My adventures with making ice cream. And eating it, too.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mint Chocolate

I had to make ice cream for a party this weekend. I wanted to make something a little different but not too far out. I'd been meaning to make mint chocolate for a while so I decided on that.

I had wanted to make it with real peppermint. I've used spearmint in the past and the results are a bit polarizing. Some people love it and others find it too herbal. I was curious if peppermint would have the same result. Well, even though Whole Foods definitely had peppermint previously, they did not have it a few days ago. I picked up a bottle of peppermint extract.

I was in a bit of a hurry putting it together and I couldn't quicly find a recipe to suit my needs. I turned to the William-Sonoma book and used the vanilla recipe. I added 2/3 cup cocoa (I was making a double-batch) to the dairy while I was heating it but before tempering the eggs. After thickening the custard, I added a tablespoon of the peppermint extract.

Actually, I was thinking of making it mint chocolate chocolate chip. I decided not to on Katie's suggestion. She tasted the base and thought it didn't need any chips. I wasn't sure I had enough minichips anyway.

The result was really good. It was a bit more minty than chocolate, which wasn't the intent. Maybe next time two teaspoons of extract and 3/4 cup of cocoa. But, I still really like it. I'm not sure if it's just the mint or if it's also the make-up of the ice cream but it feels very cold. That sound obvious but not all the ice creams I've made do feel cold.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Awesome Arena!

Go vote in Panel of Awesome's Awesome Arena's Tournament of EVIL! Currently, Doomsday is facing down Superman-Prime! Black Adam is facing off against Magneto!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I picked peaches about a week ago and needed to do something. I also wanted to bring ice cream to help celebrate a friend's birthday (The Leavening Agent's author). Peach ice cream it was.

Well, I made this ice cream last year as it turns. I liked it then and I liked it this year, too. It packs a lot of peach flavor. I'd like to compare it against the recipe from William-Sonoma since that doesn't call for cooking the peaches.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream

I'd made enough combination flavors in the past bunch of months (not all of which I've blogged about) that I just wanted to make chocolate. Just chocolate. Nothing-in-it-chocolate. I had eggs on hand, so I went with a custard-style recipe in A Perfect Scoop.

The recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. The result is a really deep, smooth chocolate flavor. The recipe is pretty darn perfect. I wouldn't change it at all.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Strawberry, Second Thoughts

I've eaten the strawberry ice cream again. I'm having second thoughts about it.

It leaves my mouth coated in a vaguely unpleasant way. I think this might be due to a combination of the high fat content and the absence of eggs, although I'm not sure about the eggs (I mean, I know the ice cream is eggless).

I still like the flavor of the ice cream but this mouthfeel issue is troubling.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's the end of strawberry season. I had some leftover berries. I'd been meaning to make strawberry ice cream for a long time but haven't gotten to it.

I used fresh berries that we picked. They were actually a couple weeks old but they were still in good shape.

I picked up fresh milk and cream from Fish Family Farm that I bought at the farmer's market around the corner from my office.

Randomly, I chose Emily Luchetti's recipe. She has you cook the berries down with some sugar until you've essentially created jam. You combine that with the warmed dairy. That's a decent way to deal with iciness usually associated with strawberry ice cream. Not a great way, since you lose the freshness of the berries (although, with the berries spending a couple weeks in the fridge, they weren't just out-of-the-field fresh) and you sort of end up with Strawberry Jam Ice Cream instead.

The result was interesting. I'm not sure if it's the recipe, a step didn't follow correctly, something with the cream before I even used it, or something else entirely, but the ice cream has a distinct tang. It's not a bad tang but neither I nor my wife expected it when we started eating it. I do like it but it's not what I was expecting. Again, I'm not at all sure what happened. That said, next time, I'll be tempted to try a different recipe.

Ice Cream Sandwich: Three Tarts

Some friends and I went on a bakery tour of Lower Manhattan. This was our fourth such tour, so we're experienced enough to know not to eat yourself into a coma at the first stop. The last stop, however, you can go as wild as you want. Three Tarts was the last stop. They had a lot of delicious looking items and they also had ice cream sandwiches. I had room and figured it was the right thing to do.

A sign indicated they had one banana ice cream in a chocolate brownie sandwich. Naturally, this is what I selected. The banana ice cream was practically perfect. Not at all icy. A goodly amount of banana flavor and it didn't taste artificial. The brownie part was soft and chocolaty. It was delicious.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Robb's, Glastonbury, CT

Robb's Farm in Glastonbury has been making and selling ice cream for several years now. Three? Four? I'm not positive. But, I've been going there regularly as long as I've known about it. It's a pleasant drive and the farmland is serene. They do need a little bit more in the way of shaded areas but nothing is perfect.

I had chocolate peanut butter cup and banana. I need to get out of my flavor ruts. They are, however, tasty ruts. The chocolate peanut butter cup was chocolaty enough and had plenty of candy pieces. The banana was smooth and creamy with a moderate amount of banana flavor. The two went together really well.

Chocolate peanut butter

I made the Lebovitz chocolate peanut butter ice cream again. I wasn't paying enough attention to it while it came to a boil and I burned a little bit of it. It didn't seem to matter, fortunately.

I don't know if I noticed this before but as long as it's not frozen solid, it doesn't feel cold on the tongue. It's an interesting thing. I don't understand it in the slightest but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it has to do with fat content.

I served it for a group again. It's definitely a crowd-pleasing flavor. I also served coconut mango. This flavor was actually about two months old. I think the age of the ice cream wasn't perceptible.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter

After making a successful peanut butter banana, I thought, well, CHOCOLATE peanut butter banana should work, too, and be just as easy to make.

I did go a different direction with the recipe. Instead of adding chocolate to the peanut butter banana recipe, I added bananas to the Lebovitz chocolate peanut butter recipe I love. I didn't follow it exactly. The recipe calls for heating everything to a boil. Instead, I dumped everything into the blender and put it on puree for about five minutes.

This was another success. The bananas add just a little more smoothness, I think. Two bananas seemed to be the right amount to keep all three flavors balanced. But, really, standing on the shoulders of giants as I did, it was very easy for this to work well.

I think I've taken this about as far as I can. I'd like to work on making something similar to the bittersweet chocolate I had at Rancatore's.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Eating: Rancatore's and Herrell's

I'm going to start including posts about eating ice cream along with posts about making it.

On Sunday, I went to the Red Sox game with a couple friends. On the way home, I stopped at Rancatore's and Herrell's. Both have been visited by the people at as part of their New England Ice Cream Tour.

At Rancatore's, I had a medium. I went went with bittersweet chocolate and chocolate banana. The bittersweet chocolate was excellent. An outstanding ice cream. It was rich in chocolate flavor. The texture was smooth and creamy. It was nicely dense, too. The chocolate banana was also very good. It struck a nice balance between the two flavors. There were nice bits of banana, too. I don't always care for bits of banana but they seemed to add to this ice cream. It wasn't nearly as chocolaty as the bittersweet chocolate but that was a good thing. It made it easier to balance the banana against it.

Dutch chocolate orange caught my eye at Herrell's. So, I had a medium with that flavor and mint chocolate chip. I don't know if it was the recipe or just the combination of flavors but I didn't like this as much as I thought I would. Still, it was good. It had a really bright orange taste and a good chocolate taste. They just weren't working as well together as I hoped. The mint chocolate chip veered towards medicinally mint more than I like. Not unenjoyable but it could've been better.

I would definitely recommend Rancatore's. I'd love to go back to Herrell's and try some different flavors. Parking at the Allston location of Herrell's (there's three locations, I believe) was a pain. I eventually parked in a lot for Rite Aid which had signs everywhere proclaiming that if you so much as let your gaze wander outside of the parking lot, your car would be towed. I decided I could risk leaving it there for 15 minutes. Just don't tell Katie.

Peanut Butter Banana

I made peanut butter banana late last week. Seems like an obvious flavor but I'd never made it before. It occurred to me after making PB and banana.

I based the recipe on David Lebovitz's PB recipe. I thought that recipe was already a little too sweet and since I was adding two bananas, I lowered the sugar to 2/3 C. Emily Luchetti and Lebovitz both have you roasting the bananas to different degrees before using them but I skipped that. I put all the ingredients into the blender and left it on for a good long while, more than five minutes. I wanted the texture to be as smooth as possible.

I'm really pleased with the results. Smooth texture. The flavors are nice and they're balanced. I'll have to make this again. Also, I might shoot for PB chocolate banana next.

About Me

I live in Connecticut, which results in a nice assortment of fresh fruits in the summer. I can afford all of this ice cream on a caloric basis because I enjoy long-distance running.