This post kicks off National Ice Cream Month. For the next while I will be posting some fun to do with ice cream. Recipes, funny story, some theory here and there. In the meantime, enjoy this soft-serve from my past.
You know what? In theory, ice cream is no big deal to make. All it is – a mixture of a rich liquid that is frozen while churned to add air to it. (Introduction of air to the base is known as “overrun”.) Yep, no big deal.
Let me tell my little story about ice cream.
Back in 2001, I started dating an awesome woman (who would later become my wife) so of course I wanted to impress her. I went out and bought an ice cream maker from the local hardware store. It cost me $100, and you had to freeze the canister overnight in order to make the ice cream.
This was the ice cream maker I bought for $100. Sounded like a demon cat caught in a dryer! (Picture links to my Amazon store.)
I didn’t know what kind of ice cream to make. Now, you would think that someone who just got a brand-new, shiny ice cream machine would start out with the basics? Perhaps vanilla?
Hell no. I asked her what her favorite ice cream was.
Smarties… of course. So, I set out to make Smarties ice cream.
Of course, there were no books on how to make Smarties ice cream. I had a computer that had dial up. The best thing that I could figure on was heck, it’s just chocolate ice cream with Smarties added to it.
An aside… how lucky are we today?
This was back in 2001, and although cable Internet was available in our area, certainly not for staff accommodation. Imagine the horror of downloading a song that took 3-4 minutes to download! Napster never really caught on up there.
Now, today I could just pull out my Samsung Note 4, and within 3 seconds could have a link to a YouTube video that would show me how to make that Smarties ice cream. Back then, no such thing. I think I had a flip cell phone that was horrible to text with.
No problem. ONWARD!
So, I figured I would make the ice cream base. Chocolate. Seemed easy enough. I made ice cream once in cooking school. (Unfortunately, that was also the last time I had made it. No restaurant I worked at would produce an ice cream that you could just buy.)
I made the chocolate custard mixture, then cooled it before starting the churning process.
A quaint review of the ice cream maker above:
That ice cream maker sounded like someone caught a cat and tossed it into a dryer. Here I was, trying to impress my girlfriend with this machine whirring so loud, and obnoxious. Of course I had to put it in the bathroom! You could barely watch the television with the bathroom door closed, but it was passable.
Besides, my girlfriend would know my ice cream making prowess!
So, I knew that you had to add the Smarties near the end. Problem was, I had no idea when. So I added them when I thought the mixture was firm enough. Turns out this machine didn’t produce the same texture as the one from Cooking School. I remember thinking, “Meh, what’s the difference?”
In the Smarties went, with 10 minutes time to go.
The machine (that poor cat!!) whirred away, until it finally stopped.
I ran to the bathroom and triumphantly looked at my new ice cream!
The candy coating from the Smarties had worn off from the churning and all the colors mixed to a greyish black.
Unfazed, thinking I could explain the color away, I scooped up a bowl of it and tentatively served it to my girlfriend. I remember her looking down at it and the look in her eyes betrayed what she was thinking. (Why did he make this when he could have just bought it? It doesn’t look very good.)
Listen, I was confident, okay? My eyes implored her, please just try it, you won’t be sorry!
(Full disclosure here… I don’t remember if I even tasted it. Seriously, I was so wrapped up in it, I didn’t even taste it. OF COURSE IT WAS GONNA TASTE GOOD. I MADE IT!)
The full review of my AWESOME ice cream?
I took a tentative taste of the grayish goop with bits of dead zombie Smarties. Oh, zombie? Maybe that was too nice.
Imagine for a second you were a five year old again, and got a mitt full of Smarties. Now, stuff them into your mouth and let the candy coating melt up in there. Got that taste sensation? Now imagine eating a spoonful of that yumminess!
I liked sweet things back then. I lived on coffee with sugar, donuts, cookies, and desserts. This was a whole new level. Gagging sweet.
My girlfriend was really nice that day. She kept going out with me.
To this day my wife will hesitate to eat ice cream I make.
On the back of that, who can blame her?
I’m proud to say that my ice cream skills have improved immensely. July is Ice Cream Month. For the next while I will be posting various frozen desserts made with the ice cream maker from this post.
Have you ever had an ice cream that just sucked? Let me know in the comments!