Tips For Making Homemade Ice Cream Softer

Now that everyone out there’s been churning up ice cream, I’ve been getting a certain amount of questions about homemade ice cream, which I’m going to answer here over the next several weeks.

I’m going to start with the number one question folks have been asking: Why does homemade ice cream gets harder than commercial ice cream in their freezer? And what can be done to prevent it?

Salted Butter-Caramel Ice Cream


While I do address this in The Perfect Scoop (pages 5 and 16), I thought I’d list some strategies here as well. I don’t necessarily follow these all the time, but thought I’d put them out for readers to ponder and use as they see fit.

Alcohol

Alcohol doesn’t freeze, which you know if you’re anything like me and keep a bottle of Zubróvka vodka chilled and ready in your freezer. You can add up to 3 tablespoons of 40 proof liquor to 1 quart (1 liter) of your frozen dessert mixture prior to churning. I use vodka if I don’t want the taste of the liquor to intrude on the flavor, but will switch to another liquor such as Grand Marnier or Armagnac to enhance the original flavor if it’s compatible.

If my mixture is fruit-based, I prefer to add kirsch, a liquor which enhances the taste of stone fruits, like peaches, plums, nectarines, as well as berries. Generally-speaking, I’ll add enough so the taste isn’t very present, often less than a tablespoon.

For sorbets and sherbets, a glug of Champagne, white wine or rosé is nice with fruit flavors. 1/2 cup (125 ml) can be added per quart (liter) of mixture prior to churning. Or if the recipe calls for cooking the fruit with water, substitute some dry or sweet white wine for a portion of the water; the amount will depend on how much of the wine you want to taste. (Most of the alcohol will cook out but enough will remain to keep your sorbet softer.)

Sugar

Like alcohol, sugar doesn’t freeze which is why you shouldn’t futz around with recipes and just reduce the sugar willy-nilly. Almost all frozen dessert recipes use white granulated sugar, however you can replace some or all of the sugar with another liquid sweetener, namely honey or light corn syrup.


Either one will give the ice cream a smoother, less-icy texture but the drawback is that honey has a taste that may not be compatible with your other flavors and corn syrup has its own detractors. Since I don’t eat many preprocessed foods or drink soda, where most of it lurks, I don’t worry adding some every now and then when called for.

In general, liquid sweeteners are sweeter than granulated sugar so you should use three-quarters for each part of granulated sugar. (ie, use 3/4 cup honey in place of 1 cup of sugar.) You can substitute all, or perhaps, just part for the sugar. Artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, I have no experience with so can’t advise. I suggest researching agave nectar, a natural sweetener, which is said to be suitable for diabetics. (You should check with your doctor if you have health concerns.)

Gelatin

You can soften gelatin in cold water, warm it to melt it, then add it to sorbet or sherbet mixtures prior to churning. 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin is a general guideline per quart (liter) of mixture, although that can be doubled. Please note that this makes the recipe no longer suitable for vegans, vegetarians or folks who keep kosher.

Fat

Fat doesn’t freeze. If you don’t believe me, put a cup of olive oil or a blob of Crisco in the freezer and see what happens. (Butter will freeze since it’s roughly 18% water.) In many of my recipes, I don’t use boatloads of cream and instead replace it with whole milk with very satisfying results. Same with egg yolks. While it’s lots of fun to watch chefs dump tons of cream into whatever it is they’re making while the crowd cheers them on, it’s not necessarily how I (or most folks) actually cook at home these days.

So you can up the fat in your ice cream by substituting cream for milk or half-and-half in recipes. Even more effective, is that you can also add more egg yolks if making a custard-based ice cream, which will increase the creaminess due to their emulsifying properties. Most of my recipes used 5 or 6 yolks per quart (liter), but you can go up to 10 per quart (liter) if you’d like.

(Note: People also ask me about using non-fat or reduced-fat products. In my recipes, I indicate where low-fat products can be used without sacrificing the results. You could theoretically use non-fat products but your ice cream or frozen yogurt will be grainy and icy and most likely you won’t be thrilled with the results.)

Stabilizers

Some pastry chefs use stabilizers and ant-crystallization agents in their ice creams and sorbets to keep them smooth. Many are pectins and alginates are derived from seaweed or glucose. (There’s a forum on eGullet where these are discussed in depth.) I don’t have any experience using them as I prefer my frozen desserts with less-additives and don’t write recipes using ingredients that many people don’t have access too.

If you do want to experiment with them, stabilizers are available at L’Epicerie and Pastry Chef Central, and those companies can best advise about their use.

