Vanilla Ice Cream: Sugar Free

I have been working on vanilla ice cream and root beer ice frozen floats for our family 4th of July party.   My mom can’t eat much sugar, so I wanted to make sugar free ice cream for her.

I used the same recipe as my vanilla ice cream. I replaced the sugar with a Stevia blend.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this sugar free vanilla ice cream tastes. I do not generally like the taste of sugar substitutes. However, this almost tastes just about like the real thing to me.

If you are cutting back on sugar for some reason, but still want homemade ice cream this is a great recipe. Is is incredibly simple, but still tastes good.

I halved the recipe because I don’t expect many people to want the sugar free version.  I still had no issues with it mixing and turning into ice cream.

Sugar Free Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar substitute and whisk until the sugar substitute is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar substitute visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream mixture
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.

 

-Joshua

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Vanilla Ice Cream

For the 4th of July, I wanted to make vanilla custard and root beer ice sundaes based on Rita’s Frozen Yogurt Gelatis. Rita’s Gelati is a frozen yogurt and Italian ice.  They have a variety of flavors that changes every day. I have already been experimenting with the root beer ice part of the sundae.

All of the ice cream that I have made in the past has actually been frozen custard.  Custard uses egg yokes and is quite creamy.  Lynn told me that we have way to many egg yokes already.  She has quite a number in the freezer, so she asked me to make ice cream instead.  Since I was going to make a different style of ice cream I had to look up a recipe, my typical trusty recipe wouldn’t work this time.

I ended up learning a little bit about ice cream in this recipe search.  Apparently, the style I was making before is French-style ice cream.  I found a new recipe for something called Philadelphia style ice cream.  It uses less ingredients, and requires less work.  The custard requires cooking, and if done incorrectly can have egg chunks in the custard.  The Philadelphia style doesn’t need cooking, all it requires is mixing.

This is a very easy recipe to make.  I am going to use this one through out the summer and add different flavors to it.  There was so much less mess and work compared to the custard I usually make.

Recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma. 

I think the recipe included unnecessary steps, so I omitted those.  For instance it says to chill the ice cream mixture in a bowl of ice.  I didn’t do this because it is a cold mixture that is being put into the refrigerator.  Why waste the time and the ice?  The ice cream turned out well without doing that part.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream mixture
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.

 

This is a really good vanilla ice cream.  It isn’t near so heavy as the custard, so it is much less filling.  I think it is better for hot summer days when you don’t want to be over full.

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I made another batch of the root beer ice to try with the ice cream.  I don’t want to bring something to a party that I have never tried myself.

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This is a really good combination, and I highly recommend it.  I know I made it, but it is really good. Today, I am going to make the root beer ice with the natural root beer extract we bought. I will probably make a post about it since it is a little different.

-Joshua

Root Beer Float Macarons

A few weeks ago, we were able to sample some store-bought macarons. Buying four of them gave us sticker shock at $2.50 a piece! So, we didn’t share them with the kids. Our poor kids. I didn’t realize what an expensive treat they were getting when I make them at home!

Yesterday, I finally got to try baking root beer float macarons! I used my usual base recipe: Parisian Macarons.  I ended up winging the root beer flavor addition though. This is my third time making macarons. You can read about my first attempt and second attempt here on The Geek Homestead also.

These macarons didn’t turn out quite as pretty as my last two tries, but they still tasted great.

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Look at that poor misshapen one on the left…

This time, I made an appropriate filling for a root beer float macaron: vanilla bean buttercream. It is half-based on the vanilla buttercream filling for the Victoria Sponge Celebration Cake at Jane’s Patisserie. After visiting that link, I now want some cake!

I was aiming for a vanilla ice cream flavor for the filling and it was perfect.

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I used the seeds of a whole vanilla bean in the buttercream. I love the little flecks!

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I did make a bit of a mistake with the flavoring in the macaron shells though. I used 2½ teaspoons of root beer concentrate. I should have used about double that, maybe 4 to 5 teaspoons. I also added a half teaspoon of cocoa powder just to add more color. But the cocoa powder ended up being too strong in flavor. My son Matthias was able to taste the chocolate. I will have to think of another way to add color I think. Brown sugar? Molasses? Or maybe food coloring might have to be the way to go.

