Whiskey Raisin Crunch

It all started with rum raisin ice cream. A few weeks ago, I learned that rum raisin is a popular ice cream flavor in Japan, and because I found this to be an interesting fact, I’ve been thinking about this ever since. Having never tried rum raisin ice cream before, nor seen it at the grocery store or ice cream counter, I was intrigued.  I decided it was a flavor from another era, because when I did ask some folks about it, they said, “Oh yeah! Rum raisin ice cream!” like they were recalling a fond memory from long ago.  If rum raisin was something familiar, and yet, something that hadn’t been around in a while, I was bringing it back. Continue reading

Well that’s just peachy: Ice cream machine update

It’s official. I’ve gone overboard with the ice cream maker. Since stealing the machine from my brother-in-law, I’ve made banana ice cream, mango ice cream, vanilla ice cream, peach ice cream, and blueberry frozen yogurt within a two-week period. I feared this would happen (you can read about my attempts to postpone the inevitable in my first ice cream making experience here).  

All this ice cream making comes with some lessons learned. See this conversation between me and Jan:  

Anna: Try the fresh peach ice cream I made!  

Jan: I really like frozen yogurt (said while taking a bite of peach ice cream).  

A: What do you think?  

J: It’s good. I like sherbet too.  

A: But what about the ice cream?  

J: Do you think you could make frozen yogurt? What about sorbet?  

A: The ice cream! The ice scream!  

J: It’s good.  

A: Hmpf!  

J: How do you make frozen yogurt? I used to love TCBY yogurt. I would get vanilla with gummy bears when I was a kid.  

You can see things went downhill quickly. After I got over my bruised feelings and Jan and I were back to rational conversation mode, we determined that he was dissatisfied with the consistency of the ice cream, not the taste. In my efforts to make “healthier” ice cream with lowfat milk and half & half instead of cream, I ended up with a lighter texture ice cream. I thought it was pretty darn good, light and refreshing, in fact.  

But Jan said when he hears the term ice cream, he thinks Häagen-Dazs. But I’ll need some extra-fat-fortified cream to end up with Häagen-Dazs creamyness and texture, I tried to explain to him, quoting from the Cuisinart product manual:  

You may substitute lower fat creams (e.g. half and half) and milk (reduced fat or lowfat) for heavy cream and whole milk used in many recipes. However, keep in mind that the higher the fat content, the richer and creamier the result. Using lower fat substitutes may change the taste, consistency and texture of the dessert. When substituting, be sure to use the same volume of the substitute as you would have used of the original item. For example, if the recipe calls for two cups of cream, use a total of two cups of the substitute (such as 1 cup cream, 1 cup whole milk).  

Jan said he thought the peach ice cream was good, but hearing the word “ice cream” had set him up for different experience than what he got. I see now why those clever marketers came up with the murky sounding “frozen dessert” label for lower fat frozen treats. So it’s all about the expectations you set. This recipe has been adapted from Cuisinart’s product manual, which features the creamy, full-fat recipe.  

Peach “ice cream”  

1 pint pureed fresh peaches  

1/2 cup sugar 1 cup lowfat milk (I used 1%)  

2 cups half & half  

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

 

Peaches ready to go

Directions  

Peel and slice peaches and process in a food processor, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar into the milk until combined. Add the half & half and vanilla extract and combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and turn on, leaving for about 20 minutes.  

Pour the peaches in during the last five minutes of processing in the ice cream machine (and don’t forget about it like I did here or it will probably overflow). Ice cream will be of soft-serve consistency, and for harder ice cream, freeze for several hours in the freezer. Note: because of the lower fat content, once the ice cream has set in the freezer, it will need to sit out on the countertop for about 10 minutes before serving to become scoopable.  

 

Don't forget to set a timer

Coming soon: blueberry frozen yogurt (and yes, Jan liked it!)

Danger! Ice Cream Machine in the House

For a while, people have been asking me if I would like an ice cream machine. Perhaps they were in search of finding a kitchen-gadget-gift for Jan and me that we didn’t already own, or they sensed my great love for all things sinfully sweet, frozen, and unhealthy. In any case, I always responded with a polite no. An ice cream maker was the last thing we needed, creating containers full of fresh, homemade goodness only to tempt me into overindulging. Well, all this changed when I recently watched an episode of Good Eats in which Alton Brown made the most delicious looking banana ice cream I’d ever seen. I quickly decided to throw all rules out the window and commandeer the ice cream machine of Jan’s younger brother Adam, which I determined he was using far too infrequently to miss.

For a few weeks, I stashed perfectly ripe bananas into the freezer one at a time. When I had collected about six of them, it was finally time. After letting them thaw for a while at room temperature, it was time to begin the process outlined in recipe below. The end result was an amazingly creamy and rich ice cream. While the color was more subtle than I’d expected (more the color of vanilla bean ice cream than the bright yellow I’d anticipated), the flavor was bold and delicious. With one successful ice cream experiment under my belt, now I’m ready to branch out and try some other flavors. I even purchased a half-gallon container of Half and Half at Costco in preparation, though I think my next attempt will replace some of the cream with low-fat milk for some slightly healthier varieties. I hear that the less fat added to the ice cream, the less creamy and smooth it will be, though I’ll probably make up for it with all the crumbled Oreos and marshmallows when I experiment with cookies & cream and rocky road.

Creamy Banana Ice Cream

6 ripe bananas

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions

Place bananas in the freezer ahead of time, at least overnight. Remove bananas and let thaw for about 45 minutes to an hour. Peel bananas and place into food processor, along with lemon juice. Pulse for about 15 seconds. Add corn syrup and vanilla and turn the food processor on. Slowly add the cream and process until smooth. Place in a container in the freezer and allow the temperature to get to 40 degrees F. Put the mixture into an ice cream maker and process for about 20 minutes. Place into an airtight container in the freezer and allow to harden several hours before serving.