Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Persimmon and Pepper

Rating: ***
Nickname: "Persimmon to Drool"

This recipe from Epicurious uses crushed black pepper, boiled up in some sugar water. Along with a bunch of fresh persimmons, there's only about a cup of actual cream. I was worried it would turn out a bit icy, but it's actually okay. It has a slightly more gooey-fruity texture to it than regular ice cream, though. I think the peppery bits are kind of fun, but they can be a bit strong if you get too much at once.

We made this recipe mostly as written, but with an extra 1/4 c. of sugar because it didn't seem very sweet, and an extra persimmon just for the heck of it. Most fruit recipes I've done involve mashing the fruit up with some extra sugar first, but this one didn't.

Anyway, it was good, though I'm also tempted to just do a regular, sweet ice cream with persimmons. Maybe with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg or something.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carrot Cake

Rating: ****
Nickname: "The Carrot and the Stick"

I made a couple batches of ice cream for my moving day last weekend, as an incentive for the lovely friends and family who helped out. One was chai, a known favorite, and the other was Cheryl's suggestion for carrot cake ice cream, for which we used this recipe from the LA Times. The only modifications we made were not soaking the currants in whiskey, and adding 1/2 cup of milk (since we were that much short on the sour cream).

The candied pecans were extremely tasty, and had the most effect on the overall flavor. The cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon in the base made it more reminiscent of cheesecake than carrot cake, but I don't mind that at all, since cheesecake is awesome. The carrots themselves didn't actually come through very much in the taste, strangely enough (even with 2 cups of them). We had grated them, rather than dicing, thinking smaller would be better for going into ice cream. But maybe having slightly larger chunks would have been better. Still, the ice cream as a whole is very good, and very interesting, since there's so much going on in it.

One thing to note about making ice cream with so much cream cheese and sour cream in it: the base is so thick that it doesn't churn very well on its own. (You can see how thick it is in this photo, before it's even frozen, when we're just trying to pour it.) It very quickly seizes up into a giant lump in the middle and then just sits there. But luckily, this recipe has a lot of add-ins, so we just added those sooner rather than later, and that loosened in up enough to churn properly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dragon Fruit

Rating: *****
Nickname: +20 Against Dragon Attacks

Cheryl and John were in Miami last week and brought back a lot of dragon fruit. I'd never seen it before, and it's neat stuff. Once you peel off the "scales," the inside looks like a hot pink kiwi, though the taste is sweet and not so acidic. I found an easy ice cream recipe for it at The Gourmet Mama, so Cheryl and I made a batch to take to our gaming group tonight.

We used 4 dragon fruits, but I think they may have been smaller than the Gourmet Mama's, since the ice cream didn't come out quite as intensely pink. (We didn't measure the actual amount once it was mashed, to compare for sure.) But it still tastes absolutely delicious. It makes me think of strawberries and cream, though that's probably because my brain doesn't really know the taste of dragon fruit well, so it latches on to the nearest approximation. The kiwi-like seeds give it little crunches, but in an enjoyable, unobtrusive way.

If you ever find yourself in possession of some dragon fruit, make this ice cream. It's awesome.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Rating: *****

This flavor is from The Perfect Scoop, via Herbivoracious (where you can get the recipe). I used Bartlett pears from the Palo Alto Farmers Market, four of them instead of three, since they were pretty small. The "caramel" part comes in when you melt all the sugar and cook the chopped-up pear in it for a while, which is pretty fun.

I tend to think of pears as tasting good but not being particularly powerful, so this ice cream surprised me with how strong the flavor was. Very impressive. I also like how it retains some of the pear texture, even though there are no actual pear pieces left in it. (The "puree" setting on my blender got rid of all those, so I skipped the step in the recipe about pressing it all through a strainer.)

As a complement to the ice cream, I made plain oatmeal cookies -- no raisins, chocolate chips, or anything. That made an excellent pear-ing, if you'll excuse the pun (or even if you won't).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fudge Buttermilk

Rating: ***1/2

I had gotten some buttermilk recently to make pancakes. Since Safeway doesn't sell buttermilk in less than a quart, I had a fair amount left over. However, I had recently found a recipe for Fudge Buttermilk ice cream in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Homemade Ice Cream, so I decided to try it and find out why one might want to make ice cream with buttermilk.

Since there's 2 cups of buttermilk in the recipe, it has quite a sour taste, which makes an interesting contrast with the chocolate and the sugar. I don't think I care for the sourness as much as when I made brown sugar sour cream ice cream, but it's good, and makes you pay attention rather than just gobbling it down. I also noticed an interesting effect, which is that in the first split second of any given bite, it actually tastes rather like coffee. Then the sourness kicks in and takes over, but you can do it again on the next bite. I guess chocolate + sour ≈ coffee?

