Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Low Carb Caramel Ice Cream with Brownie Bites

Brownies are a great mix-in for ice cream, but they’re not as versatile as I expected. I’m sure vanilla and chocolate ice creams with chocolate brownies are a slam dunk. I tried adding them to peanut butter ice cream flavoring, but it just didn’t mesh well. Caramel ice cream (sweet or salted) works much better. I didn’t add any nuts, but I’m sure walnuts or pecans (or both!) would be welcome.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Low Carb Crème Brûlée Ice Cream

I was able to procure a sample of crème brûlée ice cream flavoring. It’s not readily available for consumers, so you’ll need to do some hunting to find it. It’s tastes to me like a combination of egg nog and cake batter, so it might be possible to replicate.

I honestly try not to over-complicate these recipes, so I decided to pair this ice cream with an off-the-shelf low carb cookie: Carb Counters Ready-to-Eat Sugar Not Cookies, Powdered. The vanilla ones are great, but I didn’t like the chocolate ones as much.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Low Carb White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Ice Cream

I got hold of a small sample size of White Chocolate Macadamia ice cream flavoring. I made a batch of ice cream with chopped macadamias thrown in and it was pretty good. However, it was screaming for something more. I decided to try white chocolate brownies as another mix in. I also threw in a chopped white chocolate bar for good measure. I thought salted macadamias would taste better than unsalted, but they don’t.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Low Carb White Chocolate Bar

White chocolate is used as an add-in for many ice cream recipes. The problem with making a low carb version was the lack of a sugar-free milk powder substitute. The best alternative that I’ve found is LC Foods Milk Powder. It tastes a lot better than soy milk powder and is lower in carbohydrates, too. I was a little concerned that the inulin might cause stomach upset, but the quantity of milk powder is so small, there’s little chance that it could.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Low Carb Bourbon Ball Ice Cream

I found a great book called “Scoop Adventures” that compiles some of the best and most unique recipes from ice cream shops across the USA. The author, Lindsay Clendaniel, is an avid ice cream maker and has an ice cream recipe blog by the same name.

My low carb conversion is from Lindsay’s take on “Bourbon Ball Ice Cream” made by The Comfy Cow in Louisville, Kentucky. The flavor looks like regular chocolate chip ice cream based on the picture from their website. However, it’s more complex than that. It includes little buttery sugar balls infused with bourbon and coated in chocolate. The ice cream itself contains bit of honey a lot of booze, too. So much booze that it may be difficult for a non-compressor based ice cream maker to handle. It usually takes 42 minutes for my Cuisinart ICE-100 to make a quart of low carb ice cream. I needed to use close to 60 minutes to get this recipe to freeze and it melted a lot quicker when transferring to the storage container. Aside from the booze, the sugar free honey substitute uses xylitol, which contributes to a lower freezing point. I used 100 proof bourbon, but I suspect 80 proof bourbon would work just as well (maybe better since it won’t be as strong).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Low Carb Egg Nog Ice Cream

This has been a flavor that I’ve been meaning to try ever since I first read the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. Egg Nog ice cream ought to be a slam dunk since Egg Nog is practically unchurned sweet cream base with nutmeg for flavoring. Nope. It took quite a bit of work to perfect it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Low Carb Egg Nog

I came up with my own low carb egg nog last year, and it was a hit with my guests including the ones who aren’t abstaining from sugar. I’ve noticed that the amount of egg yolks and ratio of heavy cream to whole milk in most recipes vary significantly. Some add cinnamon and cloves, but most do not. I do. In fact, I use pumpkin pie spice since that contains a nice mix of flavors, but counterbalance it with extra nutmeg since that needs to be the most prominent.

Egg yolks provide richness and add viscosity. However, my egg nog uses only four since I whip the heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Real egg nog includes the egg whites folded in the mix after they’ve been whipped into a light foam. I like to use pasteurized eggs, so whipping egg whites is usually an exercise in futility. Cream of tartar helps, but this year, I’m going to try to also separate the eggs in advance and allow the whites to become room temperature.

Most people (including me) prefer it without booze. I keep a small mix of bourbon, cognac, and rum (usually a 2:1:1 or 6:4:1 ratio) on the side and let people add what they want.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Low Carb Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered “Potato” Chips and Pretzels

New and exciting ice cream flavors are being developed constantly. However, most are unfeasible due to the carbohydrate content of one or more ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s came up with a unique flavor combination called Late Night Snack that features vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and chocolate covered potato chips. A sugar-free caramel swirl is impossible (for now) and potato chips? Are you kidding me? Still, the idea of combining salty and sweet is far too alluring to dismiss. Caramel ice cream can take the place of the swirls, but potato chips?!

