Alternate title #1: How an innocent blog post turned into a Costco shopping spree.
Alternate title #2: Uh-oh. I’m in sooo much trouble now.
In my previous post about ice cream cravings, I lamented the fact that my favorite ice cream flavors were either too difficult to find, or too expensive to regularly stock. I asked you to share your favorite flavors, and boy, did you make me hungry with your comments. In fact, it finally reached the point where I threw caution to the wind and boxes into my car, and turned a routine supply-replenishing trip to Costco into a full-blown impulse buying session. Except, in this case, the impulse did not hit me from nowhere. I knew exactly what caused it.
And I fully intend to continue passing on the blame to you. It makes the prospect of expanding waistlines a bit more bearable if I get to point the finger at someone else.
Okay, so not all of that was ice cream related. Although I did remember to pick up a couple of quarts of heavy cream, half-and-half, and a gallon of milk. I wasn’t taking any chances; I wanted to be able to make my ice cream already as soon as the bowls were frozen.
This is the ice cream maker I got. A Cuisinart, and it came with two bowls. I had been researching ice cream makers for some time now, and I knew this was the one recommended by America’s Test Kitchen. I do have a KitchenAid mixer, and its ice cream attachment is top-rated among the $100-or-less models. But this one was almost half the price of the attachment, and the double bowl sealed the deal for me. (You can also buy the ice cream maker from Amazon, which could help me buy more ingredients to play with.)
My first attempt was a straight up chocolate ice cream, following the recipe included in the Cuisinart manual. It seemed simple enough: you pulse good quality chocolate along with sugar until everything is powder-like, then pour in hot milk to make a ganache. Mix in some heavy cream, a touch of vanilla, and then chill the mixture. The fire up the machine, and watch it go.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the machine didn’t make as much noise as some reviews said it did. After about 30 minutes, I found myself staring at a wonderfully rich soft serve blanket of chocolate. It’s amazing to see how just some milk, sugar, cream, and a block of Valrhona bittersweet chocolate could turn into such decadent goodness just by the addition of cold and slow churning. After some hours in the freezer, it was exactly as I had hoped it would be.
Ecstatic with my first success, I decided to try one of my favorites: coconut ice cream. In the Philippines, it’s called macapuno ice cream, and sadly, the English translation of macapuno in no way does it justice. “Mutant coconut.” My goodness. It almost sounds radioactive, no?
Macapuno is a type of coconut that has thick but jelly-like meat inside. It’s easily grated into “strings” or long shreds, and it’s a much more pleasant texture to mix into ice cream than regular, flaked coconut. But since the only mutant currently within reach is my flower garden that hasn’t been weeded since last summer, I had to make do without any add-ins. That didn’t faze me at all. What I really cared about was getting the right kind of rich, creamy coconut taste that I remember enjoying while growing up in the Philippines.
Enter David Lebovitz, whose Quick Coconut Ice Cream Recipe with Saffron caught my eye. It’s a recipe he attributes to Nicky Stich of delicious:days, and like him, I was drawn by the promise of “quick.” And that it didn’t call for eggs. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to separate eggs at 11pm, much less figure out what to do with the orphaned egg whites. (I hate wasting ingredients.)
I stuck to the basics, skipped the saffron, and doubled the recipe. I fudged some amounts too, which didn’t seem to hurt one bit. It was every bit as easy as the recipe promised: a can of coconut milk, 2 cups heavy cream, and 1/3 cup sugar. Scalded to let the sugar dissolve completely, cooled, then poured into the ice cream machine.
Let me tell you this: the darn thing was so absolutely delicious that I didn’t miss the pieces of mutant anything in it. And I seriously, seriously considered hiding the entire container in the freezer in the garage.
Like I said earlier: I’m in sooo much trouble now.
Basic Chocolate Ice Cream
(Recipe from Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker instruction manual)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the sugar and the chocolate in a food processor and pulse until granulated. Scald the milk and pour it into the food processor. Mix until blended. Let cool, then stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Chill then pour into the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Makes 1.5 quarts.
14 oz. can of coconut milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
Scald coconut milk, heavy cream, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely, pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 2 pints.