Your Machine

Almost all home machines churn at a much lower speed than commercial machines, which are designed to whip lots of air (called ‘overrun’) into the ice cream, as much as legally possible in some cases. Consequently your homemade ice cream will not have as much fluffiness to it like the stuff you buy in the supermarket.

My Cuisinart ICE-50 turns off automatically when the ice cream is done and I find during the last few minutes of churning is when the ice cream reaches its maximum volume and airiness. You may want to churn your ice cream as long as possible to get the maximum amount of air into it as well whatever machine you’re using.

The most powerful and fastest machine I’ve seen for home churning, which replicates a commercial machine, is the pricey KitchenAid Pro Line Frozen Dessert Maker.

Home Freezers

Home freezers are designed to keep things like ice cubes and peas really, really cold. Not necessarily ice cream or sorbets. You can either turn your freezers temperature up, or store your ice cream in the door, which is a bit warmer than the shelves (which is why you shouldn’t store milk in the door of the refrigerator either.)

My personal recommendation is to follow recipes as indicated and if the ice cream or sorbet is too firm, take the frozen mixture out of the freezer 5 to 10 minutes (or longer) prior to scooping and serving. If you’re having a dinner party, mid-way through the meal, transfer the ice cream to the refrigerator and it should be fine by the time it’s ready to serve.

perfectscoop.jpg

Related Links

How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

How Long Does Ice Cream Last?

Meet Your Maker

Use Invert Sugars Like Corn Syrup for Smoother, Less Icy Sorbet (Serious Sweets)

Tools For Making Ice Cream

68 comments

  • This is a really welcome post and has actually answered some of my questions. I’ve made lots and lots of ice cream and I was excited when I bought your book, but I made the salted butter caramel ice cream and had a couple of problems (but I followed the recipe, I promise). It never turned into a homogeneous mixture and it never froze as much as I wanted it to. My friends loved it, though and they didn’t care. I’ll be trying it again soon. I’ve also got a batch of black raspberry frozen yogurt in the works right now, though and it is looking awesome.

  • Wow Zubrowka. The memories ~~~! I was introduced to that when I lived in Tokyo by two French lads from Lyon who also lived there and we all went out together a lot more than we should have. I could not believe how delicious! It became my drink of choice.

    When I tried to find it in the US, I discovered the FDA ban and all I could think was, a friggin GRASS stem that has been in consumtion for ages is considered more toxic than sodium benzoinate, or proven cancer causer FD&C #5? I seriously doubt it. Is our government confused or what? Nature: good. Lab chemicals: bad.

  • Hi David! I’m sorry for posting this in the comments but I can’t find an email address for you and would like to ask you an important question… could you, perhaps, email me directly? Thanks so much for your time & I promise it isn’t an inane question or anything like that. :)

  • I’ve always wanted to know about this, so this info is great! In fact, one of the reasons I stopped making ice cream many years ago was that it hardened after a while in the freezer. Now that I’m making ice cream again (thanks to your book), I’ll certainly try this.

    I always wondered about gelatin and stabilizers, so I’ll try the gelatin trick next time. Although, come to think of it, I’ve been eating my ice cream pretty fast, it’s tough to get it to stick around long enough!

  • Went insane yesterday and decided to make macadamia nut pralines. Since it is only 95 degrees here and 300% humidity I thought this would be the perfect time to play with boiling cream and sugar,
    well they did not turn out, I didn’t get them up to the right temp, all the numbers having boiled off my candy thermometer,and a case of impatience, but that cooked sugar, cream , macadamia nut caramel made some killer ice cream, sometimes in the kitchen mistakes are great!

  • Today I read about a gadget-free technique for making ice cream at Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen. Apparently shaking ice cream bases in a freezer bag within a bag with ice and salt produces semi-soft results in about ten minutes. I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds like a good idea to me. And what about just a large freezer bag placed in the freezer then jiggled regularly to break the ice crystals apart?

  • When I worked at a restaurant in Copenhagen, we made our own ice cream, but we did it the old-fashioned way. That is, we didn’t churn it. We just put it in a long mold, stuck it in the freezer. Then we’d turn it out and “sliced” it. Of course it was hard (but not icy) yet had a wonderful creamy flavor because it was made with cream and lots of egg yolks (and real vanilla beans).

    This was an interesting post. I’m now inspired to try my hand at ice cream making again. I just need to convince hubby to buy me an ice cream maker.

  • Thanks, I always wondered about how much gelatin to use. I actually have a lot leftover from a Christmas marshmallow making spree. I also have lots of agar, too (it’s insanely cheap at the Chinese supermarket). Will try that as well.

    What do you think of low-fat milk with added vegetable oil, instead of cream/half-and-half/whole milk? I don’t use the higher fat dairy products for anything else, and I always have some left over.