I wasn’t trying to find a potato chip substitute when I picked up a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes. I saw a recipe for Sweet~N~Salty Coconut Chips and thought it would be an easy snack to make for a party. I didn’t expect that these could truly pass for potato chips, but as soon as I tried them, I realized that I was oh, so wrong! It was a few seconds later that I remembered that impossibly low carb potato chip ice cream flavor. Eureka! I can do this!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review: The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

I found this lovely cookbook a while back and found it compelling enough to blog about. The authors provide recipes for low carb, gluten-free breads, rolls, pizzas, focaccias, crackers, breadsticks, pretzels, muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and more. These concoctions are based on unique combinations of nut and seed flours. Most low carb recipes I’ve found on the Internet use almond, coconut flour, and occasionally ground flax seeds. This book will open you up to other possibilities such as hazelnut, sesame seed, and pecan to provide a more complex flavor and texture.

Book CoverThe authors give a great primer on why carbohydrates can be problematic for some people, in particular, diabetics. They provide lists of equipment, tools, and ingredients as well as baking techniques. I also like that they provide gram and ounce measurements. However, I found some of their volume to weight conversions off. I also had a bit of bad luck with their chocolate pie crust. I believe they specified way too much coconut flour, which made it very brittle. Nevertheless, the recipes in this book will inspire you to come up with new ideas for your own creations.

Truly low carb pretzels are not easy to find. I wanted to make some for an ice cream idea that’s been buzzing in my head. They came out pretty good, but please take my advice: Get real pretzel salt. I used salt flakes from a cheap plastic salt grinder and it was way too salty. I’m allergic to sunflower seeds, so I just doubled the sesame seed flour in the recipe and it worked out really well. Do keep an eye on your pretzels while baking in the oven since they can burn real easy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Low Carb Chocolate Brownies

I’ve tried many different low carb brownie recipes using different kinds of ingredients in place of sugar and flour. My assessment after countless experiments is that they all suck. They always come out dry and crumbly. I came up with my recipe based on Alton Brown’s episode of Good Eats. Brownies can be made from cocoa or chocolate. The difference is that cocoa lacks fat, so extra butter is needed. Low carb cocoa brownies come out too dry in my experience. I opt for using unsweetened 100% cacao chocolate instead. There are a few other tricks I employ. I add blackstrap molasses for flavor and to increase moisture. I use powdered erythritol to give the mixture the “bulk” that the sugar would have provided. Vegetable glycerine also keeps the brownies moist. I add a tablespoon of honey substitute for flavoring and because it contains thickeners that helps the starch-free flour bind better. I use sifted Carbalose flour, not Carbquik. Carbquik contains baking powder, which is a no-no for brownies. What? Your mom always made brownies with baking powder? Those aren’t brownies. Those are chocolate cake squares masquerading as brownies! Anyway, if you don’t have Carbalose flour or want to avoid gluten, try something else like almond meal or ground up pecans.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Low Carb Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

LorAnn Oils makes a Lemon Custard flavoring for ice creams that’s screaming for something to pair with. I could have made a low carb pie crust to throw in the mix, but I wanted to try something else. I figured meringues might be a good match, so I decided to give them a go. Low carb meringues are pretty simple and straightforward. I found a good recipe on All Day I Dream About Food. They take a while to bake, so make sure you give yourself enough time. They have to completely dry out in a warm oven, which takes about 3 hours in total.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Low Carb Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron

David Lebovitz posted a recipe for Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Saffron on his website. For David, this is certainly a “quick” recipe since he’s not making a custard, straining liquids, etc. I don’t normally need to use a stove when making ice cream, so for me, I don’t consider it quick.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Daylight Saving Time is a good thing and you should stop complaining about it.

Like saturated fat, rock and roll music, and Saturday morning cartoons, Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been blamed for many of the world’s ills and the eventual downfall of western civilization. Take a look at its Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time. It’s been linked to increased heart attacks and suicides! I’m highly doubtful that these claims are correct, but I’m also skeptical of many of the alleged benefits, too. It probably won’t save us much energy or significantly improve public safety. So why should we keep setting our clocks back and forward?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Low Carb Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies

There’s an ice cream shop called “The Charmery” in Baltimore, MD that has some interesting flavor combinations. One of them caught my attention when reading an online article: Chinese Food and a Movie:
David Alima, who co-owns the shop and makes the ice cream alongside his wife Laura, is Jewish, and, amidst the stollen bread and eggnog and candy-cane flavors, he noticed a distinct lack of a flavor for the Jewish world to feel nostalgic about. The Charmery offered jelly-doughnut ice cream for Hanukkah, so Alima figured he should make something to commemorate another special Jewish tradition: Chinese food and a movie on Christmas. Chinese Food and a Movie is a buttery popcorn ice cream with chunks of chocolate covered fortune cookies mixed in.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Low Carb “Old Fashioned” Pumpkin Ice Cream

UPDATE 2016-10-25: This entry has been superseded. Please see Low Carb “Old Fashioned” Pumpkin Ice Cream II - The Pumpkining

I called this ice cream “Old Fashioned” because I’m using actual pumpkin in the mix. Every pumpkin ice cream recipe I’ve read uses cooked pumpkin either by roasting it yourself or from a can of pumpkin puree. I thought this would be a slam dunk, but unfortunately, the end results weren’t as good as I was expecting. I would have loved to get my hands on a small bottle of LorAnn Oils pumpkin ice cream flavoring, but it’s only available in quart sizes. I like pumpkin ice cream, but to spend $25 on enough to make 64 quarts is madness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Low Carb Bourbon and “Brown Sugar” Ice Cream

Humphry Slocombe has a popular ice cream called “Secret Breakfast” that combines brown sugar, bourbon, and cornflakes. They use slightly overcooked crumbled up cornflake cookies since cornflakes by themselves would turn to mush. Bourbon and brown sugar are flavors I can work with for a low carb conversion, but there’s no low carb substitute for cornflakes. I like the idea of a cookie, so I went searching for a cookie flavor that would pair well with bourbon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Low Carb Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Pistachio and Rosemary

I’ve been looking for something to pair with salted caramel ice cream, but most incarnations offer it as-is. Okay, some add butter in the mix, but no solids...until I found this recipe: Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Pistachio. What made this recipe interesting was the addition of fresh rosemary. It sounds unappetizing, but the creator kinda sold me on it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Low Carb Prosciutto Ice Cream

Humphry Slocombe is another in a long line of trendy ice cream shops that have cropped up in the last few years. They offer unique and exotic flavors and have their own recipe book for the home enthusiast. One ice cream flavor stood out to me among the rest: Boccalone Prosciutto Ice Cream.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Low Carb Black Currant Tea Ice Cream

This is another low carb conversion from “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz. This one is similar to the toasted coconut ice cream I did a while back except Black Currant Tea is the main flavoring ingredient. This is going to be a long one to do since it involves heating the milk and part of the cream base and brewing the tea in the base for an hour, making a custard out of the egg yolks, yadda yadda...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Low Carb Olive Oil and Toasted Pine Nut Ice Cream

Molly Moons Homemade Ice Cream book has some interesting flavor combinations, but not many can be converted to low carb. This one jumped out at me not only because it’s easy to convert, but because of its unique ingredients: pine nuts (pignolis) and olive oil. One cup of pine nuts have 13 g of net carbs, so while they might not exactly be keto on their own, spread out in a quart of ice cream should dilute the carbohydrates effectively. I didn’t have to fire up the oven because the pine nuts I picked up from Trader Joe’s were already dry roasted.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Low Carb French Toast

Low carb french toast is a little too carby and calorific for me to have often. It’s reserved as a rare special weekend treat. I did some research into making french toast (low carb and otherwise) and I have to disagree with some of the approaches most people take. This article from Bon Appétit summarizes seven mistakes when making french toast. Now, I’m not a trained chef or anything like that, but I found some of the “mistakes” aren’t mistakes at all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Low Carb Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Bombs

Red velvet cake has become a very popular ice cream flavor. Ben & Jerry’s adds actual cake pieces to their mix along with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. Obviously, the cake pieces are out, but low carb cream cheese frosting isn’t a problem and Red Velvet Cake Flavoring makes the rest of this ice cream easy to make.

Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake container.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Low Carb Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

Key lime pie is an often overlooked desert menu item. It usually loses out to cheesecake, chocolate cake, and other after dinner delicacies. However, I implore you to try this recipe for yourself. It’s one of the best combinations that I’ve tried. Take my Low Carb New York Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe and just swap the cheesecake flavoring for LorAnn Oils Flavor Fountain Flavorings, Key Lime. In fact, I think the pie crust works better with this flavor than the cheesecake. Oh, and here’s an idea for the cheesecake ice cream: instead of the faux graham cracker crust, make my Low Carb Oreo Cookies and crumble those up in the cheesecake ice cream instead.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Low Carb Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

“Chunky Monkey” is a flavor combination that often pops up in baked goods and ice creams. Ben & Jerry’s version uses broken off candy bar chunks of chocolate (they call it “fudge”), walnuts, and bananas in a banana flavored ice cream.
Chunky Monkey ice cream container.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Low Carb Yellow Cake Ice Cream with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Bombs

This is a variation of my previous Low Carb Cake Batter Ice Cream with Frosting Bombs. That one was white cake flavoring with shortening-based frosting. This time I decided to do a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What diet should I follow?

