Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ice Cream Intuition

Chocolate Hob Nob Icecream
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I'm not sure if ice cream belongs in a baking blog, but since I got a beautiful ice cream maker for my birthday, I thought I would share about the experience.

With baking, I have made certain things long enough where I really have bake by "feel" in addition to following a recipe. I know the texture things should be before I move on to the next step. My goal by the end of the summer is to develop the same skill with ice cream. Believe me when I tell you it has not happened yet.

The first day that I made ice cream, I had selected pear-caramel ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. I had well-chilled the bowl, and had all the ingredients. Unfortunately, the pears had not ripened. I combed through the book, and didn't have everything for chocolate or coffee, but kept seeing this recipe for basil ice cream!

I happened to have a counter full of basil I had trimmed from my huge plant, needing a destination. Despite the fact that everyone at my house that day seemed to think basil ice cream was a strange idea, I plowed full speed ahead and made it anyway. My new fridge is a Samsung with a quick-chill drawer in it, so after cooling the mixture in an ice bath, I stuck it in that drawer to get chilly quickly. It seemed to work; by the time I poured the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker bin, the mixture had started to thicken.

Basil Ice Cream
The end result was a lovely, smooth ice cream the texture of soft-serve, although it melted very quickly. I could have put it in the freezer and waited to serve it until it had hardened, but the process is a long one, and we were all ready. Basil ice cream is incredibly summery - not too sweet, very fresh, and if you can manage not to think of pesto cream sauce while you are eating it, it is pretty incredible. I would not hesitate to make it again!

After one success, I thought it would be easy to make something else. When the pears finally ripened, i started off to make pear-caramel ice cream. I'm not sure why, if the recipe just didn't have the same binding agents (no egg yolks in that one) or if I was just simply impatient with the mixture, but after 30 minutes churning around in the machine it never set up at all. If I had been less frustrated, I could have dumped the mixture back into the fridge overnight, but it went down the garbage disposal.

Chocolate ice cream was to be my next feat. However I did not just want plain chocolate ice cream, and I knew I could supposedly add ingredients the last 5 minutes of churning. For some reason, making chocolate Hob Nobs ice cream entered my head and just would not leave. When I realized our friend Brian, who recently moved to London, had a birthday coming up, I decided to make Chocolate Hob Nobs ice cream in his honor.

Chocolate HobNob Icecream

Hob Nobs were one of the things I lived on when I was traveling in the UK, because they are these amazing oaty nobbly cookies with chocolate coating that come in a can, and are easy to stick in a backpack. I came across them at Whole Foods Market and snagged the last two cans!

The first time I tried it, the mixture smelled amazing but didn't set up. I knew I had merely been impatient, because the mixture was thick and coated the spoon just like it was supposed to. I re-chilled it and tried again, and this time it churned up beautifully. I added smashed up Hob Nobs to the churning mixture the last five minutes. We ate a bit of it right out of the ice cream maker, but froze the rest to give it more of a normal ice cream look, which is what you see here. (Happy birthday, Brian!)

Two successful tries down, many more to go. I am also desperate to find a frozen custard recipe, since we miss Ritter's in Indiana. What is your favorite type of ice cream?

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Categories: Basil, Chocolate, Ice Cream


Jon said...

oh my gosh, Jenny, these look amazing.

My favorites are peppermint and caramel, but this last year we have had some fun with recipes like cafe de olla ice cream and also I convinced Alisa to make some of david lebovitz's vanilla for a party that was delectable. Next thing I really want to try is salted butter caramel--that sounds amazing.

Rachel said...

How much fun is that!

I like flavours that come from spice jars - ginger, cinnamon, chai, nutmeg. And anything involving coffee. Mmm, ice cream.

Also, I love the hobnobs in a can - here, they just come in plastic-type wrapping.

Anonymous said...

If you have World Market on the east coast, they usually carry HobNobs. :>)