  • Mary: I’ve made that recipe many (too many!) times and it always worked. Because it has a lot of caramel in it, it will not freeze as hard as other ice creams in the machine, as indicated by the recipe. But I’m jealous—I love black raspberries!

    Jessica: I’d be wary of using anything ‘cheap’ from China right now. Land O’Lakes makes a low-fat (or non-fat half-and-half), but I haven’t used it since it’s not available in France. If you give it a try, let us know how it works.

    Darlene: Sounds like fun! I love Copenhagen and getting to serve ice cream there sounds like the icing on the kake (sorry…my Danish isn’t very good.)

    Joanna: That’s often called “Cowboy Ice Cream”, although you need rock salt and to stand there and move it around for 10 minutes or so. Will be posting something along those lines shortly as well.

  • If I don’t say it, I’m sure someone will open a blog called “The Perfect Scoop, the Cowboy Way” and do the entire cookbook shaking it up in Ziplocs! I don’t have an ice cream machine so I probably will attempt one or two this way – luckily I have a big supply of Ziplocs I brought over!

  • I actually prefer harder and less creamy ice cream and I love the idea of replacing cream with whole milk. And I may follow Sara’s Ziploc suggestion because I don’t have an ice cream machine either!

  • David,

    Just a few questions:

    1) Does it make any difference, texture-wise, whether one uses superfine sugar or regular sugar ?

    2) Do you endorse the use of a little cornstarch?

    3) In The French Laundry Cookbook, Thomas Keller describes the ‘One spoon Quenelle’ technique. It gives out the Perfect (edgeless oval) Scoop. Do you use this technique and could you elaborate on it? (I haven’t been able to duplicate it)

    Tanks a lot!

    N. Rodrigues, Lisbon

  • N:Rodrigues: Since the sugar in my recipes is heated, it melts, so it doesn’t matter either way. I do have a recipe with cornstarch, which is a southern Italian-style of making ice cream. And I’m unfamiliar with that…if you have the book (I don’t) perhaps you can elaborate on it for us! : )

    Sara and Magda: You do need to be sure not to get any salt in the ice cream and it is a bit of work. Happy squeezing!

  • Hey David,
    Really helpful post!
    I recently made some ice cream and used agave nectar as the sweetener. Consequently, the ice cream had the loveliest texture and didn’t ever harden completely. Sorry it wasn’t one of your recipes, but I haven’t gotten your book yet. It’s on the list and I’ve budgeted for it. :D
    Thanks always for your great posts on Paris.
    Best,
    Deb

  • Oh, great post, David! Just as I was considering dropping some recipes down to half and half or whole milk from the indicated heavy cream. Hmm. I made the Strawberry Sour Cream ice cream a couple nights ago and, while it’s most tasty, I thought maybe it would let the strawberry flavor out a bit more with a bit less fat. Maybe I’ll try it next time with half and half and see what happens, eh? I was also thinking of switching out the white sugar with brown sugar (a real experiment) as strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar is such a great combo. Will let you know how it works out.

  • David,
    It was so nice to run into you in San Francisco! I finally got around to posting the picture I took of you at Bi-Rite. I’ll leave the link as the URL. Funny that I’m posting this on a post with a picture of salted butter caramel ice cream. That stuff is life changing. Thanks for the recipe!

  • What?! You don’t have a copy of ‘The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller?!

    Shame on you. No foodie on the western hemisphere should do without it.
    I’m sure you know as you live in Paris, a traditional quenelle is a way of making portion size quasi-oval shaped bites using two spoons. A one spoon quenelle is a way of scooping , say, ice-cream so that it comes out shaped ovally and edgeless, as a result of dragging the warm spoon and twisting it at the same time. I just can’t seem to master the technique. hence the request.

    On superfine sugar, of course the sugar melts. I was just wondering if on a micro atomic :) molecular gastronomy scale it would make a difference :)

    Take care. Your blog has become mandatory reading.

  • Hi Jessica: Try low-fat sour cream if you want to cut the richness. If you want to up the strawberry-ness, try the Strawberry Frozen Yogurt recipe, and substitute the sour cream for the yogurt. And invite me over for a tasting! : )

    N.R: My French Laundry Cookbook is back in the states. When I had to decide which books to ship (and I’m still waiting for two cases that were sent…3 years ago!) the heaviest didn’t necessarily seem the most appealing at the time. And to be honest, it’s not like I was ever going to make anything from it anyways. Those recipes and daunting!

    lee: Thanks for the arty photo…and hoped you liked your cone of Bi-Rite.

