Welcome one and all! Happy Halloweekend! This weekend at my school it is both a celebration of Halloween and Homecoming; aka the dream weekend. Me? I am in the library working on my four major projects that all seem to be due the same day.
I have been dreading telling you about this flavor. It is a red wine ice cream with gingersnap cookies. And…it is a failure of a flavor. So if you are feeling like nothing is going right in your life right now, settle in for a good read about someone who is struggling just like you.
Alcohol-infused ice creams are very popular these days. I wanted to give a stab at it myself, but with some added pizzazz. I love gingersnap cookies, as evidenced by my gingersnap flavor, so I figured this would be a cozy fall flavor. But, I did not want my cookies to get soggy or get covered in chocolate. Why does this happen in ice cream?
Well, obviously there is water present in ice cream. Not all of these water molecules are bound to other molecules. They are sometimes just off on their own, in their own little world. When a water molecule finds a crunchy, dry inclusion in ice cream, they soak into it. And when they call enough of their friends (free water molecules), the cookie becomes soggy and falls apart. The most popular way to stop this water molecule invasion is to cover the cookie or inclusion in chocolate. If you have ever seized chocolate when melting it by accidentally using something wet, you know how much chocolate hates water. By coating your cookie in chocolate, it forms a barrier to water, keeping it crunchy on the inside and a yummy chocolate taste on the outside. This is not a flawless idea though.
There are little channels that form in the chocolate that let water in, like little water highways. So your cookie will stay crunchy at first, but not indefinitely, because those little tricky invaders are still getting in!
The process I tried this week has a similar basis, but without the addition of the chocolate flavor. Not everything goes with chocolate sadly. This week, I coated cookies in coconut oil as a barrier. Oils are very hydrophobic and they are so scared of those water molecules that nothing gets past! I tried and tested this idea in making this week’s ice cream.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
Before I made any ice cream base, I had some experimenting to do. First, I had to test out my hypothesis that coating gingersnaps in ice cream would keep them crunchy and fresh without adding any unnecessary flavors. I coated cookies in melted coconut oil until they were drenched. Then I let them freeze for an hour before conducting a taste test. My subject (my mom) could not taste the difference between a fresh and a coated cookie. Now that it was confirmed that there was no flavor interference, I had to make sure it could hold up against water molecules. I let the soaked cookies sit in vanilla ice cream for days and tested it often for signs of sogginess. I wish I had fancy lab equipment to test this, but I just used my senses (aka ate it). No sogginess was detected at all. Hypothesis confirmed.
Next I made the ice cream base. My recipe research recommended I boil down a bottle of wine into wine syrup and incorporate it into a normal custard base. Because I am not much of a wine snob and know next to nothing about wine, I just used a bottle of red wine I found in my house. I boiled it down and tasted it at the end…and proceeded to spit it out. It tasted like vinegar! Turns out, it was some sort of red blend which was not the type I was supposed to use. Ruby port is one of the sweetest wines and would retain its sweetness as I boiled it down.
So I tried it again! This wine syrup was still sweet and yummy so I carried forward with my custard base. I used a custard base to make it rich and creamy, in keeping with the cozy fall theme. You guys could recite this process by now I am sure.
First I heated the milk and whisked the eggs and sugar. Then I tempered the milk into the eggs and cooked it until it formed a custard. This custard formed very fast and I almost overcooked it! After straining, I added the cream and wine reduction. It sure looked pretty, but how would it taste?
I let it churn while my mom and I were making dinner. And when I smelled a cheese-like flavor, I just assumed it was the taco cheese we were using. But no, it was coming from my ice cream. How could wine ice cream smell like cheddar cheese?! I couldn’t give up on it after all the work I put into it. I let it finish churning and folded in the gingersnaps before freezing.
The next day, I ate a quick scoop and I was dismayed. Not only did it smell cheesy, but it tasted like it too. I didn’t cry, but I sure was close. I have pondered why this happened for a while now, and I have no explanation. All I am sure of is that this flavor is relegated to the flavor graveyard and will not be served at any scoop shop of mine. I think my idea was good and interesting, but the final product begs to differ.
I still love ice cream and making it and telling you about it. This flavor will not break me! I am still going to take over the ice cream world with my passion and lab coat. Never fear fans!
Whoever told me senior year was easy must have their pants on fire now. Because it was a big fat lie! This year I think I am busier than ever. My brain is also specialized in keeping me stressed by jumping from subject to subject. By the end of the week, my roommate and I have no desire to go out to bars or party. Instead we eat dinner at 6 pm and fall asleep promptly by 7. That is our crazy night. Is that what adulting feels like? If so, we are grannies.
My fun fact this week is that I am going to be a cowgirl this year for Halloween. The costume is the most cost-effective for me, as it is just my normal clothes! I shined up my cowboy boots just for the occasion. What would make my costume even more convincing is a horse and a lasso. I wish I could squeeze a horse into the budget this year!
Well my friends, I must return to researching reaction orders of biogas conversion! Sounds riveting right?! Until next week, scoop ya later!