We contemplate orange vanilla swirl, Southern blackberry cobbler, salted caramel pretzel, chocolate coconut almond chip or cookie dough.
When restaurateur Toa Green wants a new flavor, she imagines fresh ingredients -- everything from local strawberries and peaches to Kentucky bourbon and sorghum -- and creates her own.
Green and her husband, Mike, own Thai Orchid Cafe in Lexington, Ky., and in May, they introduced a sideline to their business -- craft ice cream.
It started when Toa Green wanted to add coconut ice cream to the restaurant menu.
"I wanted a different dessert and I wanted to make coconut ice cream, which they sell a lot in Thailand on the streets.
"I wanted to replicate that ice cream for selfish reasons because I really like it. I started with that flavor, and it was really popular, so I experimented with other flavors," she said.
She began reading books about the science behind ice cream production. Using a 2-quart Cuisinart home ice cream maker, Green played around with ingredients, and she found that customers loved the variety and interesting flavors.
"Last fall we decided since this ice cream was so popular, maybe we should branch off and make it our second business," she said.
The Greens bought a commercial 6-quart ice cream maker, and Crank & Boom was officially launched May 18.
"It's been well received. We've served it in the restaurant for the last year, so we've had time to hone our recipes and experiment with different ingredients and different flavors and see what people like," Green said.
"It's a fun medium to put all kinds of creativity in. It's a canvas to showcase Kentucky ingredients and produce, and fun flavors," she said.
Green uses organic strawberries grown at Berries on Bryan Station, sorghum from Country Rock in Versailles, Ky., and Sister Sue's stout beer from West Sixth Brewing Co. Last fall she made sweet potato pie ice cream with organic sweet potatoes from Elmwood Stock Farm in Georgetown, Ky.
One of the most fun flavors Green makes is North Lime glazed doughnut, using doughnuts from North Lime Coffee & Donuts. Doughnut ice cream is made by soaking the doughnuts in the ice cream base, then straining them out.
"You get ice cream that tastes like doughnuts," she said.
The Greens recently bought a mobile ice cream cart to use at events.
There are 17 flavors in Green's lineup, but not all are available at one time.
They are artisan vanilla bean, coffee stout, Kentucky blackberry and buttermilk, bourbon and honey, North Lime glazed doughnut, maple bacon, spicy Oaxacan chocolate, organic strawberry, double chocolate brownie, banana Nutella swirl, strawberry basil, Kentucky sorghum and sea salt, local peach and honey, banana caramel, peach Lambic sorbet, organic strawberry sorbet and coconut.
If you would like to experiment with making ice cream, here are some recipes to get you started.
Quick and easy vanilla ice cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl until thick, stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a loaf pan or freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours and up to 2 weeks.
Source: Woman's Day
French vanilla ice cream
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeded
4 large egg yolks
Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and 1 to 2 cups of water. Place a medium bowl fitted with a fine strainer inside the ice bath. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, ½ cup sugar, salt, and the seeds and pod from the vanilla bean. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, one ladleful at a time, until the egg mixture is warmed. Whisk the egg-milk-mixture back into the saucepan.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers around 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
Immediately strain the mixture though the fine strainer into the prepared ice bath. Discard the vanilla bean pod. Cool the custard in the ice bath until it reaches room temperature, stirring often. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or up to 1 day.
Makes 1 quart.
From "Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich by Tessa Arias"
Dark chocolate ganache ice cream
1½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened ultra Dutch-processed cocoa powder or another high-quality cocoa powder
1 cup dark chocolate ganache (recipe follows)
2½ cups whole milk, divided
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup red raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
In a medium saucepan, heat cream and cocoa powder over medium heat, whisking to ensure cocoa is fully absorbed. When cream bubbles around the edges, remove pan from heat and add dark chocolate ganache. Wait for 30 seconds and then stir until smooth and blended. Add 1 cup milk and stir to combine.
Return saucepan to the stove and stir in remaining 1½ cups milk, sugar and salt. Heat mixture over medium heat, keeping milk at a simmer; do not let it boil over the sides of the pan.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks together. Slowly drizzle about ½ cup of warm milk into egg yolks, whisking constantly until combined.
Pour egg yolks into the saucepan and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent eggs from cooking. Cook until custard is thick enough to coat back of the spoon. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into a bowl. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Cover surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate custard for at least 4 hours.
Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Swirl in 1 cup of room temperature red raspberry sauce. It should marble through the ice cream. Transfer ice cream to airtight container and freeze at least 4 hours to harden.
Remove ice cream from freezer 10 to 15 minutes before serving to soften.
Dark chocolate ganache
11/4 cups water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
11/4 teaspoons chocolate extract
1 cup red raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
In a large, heavy saucepan, bring water, corn syrup, cocoa powder and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove pan from heat.
Immediately add bittersweet chocolate and chocolate extract to pan and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 1 hour to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache emulsified. When cool, transfer ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date, and refrigerate for up to three months.
Makes about 2 pounds ganache.
Red raspberry sauce
4 pounds frozen raspberries, thawed
3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
In a medium saucepan, bring raspberries and their juices, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest to a simmer over low heat until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.
Using an immersion blender, puree sauce for about 1 minute until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use immediately or transfer to a tightly covered container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. The sauce will keep in freezer for up to two months. Stir sauce well before serving. Makes 4 cups.
From "Choclatique" by Ed Engoron
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