    Deb: Appreciate the tip on agave nectar. I want to play with it some more. I have some rice syrup from playing around with Heidi’s recipes from her book (which I love), so this week I’m heading to the health food store for some agave. (And maple syrup…they were selling beautiful, dark pure organic maple syrup for 17€ ($21) a liter…yum!)

  • Re: ice cream in a baggie. Back in girl scouts, we used to make this kind of ice cream – but instead of Ziplocs, we’d use two different-sized coffee cans, one inside the other. Same idea as the baggies, but probably more spill proof and maybe more fun, since you can just roll the can around on the floor instead of standing there shaking it.

  • I’ve used both Splenda and the Land O Lakes non-fat 1/2 & 1/2 to make ice cream with great success. And now that I know to add a bit of vodka to the mix, it should be even better. Thanks!

  • David, I take it back about too much cream in the strawberry sour cream ice cream. That was based on pre-time in the freezer (aka “when I was licking it off the dasher.”) Last night I dished it up for a big group of family (while we watched “Dreamgirls”) and everyone was crazy about it. Forget the low-fat sour cream. Though I might try it with brown sugar, still! As for the strawberry frozen yogurt: been there and done that — TWICE! LLLLLOVE it. :-)

    Our peach tree came ripe yesterday and the fruit is glorious. I’m making a batch of peach frozen yogurt today and peach ice cream tomorrow. Then we can do a side-by-side tasting. Wanna join us? :-p

  • Great tips! I’m guilty of decreasing the sugar but I’ll try not to do that anymore. I’ve read that you shouldn’t overchurn ice cream because it leads to a buttery, greasy mouthfeel.

  • This post is so interesting. Thanks for taking the time. But I find it odd, because my experience is that few ice creams freeze as hard as Haagen Dazs, and Blast freezers are what commercial ice cream makers use, hence all the nasty stabilizers.

    My favorite part about making homemade ice cream is the texture it is RIGHT out of the machine. And then I always temper rock-solid ice cream in the fridge (even in a professional kitchen.)

    Also– on the superfine sugar question– this is a sweeter and finer sugar. It does not weigh the same as granulated/caster, so it should not be substituted cup for cup. In sorbet you can really see a churning difference– it dissolves much more readily, and so lowers the freezing temp. better.

    and yes, unless the entire mixture of ic base is an emulsion, over-churning can produce nasty results– the butterfat does have a tendency to pull away from the rest of the mixture.

    and one last thing– careful of using just Agave. it tens to have a bitter edge/note and can appear in the mouth in the aftertaste. also it is not nearly as sweet as cornsyrup so cannot be substituted 1:1.

  • Shuna, great tips — thank you for adding in your $.10!

  • Hi Shuna: Thanks for adding in your tips. I haven’t bought any Haagen-Dazs in a while (I seem to always have a freezer-full of the homemade stuff!) but I recall it was scoop-able right out of the freezer. Others readers may want to chime in on that.

    I like my ice cream right out of the machine as well, although some folks say to ‘ripen’ ice cream for a while in the freezer for a few hours prior to eating it. I usually eat some right away—can’t help it—and some later.

    The folks at C&H (jokingly) told me they sell approximately 1 pound per year of superfine sugar so I presume that most people are using granulated. The white sugar in France that I use (sucre cristallise) has larger crystals than American white sugar and weighs in at 200gr/per cup. Superfine sugar is approximately 220gr/per cup so the difference for a quart of mixture is about 2 teaspoons.

    Yes, it is possible to overchurn ice cream, which turns it to butter. When I worked in a professional kitchen, we could only make custard-based ice creams because of that. But most (or all) home machines churn so slowly that I think it’s more difficult to overdo it.

    Thanks for your additional insights!

  • Hello David, Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I’ve been wondering about this for sometime – I’ll be putting yr tips in to practice!

  • I’m looking at that picture of salted butter caramel ice cream at the top of this page, and salivating. I made it a few weeks ago and it was by far the BEST ice cream I had ever made up to that point, partly because of the texture. I’ve now made both the vanilla and basil ice creams (thank you so much for including that recipe in your book — I have fond memories of a gelato stand in Germany that sold me my first and only basil gelato) and the texture has been perfect each time. I thought it might have been the egg yolks. Now I understand. Thanks for teaching us, in addition to providing fabulous recipes.

  • Hi David……
    How do your feet* look this summer???? LOL..
    (Am loving) “THE PERFECT SCOOP”
    I think (IMO) it’s the best book of yourse…and I give your chocolate book to everyone….. …
    keep on writing and inspiring us**….
    Passion can not be faked…..
    THANKS,
    ANDI*
    in Vegas

  • Great advice for any home ice cream makers. I am wondering if you could help me in the matter of caramel.

