Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Ice Cream Experiment

Today I decided to do a little experiment. The whole milk and whipping cream in the fridge had been begging me to make ice cream for a few days, and I finally got around to it. We don't have an ice cream maker, so I was just going to make it soft-serve style in plastic bags. Making it this way would be a perfect summer activity for kids. Shaking up the ice cream is almost like a game, and the reward is yummy ice cream! It's a win-win. :)

I was getting everything ready when I decided to do a little experiment. A bag of xylitol has been sitting in one of our cupboards for quite some time, and I thought it might be fun to try to make one batch of ice cream with xylitol and another with sugar. Xylitol is a healthy sugar alternative that Austin wasn't home to watch me make it, so he was the perfect test subject. ;)

To make these ice creams, you will need:

3/4 cup milk (the higher fat, the creamier it will be)
1/4 cup cream
2 Tbsp. sugar or xylitol
Splash vanilla

These amounts make enough for one decent size serving. (I would use half this much for a young child.)

Combine all ingredients in a sandwich size Ziploc bag. I double bagged each one, just in case. I have had them leak, so I play it safe. For this experiment, I made one serving of sugar ice cream and one serving with xylitol. This way we could both try a little of each kind.

I labeled them to make sure I didn't get them mixed up.

After that, I put them in a container with lots of ice and some salt. I put the lid on and shook it up! Zia was especially fussy today, so it took longer than I expected to finish it. (I confess, I even put it in the baby swing for a little while so I could have my hands free to take care of Little Z. We think she's starting to get her first tooth. :( )

When the ice cream had gotten to a soft-serve consistency, the textures of the two batches were pretty different. That surprised me, since xylitol is supposed to behave just like sugar in recipes. The xylitol batch was not quite as thick as the sugar one. I split each bag into two different containers (so Austin and I could each have our own to taste), and stuck them in the freezer.

A few hours later, after Austin got home and we had dinner, it was time for the moment of truth. I got out the four little containers and we both tried them. Austin didn't know what made them different at first, but I told him once he had tasted both. The sugar ice cream was a little harder and sweeter, while the xylitol ice cream was a little easier to scoop with our spoons and was a little more lightly sweet.

After a few more bites, we decided that we actually liked the xylitol ice cream better! Austin said that one with both sugar and xylitol might be the best, but that's beside the point. The texture was just a little better, and I liked that the sweetness was more mild.

All in all, Experiment Ice Cream was a success. Next time, I think I might try making it with canned coconut milk. And maybe some fruit or something.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised today by the discovery of (healthy) sugar free ice cream that tastes really good! It was even homemade.

Take some time with your kiddos to give this recipe a "shake." The results are delicious!


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