsamic syrup and churn 3 to 4 seconds longer to swirl. Transfer ice cream to container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

I liked this ice cream. The vinegar was a nice balance for the sweetness of the brown sugar and the egg yolks gave the ice cream itself a great texture.

Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on.