    Since heated sugar becomes harder, does the use of caramel in ice cream makes it harder? Hence one should reduce the amount used?

  • David – Thanks for everything. I’ve been collecting ice crean recipes for the last few years. However, they all end with, “…follow the instructions of the ice cream maker manufacturer” when it comes to freezing the mix. My ice cream texture is OK as a soft serve-type right out of the bowl, (Cuisinart-type) but when I try to firm it up in the freezer overnight it becomes way too hard and takes on a fine grainy texture. I’ve tried different recipes but they all tend to get the fine grain when the mix is ripened, so I’m thinking I’m either over churning, or underchurning with a bowl that’s too cold. I would think the churning would be the easiest part but I’m thinking there is something in the final process that I’m just not getting right. Any tips ? Thanks.

  • David,
    How much corn syrup should I swap with sugar if I want to use that method? A few tablespoons or more? Is it a 1 for 1 substitution? Corn syrup seems so much sweeter to me but it’s not as if I eat it raw often, so I might be wrong.
    Thanks, Ellen

  • Ellen: In general, liquid sweeteners like corn syrup and honey, are about sweeter then sugar. So you should use 2/3 to 3/4 of the quantity of sugar called for in the recipe. Note that some of these sweeteners, like honey, are acidic and can cause custard to curdle, so I like the add them at the end of cooking. So if using half sugar, use that to make the custard, adding the syrup or honey at the end.

  • David, Thanks for your reply! One more question…what do you think about adding a small amount of skim milk powder to the mix? I have only seen this in one cookbook, but it’s an author I trust for baking (Sweet Melissa). She says that the powder will absorb some of the water in the milk & cream. I’m not sure what this will do for the ice cream – make it creamier or richer perhaps? I googled quite a bit and mostly found it as an ingredient for commercial ice creams, but one article said it will add more “body” to the ice cream. Does that mean it adds to the creaminess? I’m going to try it myself, but still curious to hear your opinion.

    Also, I’d like to take a stab at replying to Craig: Craig, I never churn my ice cream as long as my maker’s instructions say (20 mins). Whenever I go longer than 15 mins, my ice cream is grainy. Churning less doesn’t do anything about how hard the ice cream gets later, but it does help keep it creamier. I don’t know why this is and I have never seen anyone address it, but for me going the full 20 mins is a mistake. Rest assured you may not be alone on this one!

  • The salted caramel never looked like it was done freezing so I took it out after about 27 minutes .After spending the night in my freezer it is the best ice cream I have ever tasted.The texture is perfect.Thanks for posting the recipe.

  • hey

    i have a tip on the riping of ice-cream, a lot of people say it should ripe in your freezer, but what i heard from a pastry chef in Ghent (Belgium) you should ripe it in your fridge before you freeze it, about 6 hours!, i do it overnight, impatience is my middle name, not as cool a middle name as danger, but we don’t choose who we are

    the good thing about it is that you can eat it without loss of flavour right after you churned it, also i think (i might be wrong, but it makes sence) that when it’s frozen, the flavours could be more fixed, less chemical reactions or changes can take place

    if anyone has an idea on this, please, let me know, maybe it’s not a good idea to keep it in your freezer that long..

  • Top of the day David,

    When it comes to ice cream, I’m quite the fanatic…however, I’m somewhat of those unfortunate few who are lactose/dairy intolerant. It was a dark day for me when my doctor helped me to realise this but as soon as I bought some lactose pills I was fine. Yet, I’ve always wanted to make my own ice cream but being lactose intolerant puts a bit of a damper on my wish.

    After much research and to mention experimentation, I have made numerous dairy free ice creams which also excludes of tofu. Many varieties of tofu ice cream are out on the market but most taste like liquified, frozen wood…the one exception being Tofutti. Also with my ice creams being dairy free they are also egg-free as I have a number of friends who are vegan and thus unable/unwilling to eat any animal products.

    Pretty much the base of ice cream is custard so to start, I make my base using equal amounts rice and soy milk with sugar and custard powder (usually Bird’s or Horne’s). This works wondefully as it thickens like a custard but not so thick it isn’t pourable into one’s machine.

    To substitue cream, I did use for a time a cream replacement called Nutriwhip (which was confirmed to me agreeable to both dairy free and vegan diets). Other similar products would be Rich’s Reddi-Whip (in it’s liquid form). Considering some of the ingredients in these products are questionable I wanted to find something a little healthier. Quite by accident I was in Whole Foods and found the product: Belsoy Organic Cooking Cream. All the ingredients are organic and contains no sugar – plus it pours to the consistency of whipping cream. I believe in Europe it is called Alpro Soy Vegetable Cream.

