Monday, May 4, 2009

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.

I was in Kroger yesterday, my favorite grocery store because it's so ridiculously cheap. They frequently put red and yellow "manager's specials" stickers on highly perishable things close to their expiration date thus making them even cheaper. For example, on many occasions, I have picked up a 4 oz log of goat cheese for 99 cents, four dollars less than full price. Word. Tofu for 99 cents a week before the expiration date. Same with lettuces, other cheeses, and the list goes on.

Peeps, I would swear it's already like a hundred degrees here. Yesterday, I bought a half gallon of 1% milk for 75 cents. You know what that means, don't you? Yup. Ice cream. Or more specifically, ice milk. I also bought a pint of heavy cream. I mixed the cream with five cups of milk. I added enough sugar to make it sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe a cup? I mixed it until the sugar was dissolved and included a tablespoon of vanilla extract. I split it in half to make two batches, strawberry and chocolate chip. I simply followed the instructions for my ice cream maker. About thirty minutes in the frozen bowl is enough. Once the ice cream is about doubled in volume, I add it to a 2 QT container and mix in the strawberries. I gave my strawberries a quick whiz with the ol' stick blender, so they were pretty soupy. Normally you should add the "add ins" during the last couple spins in the mixer, but the ice cream had grown considerably and the strawberries were quite juicy, so I mixed them in the container. I found these great plastic containers at Kroger that are the same size and shape as a paper ice cream container. I am impatiently waiting on the ice cream to set up a bit more before I dive right in. My long and rambling point is...I have 4 QTs of homemade ice cream for about $2.00. How can you beat that? Everyone needs an ice cream maker. It doesn't take up much room in the kitchen. They aren't too expensive. You can also use them to make frozen drinks too! I have a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream-Sorbet Maker.

If you choose to get one, and I highly suggest you do, here are some rules to which you should strictly adhere. Everything else is completely negotiable. In no particular order:

-Shoot for a two quart batch. If you're adding something in, decrease your milk/cream/dairy/soy/etc product accordingly. In other words, instead of using eight cups of milk, add two cups of fruit and use six cups of milk. Remember that this milk mix is going to grow in volume significantly.

-I find that adding corn syrup to a sorbet makes it scoopable. Otherwise, it seems to turn into a Popsicle. Some kind of a liquid sugar would work, in as small as a 1:4 ratio of liquid sugar:granulated sugar. I'll bet honey or maple syrup would work. Maple syrup would be excellent in a blueberry sorbet. (Oooh, I'll have to try that.)

-You really can add anything to ice cream. One of my personal favorites is the hard, over cooked edges of brownies chopped up. They really hold up well in ice cream. Add fruit, cookie dough, brownies, candy, marshmallows, the sky's the limit.

-Keep your mixing bowl in the freezer. That way you know it'll be good and cold when you're ready. My ice cream maker came with two mixing bowls. One is always in the freezer. If your bowl isn't extra extra cold, you can forget about making ice cream. Trust me on this one.

-If you want to be all fancy-schmancy and make a custard ice cream (the cooked kind with eggs), make it a day ahead of time. The milk mix needs to be very cold when it goes into the very cold mixing bowl.

-Turn on the mixer and pour in the mixture. Not the other way around. What happens is the part of the milk mix that touches the bowl freezes.

-When adding mix-ins, add them when the milk mix is set in the bowl. Give it a spin or two then turn out into your container. To be honest, I've always had a tough time getting my chocolate or caramel ribbon to look like Breyer's. If you figure it out, holla.


peewee said...

you are just too smart...for REAL! Can we be neighbors someday? so i can eat all the things you make?

Meg said...

C'mon over! I just made chocolate chip.

FoxyMoron said...

We love our gadgets here, we have heaps, breadmaker, capuccino maker, hot dog maker, pizza oven, slow cooker, deep fryer and the list goes on. I am so getting an ice cream maker next Summer, what a great idea! Your ice cream sounds heavenly, just what you need in that hot weather.