Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Ah Ha! Moment: Turning failure into ice cream

So I couldn't bring myself to throw out the failed chocolate mousse mentioned in my last post, but the only way I could serve it as is would be with a straw. So... what to do? Hmm, what about ice cream? It had cream, chocolate and sugar in it already... as well as a little bit of brandy ;) Eh, it was worth a try... it's not like I could ruin it more :P

So I tried this method to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I threw the failed mousse in a medium freezer bag and chucked that into a large freezer bag filled with ice cubes and salt, closed everything tightly and wrapped it in a towel and agitated it gently for about 10 minutes. The end result? Some seriously tasty chocolate soft serve ice cream! It was so good, B finished it off in one sitting, and I didn't manage to grab a picture of it ;)

If you want to try making your own ice cream, a few tips:

  • While certainly not required, adding a bit of alcohol will help keep your ice cream soft and smooth. You can use something flavorless like vodka purely for it's ability to keep the ice cream scoopable, or you can use it as a flavoring, like Irish cream or a fruit liqueur. You can also rely on vanilla extract, which is usually alcohol-based. 
  • You can also make ice cream that is lactose-free by using lactose-free cream/milk or even soy milk. Things like the Vanilla Chai Tea protein shake from Bolthouse Farms can be turned into dairy-free ice cream right out of the bottle, as it contains sugar and flavoring already. I have not yet tried almond milk, but it's also worth a try. 
  • Experiment with flavors. Since this technique allows you to make a small batch, you can experiment without fear of being stuck with a gallon of licorice-tomato ice cream that turns out wasn't such a good idea after all. ;) So don't be afraid to play around... fresh fruit, candy, tea, jam, yogurt, cookies, chocolate, etc.
You can serve it directly out of the bag, or you can scoop it into an air-tight container and store in the freezer, which will allow it to firm up a bit more. And that's it! With summer around the corner, this is a great little trick to keep in your back pocket for cooling off on those warm summer evenings!

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