    Here is a recipe for you, which turned out to be my favourite of all the ones I’ve made thus far:

    Brown Bread Ice Cream

    1¾ cup soy milk
    1¾ cup rice milk
    2 cups Belsoy Organic Cooking Cream
    5 tbsp sugar
    2 ½ tbsp Bird’s or Horne’s Custard Power
    1 ¼ cup brown bread crumbs (I used 100% whole wheat – white bread is not permissible)
    ¼ cup brown sugar
    3 tbsp butter (I know this defeats my dairy free purpose but you can use Margarine or a light flavoured oil)
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    * In a pan melt butter over medium high heat
    * Add bread crumbs and stir until well coated in the butter/fat
    * Sprinkle the brown sugar over top and stir gently
    * Continue cooking and stirring until a molasses like smell permeates (about 5 to 7 minutes) – do not leave unattended as the bread could burn easily and ruin the ice cream
    * Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
    * In sauce pan bring 1 ¼ cup each of soy/rice milk with sugar to a boil
    * As the milk boils mix custard powder with remaining milk in large glass or bowl until power is dissolved
    * Add custard mix and bring to a boil while stirring continuously; allow to boil for 1 to 2 minutes
    * Remove from heat and pour through fine strainer into a bowl
    * Allow to cool completely
    * Add vanilla and Nutriwhip to custard; stir until uniform in colour
    * Follow instructions according to manufacturer
    * Crumble the crumbs into the mixture during the last ten minutes of mixing
    * Transfer to freezer proof dish and allow to freeze for 4 hours
    * Allow to soften 10 – 15 minutes before serving (if necessary)

    Another surprising and wondefully delicious recipe I made is what I call Paddington Bear Gelato. Very untraditional in as much as there is no custard, however, as the primary ingredient is Orange Marmalade (which Paddington Bear ate profusely in his sandwiches) the pectin renders the end result to a very velvety consistency (and also keeps the gelato freezing rock solid):

    Paddington Bear Ice Cream

    3/4 cup soy milk
    3/4 cup rice milk
    2 cups Belsoy Organic Cooking Cream
    2 cup Orange Marmalade
    1 tbsp orange extract
    1 tbsp vanilla extract

    * In large bowl mix marmalade with the extracts
    * Stir in milks and Nutriwhip until uniform in colour (very pale orange)
    * Cover and refrigerate until chilled
    * Follow instructions according to manufacturer
    * Transfer to freezer proof dish and allow to freeze for 4 hours
    * Allow to soften 10 – 20 minutes before serving (if necessary)

    I will certainly be trying your vodka suggestion on keeping the ice cream soft and not freezing brick solid in my next creation. Hopefully you’ll be inclined to try those above…as a note, my recipes are meant for a 2 quart maker.

    Cheers,
    Darrin

  • Darrin: Thanks for the recipes, which sound terrific! Hope readers looking for vegan alternatives will give them a spin.

    Merci!

  • I wonder if the KitchenAid ice cream attachment, being connected to a variable speed mixer, might not have some of the advantages of the commercial, high-speed gizmos. If you want denser ice cream, keep the speed on low; for flufflier, crank it up!

  • Hi david, im having difficulties with my homemade ice cream. Twice, the ice cream didnt freeze . They turned out to be mousse-like texture even after overnight in the freezer. What could be wrong? please help! thanks!

  • why do some recipes call for use of Flour? whats this do for the ice cream? i did some google searching first of course but didnt find any answers.

  • Jason: I haven’t seen flour in an ice cream recipe, although some use cornstarch. There’s an interesting recipe and explanation from Harold McGee.

  • Hi David, I have your book The Perfect Scoop and made 3 different types of ice-cream from your book and got the most amazing results! All 3, chocolate, coffee & white chocolate ice-cream turned out really really good, soft and creamy! Thanks for providing such great recipes! :)

    I am also a fan of your blog too! :D

  • Great tips! Since I don’t allow alcohol in my house or in my mouth, I really appreciate these non-alcoholic options.