I did, however, decide at the last minute to add in a cup of mini chocolate chips, just to give the chocolate side a bit of a leg up in the deal.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Avocado Coconut

Rating: ***

Avocado Coconut Puree This recipe started off here at, and I decided to add a little more texture and coconut with a 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut. Also, we couldn't find the coconut cream that the recipe called for, so we combined 3/4 c. coconut milk and 1/3 c. coconut butter, on the assumption that the dairy conversion on this handy page would work well enough. (Another option I considered would have been to just swap coconut milk for the regular milk, and regular cream for the coconut cream.)

Chips and Ice Cream Dip The end result certainly goes on the list of more "interesting" ice creams I've made. I don't think it was sweet enough, and would want to add more sugar, though Cheryl thinks it's good this way. However, it gets much better if you eat it on tortilla chips, like cold guacamole. Sounds wacky, but it works as long as your brain doesn't go on strike trying to combine concepts like that. (Mine kinda does.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

White Peach Blueberry

Rating: ****1/2
Nickname: "Sax on the Peach"

I happened to get some excellent blueberries and some pretty good white peaches from Trader Joe's the other day, so this flavor combo pretty much just sprang up, unpremeditated, when I felt like making something yesterday. The Ben & Jerry's book has the same recipe for blueberry and peach ice creams, so I just did that and split the fruit 50/50 between the two. That meant a cup of each, mashed up with lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar and let to sit for a while. Then the juice goes into a sweet cream base and the fruit gets added at the end of the freezing cycle.

The slight extra bit I added was a dash of cinnamon, which was an excellent idea, if I do say so myself. I'd probably even do a bit more next time.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Rating: ****
Nickname: A Remedy of Lychees

This is a flavor that's been on my "to-try" list for a while now, though I can't remember what the original inspiration was. Mountain View Market on Castro St. carries canned lychees, though, so I finally got some of those and made this recipe from ma'ona. It's pretty good, though I think I actually prefer the straight ice cream part, since the fruit is kind of chewy, even when diced up small. Also, once it's fully frozen, the ice cream is kind of flaky, and harder to scoop out. I'm thinking that might be because there's less dairy and so much of the lychee syrup in it. But still, if you like lychees, it's pretty tasty, and that's the main thing.

[Note: I hear "lychee" pronounced different ways, but I like to say "lee-chee," for better punning with "leeches."]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nutella and Chocolate

Rating: ****

It's been an entire month since I last made ice cream, which is far too long for summertime. And Sunday was even National Ice Cream Day, but I guess I didn't miss that by too much. I made this ice cream last night for Lacey's last California dinner party before she moves away.

For the basic nutella part, I just used this recipe from Carrie's Sweet Life. Then I smashed up a 4 oz. bar of bittersweet chocolate with a hammer and threw it in at the end. Pretty simple, and pretty tasty.

It did come out exceedingly sweet, though, so next time I'd use less sugar. 3/4 of a cup is plenty on its own for a batch of ice cream, then the nutella itself is also very sweet, so together they were a bit much. Luckily, the bittersweet chocolate was a good contrast. I might even put in a bit more of that.

Another nice variation, if you like nuts, might be to add chopped hazelnuts as well as chocolate.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Duo: White Chocolate + Strawberry

Rating: ****

I made these two ice creams for Cathy's birthday party yesterday. The white chocolate recipe was from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, and used 12 oz. of white chocolate, and no other sugar. The strawberry was straight out of Ben & Jerry's, and used strawberries from the Santa Cruz farmers market.

I thought the white chocolate was a bit odd. Mom said I could have used a better quality white chocolate, so that might have been it (but I was just using up some that she had bought, so hmph). The strawberry tasted excellent, though we had considerable freezing problems. The ice cream maker had been back in the freezer overnight, but still somehow hadn't gotten fully frozen. We kept putting it back in the freezer, ice cream and all, and re-churning it at intervals, but it never got beyond thick slush before it was time to eat it.

Luckily, this turned out quite well anyway. We served it all up as scoops of white chocolate ice cream, with a sloshy dollops of strawberry covering it. Yum!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Purple Yam with Marshmallow Swirls

Rating: ***
Nickname: "I Yam What I Yam"

Purple Yam! Well, this is one of the more amusingly weird ones I've made in a while. The inspiration for it came from sweet potato marshmallow casserole, which I thought was very strange the first time I saw it, though I loved it once I tried it. Cheryl had the idea to use purple yams instead of regular orange ones because... well, because they're awesomely purple, I suppose. I'm sure most of us don't get enough purple in our diets.