 

I also accidentally made a 2-inch diameter macaron and find that I kind of like that size. I will probably make my next batch that way. Josh has requested jasmine-flavored macarons, so those will be my next macaron experiment.

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Macarons make people happy!

I borrowed a book from the library all about French Patisserie and it has a whole chapter dedicated to macarons. I think I might be baking my way through that chapter!

-Lynn

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Pots de Creme

What do you do when you have just a little bit of heavy cream sitting in your fridge? I didn’t feel like making scones, or butter, or whipped cream, or using it in my coffee. So I hit the Internet to look for a recipe. Someday, I’ll get around to making up my own recipes, but for now, there are so many fabulous recipes online that I want to try first!

I ended up at Alexandra Cooks and my crazy kitchen experiment for Wednesday was to make pots de creme. My husband, Josh, had a root canal on Wednesday after work, and I wanted to make him something special. Yes, this ended up being a dessert just for us adults! I made it up to my kids yesterday by making them vanilla bean yogurt with oreo cookie crumbs for dessert after dinner.

Actually, the real reason we couldn’t share with the kids: not enough heavy cream to make the whole recipe! I had to halve the recipe I used because I only had 1¼ cups of heavy cream instead of the full 2½ cups needed for the full recipe.

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I love my canister of vanilla sugar. I just replenished this with fresh vanilla beans two weeks ago so it was ready to be used. Since there were plenty of lovely bean flecks in the sugar, I skipped adding the seeds of one vanilla bean to the cream and milk. I also used one of the whole beans in the canister to steep in the cream and milk mixture for an hour.
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My four mismatching ramekins. Alexandra mentions Weck jars in her blog post and I have seen those before. I eventually want to buy some just for using for desserts! A note: the white ramekins worked better than the glass ones. The glass ones were a tad bit too big I think.
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I heated the milk, cream and about half the sugar to about 100 degrees F. The recipe says until hot to the touch. Hopefully, 100 degrees F wasn’t too high. Then, I covered the pot and let it sit for about an hour. Then, I tempered the egg yolks with the rewarmed cream mixture and whisked everything together in a glass measuring cup. I did strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into another bowl, but the mixture didn’t really seem to need it. I’m assuming the mesh strainer is to catch any possible cooked egg.

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My filled ramekins in a square glass pan, which is then set on top of a cookie sheet. I then proceeded to do something a little crazy!

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One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn’t the same! I wrapped one of the ramekins with plastic wrap so I could check when the pots de creme were set without having to take foil off. I was afraid it would melt in the oven but it didn’t. Yes, it got a little bit misshapen after baking, but it didn’t stick to anything or collapse into an awful mess.

I kept these in the oven for about 50 minutes. They actually never really looked like they were set in the oven. I made the mistake once of expecting a custard cake to look set in the oven after baking but I ended up ruining it. So out these came whether or not they looked set. I was hoping they would set once they cooled and were put in the fridge. And they did!

There was a little bit of skin on top. I should have pressed plastic wrap onto the top of each of these like I do when I make custard.

These are awful pics, but you can tell these are definitely not liquid anymore after about 8 hours in the fridge. Phew! And… the verdict! These are so good but probably so bad for you! I think these are a lot like custard, but they were more velvety than custard.  They are a lovely dessert that I will definitely make again and I can see making many different kinds of flavors! Passionfruit vanilla pots de creme anyone?

-Lynn

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Saturday Post: Devil’s Food Whiteout Cake and Vanilla Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This past week has been one of those crazy ones, but I think the week (and days!) before Thanksgiving will always be like that. My youngest son, Rhys, turned 4 on Tuesday, and I wanted to do something special for his birthday party that we had today. Usually, when we have family over for a birthday party, I go all out on the food (lumpia, pancit, maybe Filipino barbecue, and any other delicious dishes my family brings to the party). This year, I decided to try something different and make Rhys’s birthday cake. Most times, I buy a fun birthday cake from the grocery store or will buy one of Costco’s huge birthday cakes. Cake is not one of my baking talents.