  • As a vegan alternative to gelatin, try using agar-agar powder in the same amount as you would the gelatin. You can find it at health food stores and online. Xanthum gum is also helpful as a stabilizer and thickener (Bob’s Red Mill sells some), but doesn’t help smoothness, add just a little (1/2 to 1 tsp per Liter, depending on how thick your base is) in your no egg recipes. The Voluptuous Vegan cookbook has some ice cream recipes that call for xanthum gum. I recommend them. Good supplement to the vegan sorbet recipes in The Perfect Scoop.
    ciao

  • There are a number of errors in your text. First, corn syrup is not as sweet as sugar (sucrose) as it is mainly glucose (dextrose), which we do not sense to be as sweet as sucrose. Glucose is good at inhibiting ice crystal formation, however, so one way to reduce crystallization without making the ice cream too sweet is to add glucose. (Unfortunately, most corn syrup has vanilla added, and this might interfere with the flavor you desire.) You should not imply that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are the same product. The latter is altered to have a higher fructose concentration, because fructose is sweeter than glucose. You might also point out that our sensation of sweetness is reduced when eating something from the freezer, so a mixture that tastes too sweet at room temperature may be okay when frozen. Second, fats do freeze. Everything freezes. Crisco is frozen at room temperature – heat it and it melts, let it cool and it freezes. Perhaps what you mean to say is these common fats do not become rigid at typical freezer temperatures.

  • Hi David, Thanks for everything. When are you going to give us a recipe with spotted orchid (salep) for Turkish style ice cream?

  • hi Levent: I’d love to give it a try, but since most people can’t get mastic (and the cultivation of it is controversial), I haven’t given it a shot yet.

    Check out Keiko’s blog; she made a recipe for Rosewater, Cardamom, and Gum Mastic Ice Cream, with beautiful photos, of course.

  • Thank you David, i’m going to try it.

  • Great article! But I have to say, I am currently using your Blood Orange Sorbet recipe and added 1.5 tbs of Grand Marnier to the mix – to make it smoother (as you suggest above)….my mixture isn’t freezing (after an hour). Do you think I should have added the alcohol at the end of the churning process? None the less the mixture tastes divine and I can’t wait to eat it.

  • baranis: I’ve not had that problem, especially with that sorbet, as orange juice contains a lot of water and it normally freezes too hard.

    You might want to make sure your machine is prepared properly; if it’s one with a canister, make sure it’s been well-frozen, 24 hours in advance, before churning. You can also add more orange juice to the mixture, and try churning it again.

  • Hello David
    It is Valencia season here in Florida, and I typically make orange sorbet out of them when they are mid-season (about right now). I have always “improvised” the recipe by just using orange juice with sugar, and I have been going off of the % sugar for a sweet water ice in Harold McGee’s “The Curious Cook.” Basically, for a 2 cup mix, you use 1.5 cups of orange juice, 11 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. (I double it for my Cuisinart machine) The sorbet is scoopable out of the freezer with this formula, but I am trying to cut the sugar. Is there a general formula for replacement of sugar with vodka or some other alcohol to get a similar effect? Sometimes I don’t want a sorbet this sweet, but I definitely like the texture that this provides.

  • John: There is no exact formula for swapping one for the other that I know of. Happy churning!

  • For those who don’t want to use sugar, I use stevia, and it works great. No bitter flavor comes through. I use about 2-1/2 tsp. Of course, go by your own taste buds.

    QUESTION: Every time I use my cuisinart ice cream maker, a significant amount of the mix I’m using (whether dairy or almond or soy-milk) freezes to the side of the bowl. I’ve tried spraying the inside with Pam, but no luck. I lose up to 1/2 cup ice cream.

    Any suggestions to prevent instant freezing onto the bowl as the machine is churning?

    Thanks!
    Anita

  • Hi Anita: I’d imagine it’s the stevia, which doesn’t have the same qualities as the sugar to keep the ice cream malleable, hence the sticking to the side. (Low-fat ‘milks’, like soy and rice, will also contribute to that.)

    You can try a batch with regular sugar to see if that’s the case. If not, you might with to contact the manufacturer for advice.

  • I’m looking for a recipe (or help) on making a Lemoncello/Lemon sorbet. From all the posts, I understand that alcohol doesn’t harden and makes a softer final product. All the recipes say to add it at the churning process. I’m wondering that given the issues with alcohol, why a kirsh or a lemoncello is not added during the making of the simple syrup stage (or custard stage) and so the boiling leaves the flavor but eliminates the alcohol problem?

  • Hello David, I had a couple of questions for a pro. I just started making ice cream but have been in kitchen’s most of my working life. I have purchased a musso 5030 machine wich is beautiful. My first batches I have made useing a custard base with high quality organic cream and milk , ive noticed a greasy feeling and residue left on the scoop? I don’t think I churned the mix to much I actually felt like I should have kept churning. Is it simply to much cream even though its roughly the same amounts in almost all the recipe’s I see? Im thinking the quality cream and milk have more fat than normal milk most buy? The good news is the ice cream is not super rock hard the next day! Thank you very much, and I look forward to trying your salted carmel ice cream.
    Steve

  • Hi Stever: It’s best to contact the manufacturer since I’m not entirely familiar with it, and they are in a better position to advise you on the machine.

