Sunday, June 23, 2013

Coffee Bourbon Ice Cream and Overrun

Coffee Bourbon Ice Cream
I decided to switch back to dairy ice creams for this one.  I used my current standard low-fat ice cream formula but added in a tiny bit of xanthan gum to see how it would affect the texture.  Of course I also used 1/4 of bourbon (Woodford Reserve, since it was only $3 for this amount!), and that probably had more of an effect on the texture than the xanthan gum did.

My main experiment this time was to try increasing the speed of the beater ("shear strength") to whip more air into the mixture ("overrun").  That failed pretty badly.  I increased the mixer speed one notch and let it go for about 20 minutes, but the mix never took on much volume.  It looked to me like the increased speed prevented it from freezing and without freezing it can't hold the air bubbles.  (Is that crazy?  Maybe the increased volume in my mixes is normally due to ice crystals forming.)

I finally gave up and ran it at the lowest speed as usual, and then it bulked up as much as it usually does, which is to say not much.  The final result is tasty and smooth, and very soft and scoopable, but still too dense.

So, what to try next in my quest to increase overrun?  I have two ideas:

  1. Get the mix colder before putting it into the freezer.  I may have chosen badly by doing a flavor with alcohol in it, since that depresses the freezing point already.  If I try a non-booze flavor, and maybe put it in the freezer for 15 minutes before spinning it, it might freeze well even at the higher speed.  Or it might seize up and break my ice cream machine.
  2. Use more thickeners to increase the viscosity of the mix so that it can hold more air bubbles.  I cut back my use of cornstarch a bit because I felt like I could taste it in my vanilla, but I could use more in strong flavors like chocolate and coffee, or switch to a mix of guar gum and xanthan gum so that I use a smaller proportion.

Coffee Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

NOTES: I like to see little flecks of coffee bean in my ice cream, so I just use a fine mesh strainer to remove the coffee grounds.  If you want to get it pristine, use cheesecloth.


  • 3 cups fat free half and half
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps corn starch
  • 1/4 cup neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely ground coffee
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum


  1. Mix about 1/4 cup half-and-half with corn starch in a small bowl until fully dissolved.  Set aside.
  2. Put cream cheese in a larger bowl and set it aside to soften up.
  3. Put half-and-half, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil and then allow to boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat.  Add ground coffee.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain mixture to remove coffee grounds.  Return to (clean) pot and add cornstarch slurry while whisking.  Heat, whisking frequently, until it boils.  Mixture should thicken up.
  6. Pour mixture over cream cheese and whisk to combine.  Add bourbon and whisk again.
  7. Pour mixture into a ziploc freezer bag and cool in an ice bath.  (Or pour into any container and allow it to sit until it reaches room temperature if you're not worried about bacteria.)  Put in the refrigerator to sit overnight.
  8. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

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