A tweet of mine regarding the paleo diet got retweeted quite a bit:

Tweet #1: The paleo diet gets the highest compliment I can give: it should be the null hypothesis.

What got much less notoriety was the tweet that I submitted immediately after that one:

Tweet #2: Buth that doesn't make it gospel.

That second tweet puts the first into context but went mostly unseen. I suppose a blog post is in order to better clarify what I meant by both.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Low Carb “AmeriCone Dream” Ice Cream

I’ve reworked quite a few Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors to eliminate added sugars. Since I can now make low carb ice cream cones, the Steven Colbert inspired “AmeriCone Dream” is a low carb reality.

AmeriCone Dream Ice Cream Container

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Low Carb New York Cheesecake Ice Cream

Cream cheese is an often recommended ingredient in low carb cooking, so it seems like a no-brainer for a low carb ice cream recipe. As a matter of fact, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are known for using cream cheese in their sweet cream ice cream base to add body to the finished product. Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately, I believe cream cheese stalls my weight loss, so I don’t indulge in it anymore. Besides, raw cream cheese alone does not a cheesecake flavor make. Instead, I’m using yet another flavoring from LorAnn Oils. It creates a full-bodied cheesecake aroma and flavor that would be difficult to match.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Some miscellaneous experiments with ice cream flavors: salted caramel, bubble gum, and more.

I’ve been experimenting with some of the ice cream flavorings from LorAnn Oils recently. I tried their Butter Pecan, Salted Caramel, Bubble Gum, and Caramel Delight. There’s no need to provide an in-depth recipe since it’s simply a sweet cream base plus a tablespoon of flavoring.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Low Carb Ice Cream Cones and Bowls

Sometimes a great idea is right under your nose, and you’ll miss it. And keep missing it, until pow! It hits you. I was looking up ice cream paraphernalia on Amazon when I ran across this...

Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express Ice Cream Cone Maker.

It’s a waffle cone maker. Waffle cones are the good kind of ice cream cones. They’re sweet and have a hard cookie-like texture. Not like the ones with the flat bottoms that taste like cardboard and make you curse your parents for buying them.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Low Carb Pistachio Ice Cream

Pistachio ice cream is one of those flavors that I really like, but rarely make. I must subconsciously think that pistachio ice cream is an just an ordinary flavor and should concentrate on more exotic concoctions. While I will never be so boring as to make a plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream, pistachio deserves its time in the spotlight. What nudged me towards this decision was my recent buying-spree of ice cream flavorings made by LorAnn Oils. I plan to base the majority of my recipes in the near future on these babies.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Low Carb Sweet Cream Bases

The foundation for most ice cream recipes is what’s called a “Sweet Cream Base.” This is basically vanilla ice cream without the vanilla flavoring. There are lots of different variations of the sweet cream base. The simplest is cream, milk, and sugar. This is known as a Philadelphia style base and uses no eggs. French style uses egg yolks that are tempered and made into a custard. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book has three variations including one using condensed milk. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams adds corn syrup and cream cheese to their ice cream base in order to reduce large ice crystal formation and improve texture.

For low carb ice cream using tools found in the home, I’ve settled on two formulations: French Custard Base and Ben & Jerry’s “Whole Egg” Base. The first is much more complicated to make, but ought to result in a slightly richer ice cream. The second is super easy, but involves using raw eggs or purchasing pasteurized eggs. Most ice cream books do not use egg whites in their recipes. The claim is that the egg whites do not provide any benefit to the finished ice cream. However, I’ve found that using whole eggs whipped with a hand mixer on maximum speed results in a finished ice cream that had more overrun (i.e., air) than with just egg yolks. The ice cream is very scoopable even at low temperatures.

Future recipes that use a sweet cream base will link to this entry. It’s up to you which one to make since they ought to be interchangeable. Both recipes produce a “generous” quart of ice cream. If a recipe includes lots of solids (e.g., large nuts, cookies, cookie dough, etc.), cut back slightly on the cream/milk portions.

