Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

This may be the simplest recipe for ice cream I've made, and yet it was one of the most successful.  It's based on a recipe from The Perfect Scoop, with the amounts adjusted to match the size of the condesnsed milk can I had, and a little xanthan gum added.  The condensed milk might do such a good job on its own of supressing ice crystals that the xanthan gum is superfluous in this recipe.  It's soft and scoopable straight out of the freezer.

I let the mix churn for a full 45 minutes because I'm trying to increase overrun, but it didn't seem to matter.  The ice cream is dense and kind of "wet" (is that what they mean by "soggy" in ice cream science books?), and the meltdown is too quick and too liquid.  It needs more emulsifier so it can hold more air.  I did like the chewiness of it though.  Also, even though it's delicious, I think the flavor is too intense.  I'd increase the proportion of half and half next time.

Vietnamese Ice Cream Recipe


  • 1 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup strong coffee or espresso (I used my Aeropress)
  • 1/3 cup fat free half and half
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum


  1. Mix everything in a blender.
  2. Put in the refrigerator to sit overnight.
  3. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mint Stracciatella (Chocolate Chip)

After a bad experience with large chocolate chips in a mint chocolate chip batch, I tried making one with fudge ripple instead.  However, the David Lebovitz fudge ripple recipe is not very good and no one liked it much in the ice cream.  So, I decided to try a different tactic and do what Italian gelato makers call stracciatella, where you drip melted chocolate into the nearly frozen ice cream while the machine is running.  This worked out great!  Lots of little chocolate bits in every bite, and no big frozen chunks to break your teeth on.  I think I will always do chocolate chip this way from now on.

Also, since things taste mintier when they're green, I added a few drops of green food coloring.  Beautiful!

Mint Stracciatella Recipe


  • 3 cups low fat half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 4 tbsps (2 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • big bunch of mint leaves, washed (you can leave them on the stems)
  • a few drops of green food coloring
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate


  1. Put cream cheese and salt in a larger bowl and set it aside to soften up.
  2. Mix about 1/4 cup half-and-half with cornstarch in a small bowl until fully dissolved.  Set aside.
  3. Whisk remaining half-and-half, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil and then allow to boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Add mint and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain to remove mint and then return to pot.
  6. Add cornstarch slurry while whisking.  Heat, whisking frequently, until it boils.  Mixture should thicken up.
  7. Add xanthan gum while whisking.
  8. Pour mixture over cream cheese and whisk to combine. Whisk in food coloring. At this point, if there are lumps, you should put it in a blender and make it smooth.
  9. Pour mixture into a ziploc freezer bag and cool in an ice bath, or put in the refrigerator to sit overnight.
  10. Freeze in an ice cream maker. While ice cream is freezing, melt chocolate, either in a microwave or in a metal bowl over a simmering pot of water. When ice cream is nearly done, drip melted chocolate slowly into the running ice cream maker. Let it run for another minute to freeze and break up the chocolate.

              Saturday, August 17, 2013

              New Equipment!

              Thanks to my ice-cream-loving Grandpa, I have inherited a new ice cream maker.  It's a beauty: an Il Gelataio, self-refrigerated, with a removable bowl that can go in the dishwasher!  Totally revolutionary.

              I decided to test it out with a sorbet.  I started with the Cook's Illustrated recipe, but since I couldn't find Sure Jell low sugar pectin anywhere in my neighborhood (Why does New York City have the worst grocery stores on earth?), I tried using some xanthan gum instead.  Without this, it tends to freeze rock hard and melt too quickly.  I tried 1/8 tsp, then 1/4 tsp, and am currently thinking it needs a full 1/2 tsp to work well.  A tsp of alcohol provides a similar result, but that flavor isn't right for all sorbets.

              The other tricky thing is that you need to not churn it too much.  Unlike ice cream, more overrun is not good here.  It just makes the sorbet hard and crumbly.  I don't think I have this right yet.  The last time I only churned it for 10 minutes and it still seemed to go past the ideal stage, which is like a barely pourable smoothie.

              Raspberry Sorbet Recipe


              • 1 1/4 lbs raspberries, fresh or frozen
              • 1 cup water
              • 1/8 tsp salt
              • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
              • 1/4 cup corn syrup
              • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum


              1. Mix all ingredients in blender.
              2. Strain to remove seeds.
              3. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

              Thursday, August 15, 2013

              Thai Coconut Ice Cream

              This is a catch-up post from my ice cream activities in Maine.  We tried a Thai coconut flavor of gelato at Maple's in Yarmouth, and it was really good, so I decided to try making something similar.  It's easy to make ice cream using canned full-fat coconut milk, but that stuff will kill you.  I wanted to see if I could make one that was at least a little lighter by using the type of coconut milk that So Delicious makes, which is similar to soy milk.  It's still full of saturated fat, but it's only 70 calories per cup so at least it's less dense.

              To make this into ice cream, I used a combination of guar gum and xanthan gum.  It took a couple of tries to get the amounts right.  My first batch came out pretty icy, although my tasters liked it anyway.

              Thai Coconut Ice Cream Recipe


              • 3 cups So Delicious coconut milk or equivalent
              • 1/3 cup sugar
              • 1/3 cup corn syrup
              • about an inch of fresh ginger sliced into coins (no need to peel it)
              • juice of one lime
              • 1/4 cup peanut butter
              • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
              • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
              • 1 tsp guar gum


              1. Mix coconut milk, sugar, salt, and corn syrup in saucepan.  Add ginger.  Bring to a boil and boil for four minutes.
              2. Strain into blender to remove ginger.  Add lime juice, peanut butter, cayenne pepper, and gums.  Blend to combine thoroughly.  (Be careful about blending hot liquids!)
              3. Pour into a container and transfer to the refrigerator to sit until cold, a few hours or overnight.
              4. Freeze in an ice cream maker.