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I scream, you scream…

Hello, blog.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been focusing my creative energy in other places, but in the end I always end up feeling like a beacon in the fog.  I’m sending out signals, and rarely do I get anything back.  Well, I’ve decided that’s fine with me.  This blog is actually an easier medium for that experience (less noise).

In the past week or so I’ve made two batches of ice cream based on this article on Jeni’s artisan ice cream. It was a year or two ago when I first read about Jeni’s ice cream and using corn starch to thicken instead of eggs. Brian could tell you about a time (or two?) when I added too much corn starch to a soup we were making and we ended up eating paste. So these days, I’m cautious about telling Brian I’m using corn starch, and I’m also cautious about how much I use. I like frozen custard, but it always seems like an egg-stravagant use of eggs (sorry! couldn’t resist).

My first batch was vanilla. I had no whole milk or vanilla beans in the house, so I did a little improvisation. I had been planning on making ice cream with half and half and heavy cream, so I used some combination of those along with our standby household milk, 1%. I used vanilla extract for flavoring. It was “good” vanilla as the Barefoot Contessa would say.  The resulting ice cream was good, but it was still not as custard-like as I had hoped. Next, I tried mint. I didn’t really do much different (peppermint extract instead of vanilla), but somehow the ice cream base looked a bit thicker when I poured it in the machine. I added in some mini chocolate chips to the mint version at the end. Both ice creams have not had the unpleasant, “gritty”, fat coagulation on the spoon that I’ve had in the past with the heavy cream and half and half (without milk) mix. But they do have this quality I can only describe as “frozen milk”. Not very smooth and creamy. My theory is that I need to cook the base longer to thicken it more. In both cases I’ve had a hard time getting the base to boil without starting to burn the sugar, which has given both ice creams a hint of caramel (maybe not a bad thing).

Both of these ice creams were thinner after churning than what I remember from making ice cream from other recipes in past years. But after freezing, they seem fine, pretty scoop-able, not glacier hard. I want to try chocolate next. I loved the flavor of the chocolate custard I made last year, but the texture was off.  I’m hoping to pick up some whole milk so I can really follow the recipe.

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