Experimental Ice Cream

I’m a bit worried that if I make another bad batch of ice cream, I’m going to have to give back my KitchenAid.

My latest recipes weren’t exactly failures; they were important first steps in a learning process.  I was on a mission to make a tasty dairy/lactose free ice cream and I did some research on my options. The recipes I chose were fairly rudimentary and it was clear in the end what needed to be fixed. I couldn’t compare them head to head like I wanted because the Lactaid recipe was a custard based ice cream and the coconut milk recipe was in the Philadelphia style, so there were going to be some differences despite the choice of milk.

The Lactaid ice cream had a decent flavor–not overly vanilla but a great base if you were going to make a flavored ice cream–I think it would have handled stronger flavors like chocolate well. It had a more buttermilk coloring from the eggs and a nice texture. It would benefitted from a little liquor in the batter (true story) to make it a little bit softer and maybe that would have made it somewhat creamier.

The Coconut milk ice cream was disappointing. I know I can be ditzy and I don’t always think things through, but I was very surprised that the ice cream tasted like coconut! I really had NO idea that it would have any coconut flavoring. It was subtle–too muted to be considered coconut ice cream, but it was pronounced enough that it wasn’t quite vanilla either. The texture was the real losing point though. It was like eating coconut flavored snow. Maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it was icy and flakey and not what I wanted out of ice cream. It did, however, have a gorgeous white coloring.

With no clear winner, I didn’t know how I move forward with the cinnamon ice cream for Thanksgiving dessert. I did some more Googling and found a Vegan pumpkin ice cream that was heavy on the cinnamon so I made some alterations to make it less Vegan (I used white sugar instead of Agave), eliminated the pumpkin, and pumped up the cinnamon. There was an interesting note that cornstarch would help make the ice cream creamier so I was all about it. The recipe called for coconut milk and while I had two cans left from the experiment, I still had a carton of Lactaid milk which has a shorter shelf life. Also, I was more impressed with the Lactaid than the coconut in my initial experiment.

Although it’s not a custard-based ice cream, this recipe calls for the ingredients to be mixed in a saucepan. My entire house smelled like cinnamon–it was outstanding. I added a step where I let a few cinnamon sticks seep in the warm milk for an hour and it really made a difference. I don’t normally have cinnamon sticks around the house, but one of my friends gave Rob and I the most incredible wedding present–two full boxes of spices, rubs, and blends from Penzey’s Spices. Also inside were about a dozen cinnamon sticks–something I never would have bought myself unless a recipe REALLY demanded it. It was definitely one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

The end result, I’m sorry to say, was a bit heavy on the cinnamon. I think it would have been fine to seep maybe 5 or 6 sticks for a couple of hours rather than add any additional cinnamon. Another problem is that the texture was  bit gritty–this also could have been from the added cinnamon but more likely is that I didn’t let the sugar dissolve completely into the milk. I do think it’s a recipe that I’ll try again down the road because the flavor compliments so many fall desserts, especially pies. And, let’s face it, next time I’ll probably just use milk and cream.

The first two photos are from Sylvie, the second two are the only ones I took during the batter-making process. Thanksgiving morning was a bit of a rush once I realized the Caramel Ice Cream was unservable so I didn’t get to snap any pictures of the finished Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Speaking of which, let’s talk tomorrow about the Caramel Ice Cream, aka The Ice Cream That Started Off Very, Very Bad And Somehow Got Better Over Time.

Lactose Free Cinnamon Ice Cream adapted from Laura Friendly’s Vegan Cinnamon Pumpkin Ice Cream  

Ingredients:

2 cups Lactaid whole milk
2.5 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tbsp Grand Marnier

In a saucepan, whisk together the 1 3/4 cups of the milk and the sugar until dissolved and milk isn’t grainy. You can test this by tasting–make sure you don’t feel the sugar on your tongue. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add cinnamon sticks and remove from heat, letting the mixture seep for an hour.
 
Return saucepan to a simmer and remove cinnamon sticks. Whisk in maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Heat until mixture is nearing a boil, continuing to stir. Reduce the heat to low
 
Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture slowly to the saucepan, whisking as you pour
 
Simmer on low, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until mixture starts to thicken and get creamy.  Remove from heat and mix in the Grand Marnier. 
 
Cover and put in the refrigerator at least 3 hours. Add batter to your ice cream maker and follow your machine’s instructions.

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