Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coffee Ice Cream

With vanilla and chocolate hazelnut ice cream under our belt, time to make mom and dad happy by making some coffee ice cream.

Once again, I used the previously successful vanilla ice cream recipe as a starting point, and experimented until the flavors seemed right.
Serious Coffee Ice Cream
(with apologies to Alton Brown)
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup minus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons decaf Folgers coffee crystals
1 tablespoon peach preserves (not jelly)
3 tablespoons malted milk powder
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer before serving (8 hours in our freezer).

NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.

Since I did not think strawberry would work with the coffee, I went back to the peach preserves. I used 1 tablespoon instead of 2 since I wasn't sure how it would work out. Also used 1/2 a vanilla bean since I didn't want to overwhelm the flavor with vanilla. I used freeze-dried coffee to control portions, and decaf so we can have as much as we want at night (we're caffeine wimps in our house). I felt brave with the malt, so loaded it up.

This batch was nice, but not the surprising success that the previous two batches were. Coffee flavor was a bit too intense (to the point of being borderline bitter), and the taste was flat on the tongue.

For the next time, I'm going to use the full vanilla bean (it can take it). Also, I plan on cutting back the coffee to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Lastly, it does need some acid to balance out the flavor and not be so flat. I'll either use the full 2 tablespoons of peach preserves, or experiment with some lemon rind in the mixture (probably the lemon rind just to see what happens). Can still benefit from more malt powder. I'll back off the sugar tablespoon for tablespoon as I ramp up the malt.

The girls still insist on crumbled Oreo cones on the coffee ce cream, but I prefer a traditional sugar cone. We all enjoyed some Heath bar crumbles sprinkled over the ice cream. Next time, may try blending some Heath bar crumbles in to see how they survive the process.

For those that want to jump the gun, add blend ins to the ice cream machine at the very end of the churning process (~5 minutes to go). Too early and they'll either dissolve or get ground to a pulp.

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