Ripples, Ribbons, and Fudge: Help me make better ice cream.
December 14, 2013 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Made a deal with an Amish neighbor to buy, among other things, a pint of heavy cream a week. As a result I've been making a lot of ice cream. I've got a few good go-to recipes, but what I want to learn about next is flavoring with ribbons and ripples. I have this excellent salt carmel ice cream recipe, for example, but the carmel seems to turn to hard candy when frozen. What's the trick to keeping ripples and ribbons from getting too hard? Are there tricks to folding in fudges and caramels in ice cream? Do added gelatins or oils help? And while you're here, what's your favorite homemade ice cream recipe?

I've been using the Ben & Jerry's recipe book and it's been great, but I want to try new things, and learn about some ice cream flavoring principles. I'm pretty good at flavoring the base, but now I want to learn more advanced techniques.

I typically will use the first B&J base (with the egg yolks) and mix it in a Krups GVS-1 that I found at Goodwill. Unless it's just a flavored base, I'll typically fold in the jam, sauce, fudge or whatever before putting it back in the freezer for hardening. Can timing be improved?

Give me all your homemade ice cream knowledge. Thanks!
posted by Toekneesan to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty much everything in The Perfect Scoop is actually perfect, especially the goat cheese ice cream, plum ice cream and sour cherry frozen yogurt. I don't remember if the buttermilk ice cream I made was from that book or not, but it was pretty fabulous, and you can probably imagine how you'd make something like that.

If you don't want to buy another book, he sometimes also posts recipes on his blog.

I made his pumpkin ice cream for Thanksgiving last year, and it was a huge hit.
posted by dizziest at 4:19 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Haven't tried ripples so can't help you there. However, my all time favorite homemade ice cream is from the book you're using-the Orange Cream dream. I wonder if you need to start with softer additions-chocolate syrup rather than all the way to fudge, for instance-caramel cooked to a lower point?
posted by purenitrous at 4:33 PM on December 14, 2013

Are you using corn syrup to make the fudge and/or caramel? This recipe has fudge with corn syrup (sub golden syrup), which is not the same as high fructose corn syrup, btw.

Also the technique she uses is layer the ice cream, then the fudge, more ice cream, etc., then swirl it all with a butter knife before putting in the freezer. Scroll down to the bottom to read about it.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:49 PM on December 14, 2013

You're making caramel sauce (i.e. with cream) as opposed to just simple caramel? The fat/liquid ratio of the caramel sauce may be at fault (too much liquid compared to fat). You may want to try a caramel sauce like the one in this recipe.
posted by shivohum at 4:55 PM on December 14, 2013

Seconding the Perfect Scoop. It's really the only ice cream book I've needed.
posted by Sophie1 at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2013

I just wanted to throw in a plug for Jeni's recipes. These are fantastic!

I love this book. It's been a blast to try out some of these recipes, and a few of them involve swirling in fruits or jams.
posted by Old Man McKay at 5:13 PM on December 14, 2013

The "Perfect Scoop" recipes use a custard base, while the Ben & Jerry's recipes do not; I believe the latter are referred to as Philadelphia Style. Anyway, I have both books and LOVE them. I will almost always make a B&J Sweet Cream Base but add ingredients from "Perfect Scoop" (like the malted milk ball ice cream: heaven!).

Also, based on my time working at a Haagen-Dazs as a lad, and then making about a jillion batches at home since then, I have a theory: anything added to ice cream which is hard at room temperature becomes as tough as a sidewalk when frozen. As a result, you need to be mixing in what are essentially sauces at room temperature, which then stiffen up as the ice cream sits in your freezer after mixing.

We used to sell peanut butter ice cream at Haagen-Dazs and making a cone of that stuff was like scooping concrete -- just the worst one in the case. That peanut butter, as far as I can remember, was still very stiff when thawed.

Try the sauce recipes in the last chapter of "The Perfect Scoop" and see if they work well when folded into your ice cream after it's been chilled.

And if all else fails, post to Lebovitz's blog or send him a begging email, but only after searching through the blog post of reader questions on How To Make Ice Cream, as instructed in his blog's FAQ. Hey, lookee: How To Make The Perfect Caramel!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:21 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would try adding flavored extracts (vanilla etc) that contain alcohol and experiment my ratios of ingredients by freezing small portions of just the 'ripple' to see how it works. You might also try store-bought toppings (caramel, fudge, butterscotch) and see if those the very least that might help you get a better picture of room temperature vs frozen consistency.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2013

I make perfect caramel by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple of hours .
posted by hortense at 8:07 PM on December 14, 2013

hortense, that's homemade dulche de leche, isn't it?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:19 AM on December 15, 2013

Yes, wenestvedt it is , sometimes I do it in a pressure cooker for a darker color.
posted by hortense at 9:39 PM on December 15, 2013

So guess who's getting a book for Christmas.

I will also be trying the dulche de leche hack this weekend.

This has been really helpful.

For a bit more background on my salted carmel dilemma, it all started when I screwed up this recipe, to excellent result. What I did was rather than combining the carmel and the base before putting it in the Krupps, I just threw both parts into the Krupps and figured that would mix them. Well, it kind of did, but it kind of didn't. The base did get a subtle bit of salted carmel flavoring, but a good portion of the carmel stuck to the paddles, so when I transferred it to the container for hardening, I swirled the remaining carmel through the base as a ripple. Well, I have no idea why but it resulted in a divine ripple through out the ice cream, and the texture was perfect, but I haven't since been able to replicate that mistake, so I've been trying to figure out how to modify that super-simple carmel recipe, but something doesn't turn to rock when frozen.

I'll bet Lebovitz's book, and a few more experiments, will do the trick.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:55 AM on December 17, 2013

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