Ice Cream Showdown

22 June ice cream showdown 1
{all mixed up}
After reading this post on making ice cream without an ice cream maker, we wanted to try making ice cream with both the blender method and the ice cream maker at the same time to see what the difference was and if we should hang onto our ice cream maker or if it was something that was silly to have with a Blendtec around. We tested a few months ago but felt that it wasn’t a fair test due to some tweaking that was needed and it not being a “proper” ice cream recipe.
So we used that as an excuse to make ice cream again, this time plain vanilla with a recipe we had used before.

22 June ice cream showdown 2
{ready to freeze or chill}

A run-down of the method: Mix the ingredients for ice cream together, leaving out 1/2 of the cream. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays, freeze, then blend with the remaining cream and freeze again.

When we had tested before, we felt that there needed to be less liquid kept out, so we ended up with three batches of ice cream:
A: ice cream maker (lowest end Cuisinart)
B: blender, keeping out 1/2 of the cream
C: blender, keeping out 1/3 of the cream

Here’s what we found (photos are of the ice cream straight out of the maker/blender):
24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 4
A. Ice cream maker
This was the smoothest ice cream, and the only one that was remotely ready to eat right after churning (but still very soft soft serve).
However, we have found it to be very finicky, and even if we follow the instructions to the letter we’ve had it not work and end up with slush.

Total time: 12 hours to freeze the bowl, 5 minutes to mix ingredients, 2 hours to cool ingredients, 20 minutes to churn, 2 hours to solidify.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 2
B. Blendtec – Kept out 1/2 of cream (1/3 c)
This had the most ice crystals in it. It was still ice cream and very tasty and much less work than other ice-cream-maker-less recipes, but it was the least smooth.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 3
C. Blendtec – Kept out 1/3 of cream (1/4 c)
Still not as creamy as the ice cream maker, but better than B. Once they had both been sitting out for a few minutes, there was little difference between A and C.
We haven’t made it this way as often, but it seems more foolproof than the ice cream maker. Other perks of the blender method are being able to make more at a time, since you have to refreeze the ice cream maker bowl after every batch.

Total time for blender method: 5 minutes to mix ingredients, 12 hours to freeze cubes, 1 minute (or less) to blend, 2 hours to solidify.

24 June ice cream showdown Ezra birthday 5
{after 2 hours in the freezer, ABC from L-R}

25 June ice cream showdown 1
{after 24 hours in the freezer, again ABC. Note the air pockets and crystals in B}

Our conclusion: the blender method is good, but we are still keeping our ice cream maker since we have space for it! If we didn’t already have one, though, we probably wouldn’t get one since we have a high powered blender that can do the blender method.

A friend has since told me about adding xanthan gum to ice cream to make it creamier so we’re just going to have to do this again!

PS: we are currently on vacation and this may be the last scheduled post I have done before we leave so there may be a short blogging break!

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