One of the cookbooks I borrowed from the library – Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan – has an amazing-looking cake on the cover. I had to try making it!

It was not the easiest cake in the world to make. In fact, my first attempt did not work out (the cake layers stuck to the pans) and I used one of the cake layers as the cake crumbs that were pressed into the frosting. So, it took me 3 days to fully make this cake. On Thursday, I had my failed attempt, on Friday, I successfully baked two layers for the cake and refrigerated them overnight, and today, I made the frosting for the cake and assembled it.

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I also was not able to make the Italian meringue frosting that was used in the recipe. I only had 4 hours this morning to assemble the cake as well as clean the house. So I went with a simple cream cheese frosting from probably my favorite food blog: Simply Recipes by Elise Bauer. The frosting part was the easy part. Getting the cake crumb topping onto the cake was more difficult. Which is probably why it looks a bit of a mess.

The cake was very brownie-like and fudgy for a cake and it tasted great. It wasn’t too sweet and the chocolate flavor shone through. I used a 60% cocoa chocolate bar for the bittersweet chocolate and Hershey milk chocolate for the chopped chocolate.

The adults all liked the cake, but the birthday boy hardly ate any of his! This is funny to me because he is the one who requested a chocolate chocolate cake. I was also surprised that one of my nephews, who does NOT like cake, ate his whole piece and wanted more! So I guess it really was more like a brownie. 🙂

I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the Italian meringue, so I am going to try and make it for my husband’s birthday in January.


 

Tomorrow, our Sunday School class is having a breakfast potluck. I wasn’t sure what to bring as I was a bit baked out from the birthday cake ordeal. I told my husband about the potluck, and then I went looking for something that was quick to make but would still taste good.

I was about to make some Cream Cheese muffins and set about preparing to do so when Josh walked into the kitchen and asked if we could bring cookies. I was a little surprised. Bring cookies to class for breakfast? Then, he specified that he wanted to make Vanilla and Earl Grey tea cookies.

We have been wanting to try making these for a while, ever since we saw Earl Grey tea biscuits on a biscuit episode of the Great British Bakeoff. They were actually not that hard to make, especially with Josh and I both working together. I had a lot of fun baking with him. We should do that more often!

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The brand of Earl Grey we used. I think we ended up using about 12 tea bags.

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Butter, lots of butter! 2 sticks to be exact or 1 cup.

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Josh took care of getting the tea leaves out of the bags.

We should have just taken the lid off the food processor to put in the rest of the ingredients: flour, salt, powdered sugar. But this lid isn’t very easy to put on. If we start using the food processor more, we might be in the market to get a better one. We made quite a mess getting all the ingredients in there. Also, because the finer ingredients kept escaping out of the bowl, Josh was not able to grind up the two vanilla beans completely. We had to sift out the larger pieces of vanilla beans using a mesh strainer. To replace the chunks of vanilla beans that were not ground, Josh added some vanilla extract.

 

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The dough looks a little odd with all the chopped up vanilla bean and tea leaves, but the dough tasted good just like this!

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It looks even odder when it is rolled into a log. This was rolled in and sprinkled with raw sugar and then wrapped in plastic wrap to go in the freezer.

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I think the TARDIS will be showing up in a lot of our baking/cooking pictures. This is a cookie jar that I got from my sister-in-law for Christmas last year. I store candy in it instead of cookies. I love it!

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After being in the freezer for 30 minutes, the log was ready to be sliced. Josh sliced it into 1/3 inch cookies or as close as he could get to 1/3 inch.

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The cookies after baking. They probably could be a little bit browner but the bottoms had already browned so Josh took them out. I think they tasted good like this, with just a little bit of crisp to them.
All of my children except one liked these cookies. The one who didn’t like them probably had issues with the ground tea leaves. He is very particular about the texture of his food.

The tea flavor is very subtle in these cookies. I was able to taste the black tea but not very much of the bergamot. The vanilla is the best part of the cookies though. They are buttery and perfect with a cup of tea!