Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ice Cream

It’s been a little bit…well, maybe a long bit….since I posted.  Summer has arrived and as a stay at home mom, that means my days are filled now with keeping an 11 year old busy.  My posts may be few and far between over the next couple of months but I am still here and will be more active with the blog once the fall arrives when I don’t feel so badly sitting in front of a computer instead of hanging with my boy.

For now, I give you ice cream.

It’s a long story as to how I came to buy an ice cream maker.  I essentially bought it to save money and to make my own low fat ice cream creations. 

Two problems with that. 

1.      It’s expensive to make your own ice cream.
2.      Low fat, homemade ice cream tastes terrible.

So the thing sat in my cupboard for about 10 years, getting no use at all.  Last year I pulled it out, sucked it up and made a couple batches of ice cream that defied the reasons why I bought an ice cream maker in the first place.  I spent the money and calories on the ingredients and made some pretty decent ice cream.

This year I pulled the thing back out when I had mistakenly bought a half gallon of whole milk…I thought I was grabbing chocolate.  I don’t usually buy whole milk so I saw it as an opportunity to make something with it.  After years of using skim, whole milk is just not appealing to us for drinking so I had to do something with it as I did not want to waste it.

I knew I had seen a recipe for chocolate ice cream using only whole milk but when it came time to find it, I couldn’t.  In my inbox sits a “recipe” folder.  This is where I put emails from the blogs and recipe sites I follow that I would like to someday make.  Today it has 710 emails in it.  I am a recipe hoarder and I need help.  Therefore, I could not find what I was looking for…even after doing a search in that folder alone.

I started hunting online for a replacement recipe.  I found one that looked promising.  It had 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk in it.  Ah-ha.  I knew I had some stashed in my cabinets from holiday baking that I never got around to using.  As long as the date was still good on it, I’d used that.  I found 1 can of it and while the date was still good, it was only 1 can.

Back to the searching.  I found a recipe but it sounded horrible.  Cornstarch Ice Cream.  Told ya.  Doesn’t that conjure up images of powdery goo?  Well, it did for me but once I started looking more into, it seemed this recipe was onto something.  You could use cream, half and half, or any type of milk.  A variation I found showed even using coconut milk.  Yay.  I had everything for it and people liked it.  Now, I just had to figure out how to do chocolate.  The original recipe I had in mind was chocolate and that is what I wanted.   With a little looking I found a couple recipes that used the basics of this one with the addition of either cocoa or melted chocolate.  And so it was, I made my ice cream.  It was good.  It was very good considering the nature of the ingredients.  The next day I made vanilla and we put berries into it.  The vanilla was good too.  I used my Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste in it so it had lovely black specs in it.  Had I finally found ice cream that didn’t cost a lot to make and wasn’t as bad for me as the more typical kinds made with cream?  Yeah, I think I did.

Here is a picture of some I made the other day.  It’s chocolate with organic unsweetened flaked coconut and chopped Marcona almonds.  Never mind my bad photography skills.  It’s something I’m still working on and I have to admit, I’ve been itching to blog this since I discovered it and just wanted to get a somewhat in-focus picture…nothing fancy, just one to show what it looks like.

Here are the links to everything I used to get this stuff made.  I used the New York Times recipe as stated to make the vanilla.  For the chocolate I had found 2 recipes, only one of which I bookmarked.  I took the two chocolate as well as the original vanilla and did my own thing after comparing them all.  I will update the blog if I do come across the other chocolate one again.  Goodness knows, I looked and looked for it this afternoon...I did want to link it and give it credit for the inspiration.

Here is what I did for my own chocolate:

2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp vanilla extract

As for how to make this chocolate version...I used the instructions for the NYT vanilla ice cream.  When the base was done cooking, I put the 2 tsp of vanilla in and stirred in the chocolate chips until they were melted.  I then continued to follow the NYT instructions.

If you are adding anything chunky to the ice cream, fold it in after it has been churned and then turn it into the container you will store it in while in the freezer.

Here are some notes about the ingredients I used:

Organic Whole Milk
I had originally bought Horizon Organic that day when I picked up the wrong type of milk.  For the coconut batch I used BJs in-house brand of organic whole milk.  Even though organic milk costs more than non-organic, it’s still way less than buying whole cream.

I used regular white (non-organic) sugar but I may change that.  Recently BJs has started to carry organic sugar.  I’ve had it in my hands a couple times but have always put it back on the shelf.  I think though, if they still have it when I go again, that I will buy it for my ice cream making.

I had Argo brand on hand the day I made this for the first time.  I knew it was likely ripe with GMO corn but I used it anyway.  I had bought it way before I made my discoveries and since it’s something I hardly use, I had a ton of it.  As I realized this would be a recipe that I make again and again, I decided to see if I could find organic cornstarch…I knew that would probably be the only way to know for sure that I was not using GMO corn.  I did find organic cornstarch at Whole Foods and of course it was about 3x the price of Argo but I bought it anyway.  The funny thing is, Whole Foods had Argo sitting right next to the organic as well as another common brand whose name escapes me right now.  I have to see if Argo is non-GMO but I have a feeling it is not, I know that there have been some protests of Whole Foods due to them letting some GMO products in.  I still love them though.  I know I’m very fortunate to have one near me with all the “better” choices that they do still provide.  I have emailed Argo asking them about the GMO thing and will post the response on Court Street Kitchen's Facebook page.

I used Nestle semi-sweet chips, again, because it’s what I had on hand the first time I made it.  As I continue to make chocolate ice cream, I will definitely be upping the quality of the chocolate.

That’s about it.  I think this is a great recipe because it makes homemade ice cream more do-able for us.  I don’t have to go out to buy anything special for it.  When I want ice cream, I just have to make sure my churning bowl is frozen and trust me, that’s enough of a challenge for me let alone having to make a special trip just to get everything I need for a recipe.  You can add whatever you want to this ice cream to make it your own.  I am loving my coconut almond variation and I have a million ideas in mind for future batches.  The possibilities with these base recipes are endless and I love that…whatever you are in the mood for can be easily done.   I am off now to enjoy a little bowl of frozen coco-nutty-almond goodness and to ponder my next variation.
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