Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recipe: Yogurt and QT's Ridiculously Easy Low-Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream

Yeah, so I'm at that awkward "I've been gone for so long... How do I start-up again?" stage...

I probably owe ya'all a Summer Garden Recap - but that was kind of anticlimactic (given the Spring-Seed-Starting Frenzy!).  But I'm not quite ready to post about that...

Ehh...  When all else fails, fall back on a cheesy recipe, right?!

So yeah, one of the things I started getting into, this past summer, was yogurt-making.  This was primarily because the dermatologist had put me on antibiotics, full-time.  Antibiotics, as I'm sure you're aware, kill all bacteria - even the "good bugs" in your stomach so, consequently, I've decided that it would be best to counteract that with probiotics  in the form of homemade yogurt.

Added bonus:  It gave me an opportunity to use-up some of the AMPLE low-sugar jams that I'd put-up last year!  Half cup of yogurt, couple of tablespoons of jam, and a teaspoon or two of sweetener (I've been using mainly Splenda) - makes for a tasty, (mostly) healthy treat...

So I bought a cheesy-cheap yogurt-maker from Groupon (no clue how long that link is good for, nor do I get any "kick-backs" if you happen to click on it).

The yogurt maker came with recipes.  Plus there's a ton of recipes on the 'net as well.  Basically all I've been doing is making plain yogurt from half-and-half + nonfat dry mik (for thickness), then flavoring with whatever SF Jams I excavate from the garage!

Plain Yogurt Recipe:
4 cups half-and-half
1/4-1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
Fresh yogurt culture*

*First Batch: 1/2 cup plain store-bought yogurt (with "live cultures" - check the label)
*Subsequent batches: Just use 1-2 TBS of plain yogurt from your last batch
*Optional: You can also add the contents of one tablet of Probiotic supplement

Mix the half-and-half + NF Dry milk with a whisk.  Heat the mixture to 185*F.  I've found it's easiest to nuke it in a glass pyrex measuring cup.  Appx 5 mins to start, then check the temp with a candy thermometer.  Keep nuking in 1 minute increments 'til the "milk" reaches 185*.  Then let it cool down til it's appx 110-120*F, then add the "starter culture." (store-bought - or use your last batch)

Pour the milk+yogurt mixture into your yogurt maker.  Plug it in and let it cook for appx 8-10 hours.  The longer you cook it, the "sourer" it gets - so it's a personal taste thing...

If it separates and gets liquidy on the top (even if it's a funky color), you can just stir it back in - after cooking time is complete.  Store, sealed, in the fridge.

Serve it by mixing your favorite fruit jam and adding sweetener, to taste...

Okay, so I made up a couple-three batches of yogurt.  It really is quite tasty - but was starting to get a little boring (I'm actually not a huge fan of yogurt - to be honest!).  So then I decided that, maybe, frozen yogurt might be a bit tastier.

I surfed online and found this on Amazon.  I actually do have an electric ice-cream maker in our storage shed, but it requires ice and salt and time and - besides - it's buried under camping equipment (and it makes much larger quantities than I need or want).  This li'l beasty - with it's 1.5 quart capacity - is perfect (since my yogurt-maker makes 1 quart at a time).  I also like that the "bowl" has freezer-gel inside of it.  Toss the bowl in the freezer and it's ready-to-roll whenever you wanna mix-up a batch of Fro-Yo or...  ICE CREAM!

Yep - You were wondering when I was gonna get to the Ice Cream part, huh?!

Alllllrighty then!  I am *almost* there!  My first couple of batches were actually peach Fro-Yo (Future Post:  2013 was "The Year of the Peaches" - to the point where I was actually having nightmares about harvesting peaches!).  I had some frozen "Peach-Spice Butter" out in the garage freezer.

I basically peeled/pitted a sh*tload of peaches and dumped 'em in the crock-pot with cinnamon, nutmeg and Splenda brown-sugar blend.  Cooked 'em down for several hours and pureed them using an immersion blender, then stuck the resulting gooze into plastic freezer containers.  So it ended up being 4 cups of yogurt + 1 cup of frozen peach-spice butter + a couple-three squirts of Toriani sugar-free peach syrup, all tossed into the ice-cream maker for 20-30 minutes.  Dee-lish!

And - well, I'm still experimenting with the whole Fro-Yo thing - so I'm not quite ready to start posting bona-fide recipes - yet.

But....  Since Beloved Hubs seems to suffer from Giaourtiophobia (Ooh!  New Scrabble Word!), and because I'd purchased a half-gallon of Manufacturer's Cream without checking the expiration date (it was expiring the next day - Oops!), I decided to whip-up a batch of low-sugar (but definitely NOT low-fat!) vanilla ice cream!

Cuisinart Ice-Cream/Fro-Yo Maker
(Yes, Crappy Droid Pic!)

Okay, so here is where I started:  Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

And this is where I ended up:

QT's Ridiculously Easy Low-Sugar (but not low-fat) Vanilla Ice Cream
Yield - appx 9 @ 1/2 cup servings

  • 2C Heavy Cream 
  • 2C Half-N-Half
  • 1T Vanilla
  • 1/4C granulated sugar
  • 1/4C granulated Splenda
  • 1 small pkg (1oz) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding 
  1. Make sure the cream and half-n-half are well-chilled (stick the cartons in the back of your fridge).
  2. Combine vanilla, sweeteners and pudding mix into the half-n-half.  Whisk until well-blended.  Then add cream and stir it in.
  3. Pour the mix into a chilled ice-cream maker and let 'er rip for 20-30 mins (mine was done in appx 15, actually).
Super-Duper Creamy and delicious!  Recipe notes:  I was reading where folks were complaining that the recipe ended up being more like "butter" than ice-cream so that's why I am suggesting that the cream gets blended in LAST - and make sure it is super-chilled before doing so.  I didn't experience "butter" - but I figured I'd make mention of it...

I expect that I'll be doing a lot more experimentation with Fro-Yo - as well as Ice Cream.  And probably something incorporating protein shake mixes as well.  When I experience "successes" I will make an effort to post 'em here...



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