Hi faithful followers and welcome new guests! Spring has sprung in Pennsylvania, making focusing on the final few weeks of the semester harder than ever. Between hyacinths blooming and daffodils smelling like heaven, mass transfer just seems to float out of my brain. Let’s jump in to my newest flavor: almond milk and cashew milk ice creams swirled together and mixed with sugar-coated almonds and cashews.
I have toyed with the idea of a dairy-free ice cream for a while now. And while I am not quite ready to make the full jump into non-dairy land, I am getting my feet wet. Nut-free milks are all the rage right now, so I’ll play along with this trend too!
This past weekend, I took advantage of my relative lack of work and went home. I realized that I need to maximize my time with my mom and dad before I spend three months away from them. It was a glorious weekend. Between my mom and I dancing in the grocery store, and our sitting in the sun on the beach, it was just great. I sat and read a great book and pretended that lab reports did not exist. I convinced myself for a while too!
The ocean has always had a special place in my heart, but not just any ocean. Specifically the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Long Beach Island, at the northern tip, around 20ish streets from the lighthouse. That’s the best expanse of ocean. Where my cousins and I have played ocean tag, which we called Churro, where I have seen sunrises that I’ve cried about. Words cannot describe the peace I have when I’m sitting at the ocean. And it may be the thing I will miss most when I grow up; that I cannot spend my days at the beach and travel everywhere via beach cruiser.
Enough of my getting old woes, let’s get back to the good stuff. Ice cream. I was concerned about the feasibility of a non-dairy ice cream. Usually they involve coconut milk as the heavy cream and egg substitute that holds the ice cream together. So I did not go full-scale non-dairy this time. I replaced the dairy milk with almond milk in half of the flavor and cashew milk in the other.
If you’ve never had these milk alternatives, I would give them a try. Their taste has a slight nutty flavor and it is always thick and rich like whole dairy milk. It goes great in cereal too! So I had full confidence in these milks to be a great and successful replacement for milk in the making process.
The sugared cashews and almonds were going to add a sweet crunch to add to the overall taste experience of this flavor. I didn’t want to overdo it with the mix-ins, it was meant to be a smooth and creamy flavor.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
The process, despite it being with cashew and almond milk, was identical to any other basic ice cream. But I had to do it twice, once for each type of milk. First, I heated the milk. Then the eggs were tempered in. And then a custard making and cooling. I’m sure you all can recite this process by now, but I still get a little nervous when tempering in the eggs and making a custard. The image of those ice cream scramble eggs that happened in my first attempt always flashes before my eyes.
To make my sugared add-ins, I whisked up an egg yolk and poured in the nuts. Then sprinkled on some sugar, spread on a baking sheet and let them bake for an hour. It seemed like forever, but they came out perfectly crunchy, addicting and delicious.
When it churned, I could only do one at a time. So I churned almond first, and poured it into the pint. I found my trusty homemade wax paper divider and stuck it in there. Then I froze it on its side while I churned the cashew. When I spooned it into the pint, the divider came out easily and perfectly, although the colors were exactly the same. I should have created some sort of demarcation because now I have no idea which flavor is which!
I didn’t taste this flavor right away. I was scurrying around trying to tie up other loose ends with homework and such. My ice cream nearly slipped my mind. Until the other day when I reached into the freezer to try a bite. My initial reaction was…maybe I just didn’t get a good spoonful. So I tried another, and another. And what I tasted was nothing. The sugared almonds and cashews had lost their crunchy sugar layer. And the ice cream; well it was just bland. It just tasted like frozen cream. Not like a sweet cream either. Just plain ole bland.
This was a huge disappointment for me. I was hoping to have an unexpectedly delicious flavor in this. But, I suppose it was not meant to be. Don’t be expecting this flavor to be hitting shelves anytime soon. They can’t all be winners and there aren’t any participation trophies in ice cream making. It stinks, but the world is still turning!
Why focus on that sad negativity? Let’s talk about exciting things instead! For instance, I went to a concert (fun fact alert!). It was a little artist named John Mayer. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Yeah he was pretty spectacular. His voice and guitar playing are unparalleled I think in today’s music. He puts on an amazing show and made the audience feel like we were all his friends. The setlist ranged from his classic hits, to his new album and even some of my favorite not-as-well-known songs. It was a joy and now I can say I have seen my three favorite artists in concert: Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Miranda Lambert. I am one happy camper today.
Join me next week for another adventure. I can’t promise the flavor will knock your socks off, but you can always count on a new tale! Thanks for reading and scoop ya later!