    Happy churning!

  • I just bought the kitchen aid ice cream maker attachment and have had the same greasy-feeling issue with my first 2 batches. I am thinking maybe it is the yogurt I am using — I used Stonyfield plain yogurt with Cream Top — it was the only regular (not fat free or light) plain yogurt I could find. Would the Cream Top be causing this issue? I’m not sure if I over-churned — how can you tell? I used 2 recipes from your book, David – the blueberry yogurt and coffee yogurt and the bases tasted incredible! I was just disappointed to find this weird texture sprinkled throughout both batches.

  • I love to make different combinations with my ice cream and have with good results but I have hit a questionable addition. Apples.

    I use a cream / half and half base for my ice cream and am worried that apples – have not yet decided to go fresh tossed in sugar or cooked slightly – will cause curdling or make the cream break down because if their acid.

    Suggestions?

    • Heather: I’ve not made apple ice cream so can’t advise. i do have a pear-based ice cream in my ice cream book that works well, so you might want to adapt it to apples.

  • Hi,

    If I want a less sweet ice-cream, can I get the same creamy effect in my home-made ice-cream if I increase the fat and the egg yolk in the ice-cream but reduce the amount of sugar?

    Would very much appreciate your reply. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Jane

  • Hi,

    If I want a less sweet ice-cream, can I get the same creamy effect in my home-made ice-cream if I increase the fat and the egg yolk in the ice-cream but reduce the amount of sweetness (sugar / corn syrup / honey)?

    Would very much appreciate your reply. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Jane

  • Hello,
    I know most people are looking to reduce fat in ice cream, but I was wondering if it’s possible to incorporate clarified butter into ice cream to give it a buttery taste. I am trying to make a cake batter ice cream without adding powdered cake mix, and the ingredients I have in mind for that flavor are real butter and buttermilk. Perhaps I could just add it to the simmering milk before I pour that into the eggs. Any thoughts?

  • Hi Beth: Yes, people have made Brown Butter Ice Cream, and you can use a search engine to find a variety of recipes which you can likely adapt using clarified butter. Happy churning!

  • Dear David,
    My name is Tim Young,
    I am 17 and live in Hobart Tasmania.
    Over the years I have suffered with a huge weight problem caused through having no hypothalamus which was unfortunately was cut out at the age of five when I had a brain tumor which was growing around my hypothalamus so they cut out may hypothalamus as well to reassure that they had fully removed all of the tumor. The tumor was removed successfully but the ending results weren’t so pleasant as I began to load on weight about two or so weeks after the operation. So the problem is now that I don’t metabolize food into energy It goes straight into fat. I have tried lots of different diets and now I am on a diet from doctor called Sandra Cabot who is in Sydney.
    Her diet is a no sugar and no grains diet.

    Anyway what I wanted is how you get ice-cream to stay scoop able when in the freezer and not have to defrost it.
    I have brought xanthan gum and guar gum (vegetable gum) to use in it but have no idea about what quantities to put in there as my first batch was still rock hard.
    I was also wondering what ingredients the ice cream manufactures use in there ice cream as my ice cream tastes nothing at all like real ice cream it actually tastes horrible.
    I use:
    6 egg yolks
    1cup of milk
    X2 cups of cream
    1 cup of sugar
    Vanilla
    1/4th of a tsp xanthan gum and guar gum for every cup of mixture

    But this doesn’t taste the same at all. I have hear briefly that the manufactures actually don’t use eggs they gut use dried egg powder.
    But what other ingredients do they use?

    I have also tried alcohol but it didn’t work either.

    So I guess my main question was what ingredients do ice-cream manufactures use in there ice cream??????????????????

    Cheers, Tim Young
    Hope to hear back soon. 

  • This has been my biggest issue with attempting ice cream at home and I appreciate all of this information. It helps to understand why my gelato seemed less rock hard than my ice cream, since it had more egg yolks. I store my Ben & Jerrys on the door but whatever I made went deep into the recesses of the freezer, so I should rethink that too! Is it too cold to try more recipes from The Perfect Scoop? Never!

  • HELP! Tried making vanilla ice cream in a machine and it turned butter-like with hard little butter pieces. I am assuming the machine turned it into butter. What did I do wrong…all that lovely vanilla bean and milk and cream wasted. I used David’s recipe of Philly style ice cream. Your advice most appreciated!

    Best wishes,

    Olga

  • Olghina: It sounds like your machine overchurned the ice cream. Most machines stop churning as the ice cream firms up but yours may not. You can try melting the ice cream then rewarming it just enough to melt the bits of butterfat, and try rechurning it.