Monday, June 30, 2014

LorAnn Oils Flavor Fountain Flavors

I’m always on the lookout for new sources of flavorings and extracts to use in low carb recipe conversions. LorAnn Oils makes flavorings specifically for ice cream and milkshakes called “Flavor Fountain Flavors.” They’re available in small serving sizes, are unsweetened, and contain both flavoring and coloring.

Bottles of flavorings.

I’m assuming these flavorings are water soluble, unlike the essential oils products they also make. Therefore, the banana flavor fountain product will probably work a lot better than other kinds of banana flavorings or extracts. I’ve tried the cake batter and pistachio so far and they both result in an incredible ice cream. I purchased a whole bunch of these, so it’s a safe bet that I’ll be using them in future ice creams quite a bit.

I buy these flavorings from Netrition. The have a huge selection of these on their website.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Low Carb Aztec “Hot” Chocolate Ice Cream

This is my second low carb conversion of a recipe from “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz and my first true Philadelphia-style ice cream since there are no eggs. I was drawn to this flavor due to the combination of chili powder, chocolate, and cinnamon. The ingredients and directions below are very close to what David provided in his book. He uses the darker Dutch-processed cocoa in all of his chocolate recipes, but if you don’t have it, go ahead and use regular cocoa. I had to make some minor adjustments to ensure the milkfat ratios and sweetness are similar using almond/coconut milk and unsweetened chocolate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fat tire bikes, you make the rocking world go round.

I decided to get back into biking recently, and after a little searching, I discovered these wonderfully ridiculous fat tire bikes sold at Walmart.

26" Mongoose Beast

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The World's Most Difficult-To-Make Toasted Coconut Low Carb Ice Cream

There’s a great ice cream book called “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz, which contains many unique and inventive recipes. The author seems very detailed oriented and committed to making the best ice cream that he can make. In other words, his recipes are usually very difficult to do. If I were going to make a coconut flavored ice cream, I’d take a sweet cream base, add vanilla and coconut extracts, and call it a day. Not David. His Toasted Coconut Ice Cream is made by “brewing” toasted unsweetened coconut in the cream and milk for an hour. He suggests using real vanilla beans, and of course, uses a cooked custard sweet cream base including five egg yolks. Reading his instructions left me with the impression that he must work as a professional chef. I say this because he doesn’t seem to care how may pots, saucepans, and bowls are necessary to accomplish his task. If you don’t have to wash the cookware afterwards, there’s not much incentive to minimize what ends up in the sink. I actually tried sketching out a storyboard of how this was going to work when finally, I threw my hands up and said, “I gotta rewrite this from scratch!” I don’t have any real vanilla beans, and I obviously won’t be using sugar, but I did try to remain faithful to the original recipe. I will be heating, straining, tempering, toasting, and steeping just like the pros, so this had better be worth it! Oh, and I’m adding some sliced almonds, too, because I can’t make “plain” ice cream no matter how complicated the process. I’m broken that way.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Scientific Consensus: Blessing or Curse?

In a previous post called, “The Myth of the Scientific Method,” I explored how science gets accomplished in real life by describing the knowledge filter. This doesn’t mean to imply that the filter is a perfect or even preferable method of distilling knowledge into truth. Biases may still survive even at the most refined levels.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Low Carb Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road was probably my first complex ice cream flavor that I tried and enjoyed. Baskin Robbins was the only “premium” source of ice cream available to me. Everything else was store bought half gallons. There were some fancy flavor combinations available from the supermarket freezer section, but nothing spectacular. The only options I can remember were Breyer’s butter pecan, which I disliked at the time, and some awful black cherry concoction. My grandparents used to love to buy a half gallon of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream, eat all the vanilla and chocolate, leave the strawberry third in the freezer for a few weeks, and then throw it out. Yes, I mentioned to them on multiple occasions that it would be better to just buy a half gallon of vanilla and another of chocolate, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I could fill a book of all the illogical stuff I witnessed as a child...but I digress.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why no chocolate ice cream yet?

Someone asked me why I haven’t posted any chocolate ice creams yet. The reason is that making a low carb chocolate ice cream has been kicking my ass! I’ve made a chocolate macadamia nut ice cream (made two different ways) that was good, but not great. I’ve experimented with a chocolate ice cream with almond butter chunks that turned out great, but I didn’t feel the chocolate ice cream part was up to snuff. The good news is that I’m confident enough to announce that I’ve cracked it!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Low Carb Marshmallows

Sugar free marshmallows are very easy to make and are practically carbohydrate, fat, and calorie free. I based my recipe on the one from Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes website. The ingredients are essentially the same, but I optimized the directions.