However, I'm afraid we went a bit overboard in the yam department. I'd gotten a big one -- over a pound, I think -- and we didn't think not to use all of it. Half to 3/4 of a pound probably would have been better. But anyway, we steamed it, then used electric beaters to mash it up with the cream, sugar, and vanilla. It seemed to be okay when we put it in the fridge to cool down, but when we took it out we found it had nearly solidified. We beat in more milk until we could pour it into the actual ice cream maker, but it just firmed right back up again. So it was getting colder, but not really churning much -- it was just like a big lump of mashed potatoes thumping around in the machine. Which meant it didn't really need to be in there, so we just took it out to put in the freezer.

Purple Yam Ice Cream We made the marshmallow sauce from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, and cooled it in the fridge while making the ice cream. That made it cold enough but still pourable, so it could be swirled in with the ice cream. Cheryl gets credit for the better swirl method -- after putting the ice cream in a container, she made a spiral trough in it and spooned the sauce in. Much neater than just trying to mix it, and easy since this ice cream holds its shape so well.

Anyway, I only rated this a 3 because, while it is sweet and yummy, it's still much more like eating mashed potatoes than ice cream. I'm sure it could be a 4 if we'd planned the proportions better.

Alternate nickname: "I Yam 30" (since this was my birthday ice cream).

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Rating: ****

When I told my uncle Greg I liked cinnamon ice cream, he recommended the recipe in The Perfect Scoop, so I went ahead and used that unaltered. You don't put any ground cinnamon in it, but just steep 10 cinnamon sticks in the milk for an hour. That has the effect not only of making it more expensive, but also leaving it looking like vanilla, rather than cinnamon-colored. But it definitely tastes cinnamony, if you don't look at it too much. I'd be tempted to put in ground cinnamon as well, just to change the color. :-)

I liked it, but it didn't blow me away enough to give it five stars. It may partly be that I'm not preferring the custard style ice creams these days, though. But if you like cinnamon (and I do), it's definitely worth it.

(Made for Princess Bride movie night with Lacey and Cathy.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mint Coffee Brownie

Rating: ****

Mint Coffee Brownie Ice Cream Cheryl made some brownies the other day and very kindly saved some for ice creaming. After extensive debate, we decided on mint coffee ice cream with brownie bits in it. The original idea was to have the mint be throughout the base, the coffee in swirls, and the brownies in discrete bits, so all three flavors would be in distinct modes. That didn't happen.

Ice Cream Diagrams I need to figure out a proper way to do swirls in ice cream. Cheryl did diagram all the options we considered. We went with option B (which didn't work), separating out some of the cream to mix the coffee into and add later, but it ended up still just mixing evenly throughout. If anyone has tips, let me know. I think maybe we should have mixed coffee into a portion of almost-finished ice cream, then put that back in, but I don't know how well the coffee would have blended (i.e. the granules wouldn't dissolve). That would have been option A or C, depending on the timing.

Anyway, about the recipe itself. The mint part is easiest -- just a tsp of peppermint extract in a sweet cream base. Ben & Jerry's coffee recipe (pg. 66) says to use 3 tbsp of coffee, but we only used about half of that, which I think cooperates better with the mint. Then just crumble in a bunch of the brownies. I'm not the biggest fan of coffee or straight coffee ice cream, but this combination is nice.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Graham Screams

... for ice cream. Ah, I do love ice cream. And I must say that getting an ice cream maker of my own was a life-changing experience.

This blog is a record of ice cream flavors I've made, and any thoughts or tips I came up with in making them. I won't generally type up complete recipes, but I will tell you where to get them, or explain that it's such-and-such a recipe with certain additions, modifications, or whatever. This is all just play and experimentation anyway.

Feel free to share your own ice cream thoughts or flavor suggestions!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

Rating: ***
From Ben & Jerry's book, page 81. 1 cup of chopped Reese's PB cups takes about 5-6 of them.
It's certainly good, but I'd just as soon have the chocolate peanut butter chocolate chip recipe I did before, and it's not much more work. That's the only reason I rated it relatively low.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chocolate Ginger

Rating: ****
Ben's chocolate recipe, from the Ben & Jerry's book, pg. 44
+ 1 tbsp of powdered ginger
Diced some candied ginger (~1/4 c.) to add at end.
Didn't seem at first like it would be enough powdered ginger, but it turned out to be plenty.
Used candied ginger that wasn't coated in sugar already. Diced very tiny. Seemed chewier than I remembered.
Texture was a little grainy. Maybe chocolate + milk phase needed to be heated longer? Or maybe it was how the powdered ginger reacted to it?
(This was Rowyn's birthday ice cream.)