The Great Ice Cream Experiment 1: The Affects of Fat

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Happy Independence Day, to all my fellow USA citizens!

July is a great month mostly known for all the fireworks and patriotic feelings, but did you know that July is also National Ice Cream Month?! That’s right my friends, ice cream all month long and you don’t have to be from the USA to enjoy these recipes. Instead of giving you a recipe today I’m going to share with you the results of a little experiment I did: The Great Ice Cream Experiment 1: The Affects of Fat. A pretty great title, right? Also, yes it says part “1,” there will be more experiments!

So your probably wondering what exactly I mean by “the affects of fat.” For this particular experiment, I’m talking about different amounts of milk fat. Basically, what I did was make the same recipe four times changing only one ingredient in each batch: the dairy. So, one batch was made with skim milk, one with whole milk, one with half & half, and one batch with heavy cream.

To make this basic vanilla ice cream first you will need to whip together egg yolks and sugar. (Okay, so I guess I actually am going to give you a recipe!) Whip them together until the egg yolks are light and fluffy. Set aside.

In a saucepan place more sugar and your dairy (skim or whole milk, half & half, or heavy cream). Bring this to a boil. In the picture below you can see the heavy cream batch in the front and the skim milk batch in the back. See the difference? The Skim milk one is kinda more see through while the heavy cream one is super thick and very white looking, no seeing through that!

Carefully, pour about a 1/2c. of the boiling cream into the egg yolk mixture. Be sure to whisk the egg yolks as you pour, this will help distribute the heat of the boiling dairy so that it doesn’t cook the eggs too fast.

Then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan.

Return the saucepan to the heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until thickened. The mixture is thick enough when it can coat the back of a wooden spoon and hold it’s shaped after you run your finger through it. Then just add the vanilla.

Refrigerate the ice cream base overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufactuerer’s directions. Freeze until ready to serve.

So, what differences were noted in The Great Ice Cream Experiment 1? Let’s start with the skim milk ice cream. First off, it was a bit ice crystally and harder to scoop when compared to the others. The flavor was good. With that said it really isn’t bad and could be a nice substitution if you want a lower fat ice cream or if skim milk is all, you have on hand. Personally, it wasn’t my favorite but it wasn’t bad either.

Next, the whole milk ice cream had a slightly nicer texture, at least to my palate. It still had a bit of that ice crystal feel in your mouth but not as much as the skim milk. It also seemed just a touch easier to scoop. This whole milk variety was my mom’s favorite of the four. She said that the skim was too crystally while the others were a bit too rich for her personal taste. It did have good flavor.

The half & half ice cream was even better, I thought. There was barely any ice crystals and the feel in your mouth was much smoother. It was also easy to scoop. Half & half makes a good ice cream, with good flavor.

Lastly, the heavy cream ice cream. My dad and my personal favorite. It’s thick, rich, smooth, and ridiculously creamy. If you’re not a fan of ice crystals in your ice cream then heavy cream is what you want to use to make ice cream! Of the four ice cream, it was also the easiest to scoop. It had great flavor too.

In a nut shell these are the result:

So, did they all work? Did they all make acceptable ice cream? Yes and yes. So, if you have the urge to make ice cream but only have skim milk on hand, use that to make your ice cream. Perhaps you only have whole milk on hand, don’t let that hold you back from making some delicious ice cream! If you want to do this same experiment at home and see which you prefer, let me know in the comments below which you liked best! Of course, at the end of the day it’s all ice cream and you make some pretty great banana splits out of any of them ; )

The Great Ice Cream Experiment 1: The Affects of Fat
Ever wondered if you could make ice cream with skim milk? Or what the difference between ice cream made with skim milk and heavy cream might be. Find the answeres here!
  • Per batch (4 total to do the experiment):
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½c. sugar
  • 2½c. dairy (one batch each: skim milk, whole milk, half & half, heavy cream)
  • ½c. sugar
  • 1t. pure vanilla extract
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks and ½c. sugar until light and fluffy set-aside
  2. In a saucepan combine your dairy with ½c. sugar. Bring to a boil.
  3. Carefully whisk about ½c. of the mixture in the saucepan into the egg yolks. Whisk all of the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook and stir until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Freeze until ready to enjoy!

Original Recipe By: Rilla Banks (A.K.A. Epic Sweet)