Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Toasted coconut ice cream

My usual pattern for making ice cream is to cook the ingredients the night before, and then churn the next day. That's because most of the recipes that I like involve infusing flavorings into a milk-sugar base, which you then cook with egg yolks to form a custard. The process takes an hour or two, and then you have to chill the finished mixture thoroughly before churning.

Last night I toasted coconut, then infused it and a vanilla pod in a warm milk-cream-sugar mixture for an hour. Afterward, I added a bit of salt. I don't usually do that, but the recipe called for a big pinch of salt, and the flavor seemed too simple without any salt at all.

Toasting coconut on the stove

Today I churned the ice cream—good timing, since the weather turned surprisingly hot.

All churned

Nathan and Cosmo declared the ice cream delicious.

Nathan scraping the churning bowl for another taste

I'm not crazy about this flavor, though. I usually like coconut, but this is just kind of boring and too sweet for my taste.

The fix? Bittersweet chocolate sauce! Wow, what a completely delicious mix. The little bits of hard chocolate in the sauce, which I'd considered faults before, only made the combo better.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Three that didn't work out

Of all the recipes I've made from The Perfect Scoop, only 3 weren't utterly delicious: chocolate-coconut sorbet, piña colada sherbet, and coffee ice cream. Still, I'd try everything but the sherbet again.
Great for drinking, not so great for ice cream

Chocolate-coconut sorbet

This sorbet had problems with both taste and texture, both of which were probably my fault.

The taste problem might have been caused by me using bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona from Trader Joe's) and not adding enough sugar. I once had a similar problem with the lean chocolate sauce recipe, although that wasn't fatal since I wasn't eating the sauce on its own.

The lack of sugar was a by-product of me cutting down the recipe by 7/8. Yes, 7/8. The recipe called for 16 fl oz of coconut milk, but the can had 14 fl oz. I converted everything accordingly, doing the math in my head, but I think I goofed the math for the sugar.

So add more sugar, right? Well, I didn't want to bother with heating up the stuff again, so I tried adding some almond extract, and it pretty much worked. The taste wasn't amazing, but it was pretty darned good.

I could've (and should've) fixed the texture problem as soon as I noticed it, but I figured I'd just go ahead and churn anyway. What a mistake. When a house full of 17-year-old boys doesn't polish off your sorbet because it's too grainy, you have recipe failure.

Fixing the texture was easy: just reheat the sorbet over a double boiler until the chocolate smooths out. Then cool and churn again. The texture was fantastic, as you'd expect from using coconut cream (what I happened to have on hand) instead of coconut milk.

Next time, I'll do the math on paper (or find 2 oz more of coconut milk) and try a different chocolate.

Piña colada sherbet

Pineapple and coconut milk: I eat these all the time, without any trouble, and yet this dessert set off an allergic reaction that had me grabbing the Benadryl.

I made this sherbet because it was a hot day and we wanted something cold, stat. It tasted fine, but it languished in our freezer. Maybe we're just not sherbet people.

Coffee ice cream

Too bitter. I'll try again, though, because coffee is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. I think we used Peet's Major Dickason. Next time I'll try a lighter roast. Maybe the blonde roast from (gasp!) Starbucks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hi there

Ever since I got my ice cream maker (Christmas 2013, thanks honey!), I've been making a quart or two (or three) a week, mostly using recipes from David Lebovitz's fantastic book The Perfect Scoop.

Stained and scuffed already 

I'm taking notes on the results, and figured it wouldn't hurt to share those notes with the world.
Online beats handwritten notes for searchability

And in case that sounds boring, my husband promises to provide reviews. I suspect the good ones will be filled with "mmmmm-gahhhh-mmmmm", but he might well surprise us all.

This space used to have a list of what I've made, so far, and what I plan to make soon. That list is now here: