Do you find yourself stranded in freezer section of your local food emporium with a tough decision to make? Choosing which one, of the multitudes of frozen desert treats, to purchase for later (or sooner) indulgence can be a real downer. How can you decide? Do you also have, possibly stuck in the back of a kitchen cabinet, a nice sturdy KitchenAid mixer? Yes? Well listen here buster, it is time to take ice cream back! I have a solution. Don't buy any of them. Make your own super premium ice cream at home! In just the same way you are no longer a slave to the aisles of the local video rental store thanks to streaming, Netflix, those vending machines, etc..., there is no reason for you to be a slave to either Ben or Jerry. You CAN make super premium ice cream at home. It WILL be better than the ones hawked by those charging you a fortune for fun and interesting packaging. the stuff you make will be MUCH better, and it isn't really that hard as long as you follow my instruction. This instructable follows very closely to Alton Brown's "9,8,3,2,1" method. I give him all the credit, Thanks Alton. It should yield about a quart of yummy frozen goodness. It is NOT low in fat, sugar, cholesterol, or anything else, that should be "low". This stuff will plump you up quick, if you get carried away, so please be careful, eat it in moderation, but most of all, enjoy it!
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Step 1: Gather the Edible Ingredients.
Okay, it looks like someone has a sweet tooth, AND a tight pocket book. Good, you are at the right place. One of the amazing things about ice cream is that while everybody (and I mean EVERYbody) is familiar with it, almost nobody (and I mean NObody) knows what the heck is in it. It's true, if you follow this instructable, you'll soon see for yourself as people will start to treat you as if you were turning lead into gold.
Our first order of business, now that we are free to leave the freezer aisle, is to gather up the ingredients. You'll need:
9 ounces of sugar (if you can, set this out a couple days earlier with a few vanilla beans burred in it, this turns it into "Vanilla sugar")
8 Egg yolks
2 Cups of Heavy cream (Alton Brown uses 3, but since I don't always have it, and they sell it in convenient 1 pint (two cups) containers, I do it this way)
2 Cups of Half & Half (Alton uses 1 cup, see my note above for an explanation)
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract (this goes in any ice cream I make....so far)
1 1/2 Ounces (by weight) Dutch milled cocoa (get the most extravagantly expensive stuff you can. Get it from the most snobby, snooty store you know of. It will be the good stuff, and it will be worth it. Also, it's not shown in the photo here (because I was just going to make vanilla, but got carried away and decided to go nuts). But if it helps, I'll describe it for you. For the visual learner's, like me, this will not make a lot of sense. Picture a small glass (or maybe metal) bowl. Picture it containing within it, a small pile of a brown, powdery substance that you know to be Dutch milled cocoa.
1 Handful of what I call 'hotel mints', crushed. This time I used Andes mints, the standard (IMO) in 'hotel mints'.
2 handfuls of smashed cookies. I used, of course, Oreo cookies.
1 white chocolate chip. (this is just for fun, you should use your own secret ingredient)
Step 2: Collect Your Equipment
The only special piece of equipment that you'll need is and Ice Cream maker of some sort. I have only ever used (and only since Christmas 2010, Thanks MOM!) the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer . It is basically a double walled (think thermos) bowl that is filled with some sort of liquid sealed inside. This bowl is (for me) always kept in the freezer (the colder the better). It also comes with the proper attachments to mix your soon to be ice cream. I highly recommend it (although I've never used anything else, In fact, I've only made ice cream three times so far)
Other than the "ice cream maker" You will need a bunch of standard kitchen stuff, but to be thorough I'll list what I can think of.
Stove top (gas preferred by me)
Thermometer (I like the digital instant read type)
Sauce pans (one medium, one small)
Measuring container (quart, at least)
Ingredient bowls , various (I like Pyrex , but you'll need at least one medium size metal bowl)
Stirring device (I use a plastic spoon)
Refrigerator (set to at least 40 deg F)
Storage containers (I like the semi disposable ones, I'm not sure what size, but I think they hold a bit more than a pint. I use three)
Energy source (I use a combination of Natural Gas and AC Electricity. You can use whatever you desire)
I think that just about covers it. Feel free to comment if I missed something
It is crucial that your ice cream maker bowl thing is WELL frozen. Like I said I keep mine in the freezer, so It's always frozen.
Step 3: Chill a Bowl.
Before getting going too far, it's time for a little preparation. You need to get a medium sized metal bowl into the freezer right now. Later in this instructable, you'll be pouring hot cream into this, to help it to cool that much quicker. This is also a good time to make sure that your ice cream maker gizmo is frozen real good. If it isn't you MAY be able to freeze it at this point without adding too much time. This is so, because the hot batter (???) must be well chilled before proceeding anyway. This takes several hours, but we'll get to that later on, I just hate following a recipe and finding a hidden "Wait 200 days and....." in there.
NOTE: don't pay any attention to the mass amount of "Egg Whites" I have in my freezer. I was a victim of a overzealous Costco shopping episode. I don't even use them. They do help to cool things down though. ha!
Step 4: Scald the Dairy.
Place all of your dairy (2 Cups Heavy Cream, and 2 Cups Half & Half) into a nice sauce pan, that it fits in comfortably. Heat it up slowly and gently (I start on medium high, then lower to medium, or even medium low. Use your thermometer if you're like me and like knowing the digits) until it just barely begins to simmer (bubble) around the edges of your pan. This is called "Scalding" the dairy, it'll smell like your doing something. Stir it pretty regularly during this time or else you'll get a chunky skin on the top and maybe a build up of goo on the bottom, so STIR. You'll be doing other things while this heats, so don't forget about it. The slower you heat, the better the final result will be (so they say), but don't get all OCD about it.
Step 5: Prepare the Egg Yolks.
While the dairy is heating up, it's time to get the egg yolks (8 of them) prepared. If you don't know how to separate the white part from the yellow part (the yolk) there are tons of instructables that cover it. Put the yolks into a bowl of your choice (not the one in the freezer) and whisk them until they lighten in color. I used to hate that instruction when I'd see it because it seems to be very open to interpretation (not my favorite thing), but with experience I've decided that the human mind can very well judge when this happens, so just trust yourself, you will be right. I don't know where I heard it, but I always try to let eggs warm up to room temperature before doing anything with them. That includes separating, whisking, etc... You don't have to do it, I don't know if it makes the ice cream any better, or worse, but that's what I do.
Step 6: Add the Sugar to the Eggs.
Now that your yolks are lighter (in color) thanks to your whisking, it's time to sweeten things up. You are going to very slowly (over, say, 1 to 3 minutes) add the sugar to the egg yolks by pouring it in, and whisking it continuously. I don't have a photo of this, as my lovely assistant ( / girlfriend) and I both were occupied with the task. It will get pretty thick from whisking it. When it drizzles off of the whisk in a ribbon-like way (they call this "Ribbon stage") you're done with it, stop whisking. Get ready to get warm it up, gently.
Step 7: Chocolate Time
At some point while the dairy is heating up, swipe about a cup of it and put it into a suitable container (more than a cup of volume). Add to it, your dutch milled coco (1.5 Ounces). Alternatively, you can have your lovely assistant do it (even in her PJs). Stir it in there really good to try and prevent any lumps from forming (or not dissolving). When you've got it all dissolved into the dairy, go ahead and dump it all back in with the rest of the dairy (that's still heating up to a bare simmer). I think I even used a strainer one time to capture some of the chunky stuff I didn't do too good a job of mixing up. Use your judgment, that way it'll be YOUR ice cream, not mine.
Step 8: Temper the Mixture
Once your dairy has reached a bare simmer (a few bubbles appearing along outer edge of pan) it's time to combine the dairy and the eggs. First of all, turn off the heat! Don't let that stuff boil. It'll smell bad, and taste worse. The trick here is pretty simple. If you just dump one into the other, you are going to end up with one thing......Scrambled eggs. Or in this case, Chocolate flavored scrambled eggs. Now I admit, that does sound intriguing, but that's not what I'm trying to instruct you to do, is it? What you are going to do is called "Tempering". It's adding the hot stuff (dairy in this case) to the cook-able stuff (egg yolks) very slowly to prevent the hot stuff from cooking the other stuff. Dig? What you do, is get yourself your favorite ladle and stir / whisk the dairy into the egg yolks one ladle full at a time (the first one I use a half ladle full). Do this kind of slowly, the idea is to cool the dairy down using the eggs (or heat the eggs up using the dairy. (Don't you just love thermodynamics!) Keep it up until you've used up about one third of your dairy. At that point it's probably safe to go ahead and pour the rest of the dairy into the eggs. If you're like me, then this is the point where planning has failed a little and you'll have to find a way to get the batter (is that what it's called at this point?) back into your sauce pan. That's because we're gonna put some heat back into it now that almost all of the ingredients are in there (sugar, eggs, and dairy).
Step 9: Heat to 170 Deg F
Place your batter (?) back over the flame. I use medium, or medium low heat. Let it slowly warm up to 170degrees F . While it's doing that I like to add some (not the whole handful, just a little) of the crushed up chocolate mint candies (Andes this time) so that they melt and infuse some of their wonderful minty flavor into the batter (?). When the temp gets close to that goal of 170 deg F get that chilled metal bowl out of the freezer and get it near your pan. As soon as you get to 170 deg F , Kill the heat and pour the batter (?) into the chilled bowl.
Step 10: Add Volatiles (vanilla)
What the heck are volatiles ??? Well if you follow the link you'll know more than me about them. Basically these are things that evaporate into nothingness over time. The goodness of vanilla extract is volatile. That is why we add it after all the hot work is done. So, go ahead and add your Vanilla extract (2 teaspoons) into the mix. I also like to add my secret ingredient at this point. This time it was a single white chocolate chip. I intentionally added it at this point hoping that it would not melt completely and someone would get a surprise. I don't know if it worked out like that, because I didn't get it and no one mentioned it to me (yet). But again, make it YOUR ice cream, not mine, use your own secret twist, that's the fun of doing it yourself.
Step 11: Chill the Batter (?)
Okay, all the cooking is done. There really wasn't all that much, was there? Now we have to get this batter cooled down to 40 degrees F by putting it in the fridge for several hours (or whatever chilling method you choose to use). I don't know why I asked my lovely assistant ( / girlfriend) to pour it from the bowl into the final containers at this point. Not only was it not necessary, it was a PITA , so please learn from my mistakes and just put the bowl (the one that has the batter in it now) into the fridge. It'll probably be a good idea to cover it too. As you can see, fate was trying to intervene and cause a minor catastrophe. I have to say though, it was a DELICIOUS catastrophe :) Also, don't pay any attention to the cheese and bell pepper sandwich that was under construction. Or for that matter my beloved TIVO peanut remote control. After all, I owe all of my cullinary skills (short of grilled cheese) to Alton Brown and Good Eats. THANK YOU ALTON.
Step 12: Make ICE CREAM!!!
Allow enough time for your batter to become chilled to at least 40 degrees F . It could take several hours. I like to let it sit overnight, but I understand how cravings work, so act accordingly. Once it is chilled it's time to break out the specialty equipment: The ice cream maker. I have only ever used the KitchenAid ice cream maker accessory which is AWESOME!! and is highly recommended by yours truly. Of course, it's been sitting in the deepest, coldest corner of your freezer just waiting for it's turn to do it's magic....right? It better have been otherwise you're gonna HAVE to wait for it to become completely frozen (at least 8 hours) before proceeding. Don't even try it if that thing isn't frozen. Go ahead and place the ice cream maker bowl onto your mixer and attach the paddle that comes with it. The thing is made to work with many different models of stand mixers so just follow KitchenAid's instructions, and don't throw them out. Once you've got it assembled pull your chilled batter out of the fridge, pour into the machine (speed 1 ) and let it churn away for about 12 minutes or so. You want the stuff to change from a batter consistency, to a 'soft serve' ice cream consistency. This is the point when you want to add your 'chunky' parts. In this case I added almost a handful of crushed Andes mints, and two handfuls of crushed Oreo cookies. Let it stir around for a minute or two until you're sure that they're mixed in good, but not crushed to nothingness. Now, scrape the ice cream into the final storage containers (I'd love to have my own made up someday) and get them into the freezer. Make sure they're sealed tight.
Step 13: Stash in Freezer.
This may be the hardest step, especially if you love soft serve ice cream, but this isn't chuck-e-cheese, this is SUPER premium stuff we're making here!! It needs to be hardened in the freezer. It's a texture thing. Trust me, it'll be worth it. Let it hang out in there for several hours at least. Again, I like to do it overnight. (As Alton says, "I said it was good, not quick") Don't worry too much, there is lots of stuff for licking strewn around your kitchen now, just don't be a maniac and try to lick out the freeze bowl, your tongue WILL stick to it, trust me, don't ask, just trust me. Also wait a day or so to wash out that ice cream maker freeze bowl, and then do it by hand. As soon as you've got it squeaky clean, stick it right back into the deep cold parts of your freezer, so it's ready for the next batch. I end up with three good size, sealed containers of goodness, and a little bowl for the chef to analyze :)
Step 14: Enjoy!!!
Some time has passed....you've managed to wait for the ice cream to harden... It's time to really experience what you've accomplished. So get yourself a nice spoon, stick it in your back pocket for a few minutes to let your tush warm it up, then let it slide through the most luxurious, decadent, sinful portion of deliciousness that you've ever tried. Once it's in the spoon, sliding around on a layer of melted ice cream, put it in your mouth and ENJOY!!!
Congratulations, you did it.