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.
Hmmm... a buttered popcorn flavored ice cream. I like it! It’s actually pretty straight-forward. Add buttered popcorn to heated milk/cream, let it steep for an hour, then strain. Voila! Buttered popcorn flavor infused mix. Popcorn is something that’s not exactly low carb on it’s own, but I seriously doubt that it’s going to impart too many carbs per serving. I did some research into popcorn brands and flavors. Generally, any of the brands that offer a “movie theater style” popcorn are rated highly. What makes it “movie theater style?” It’s the flavor of clarified butter. You know, ghee. I found a brand of popped and buttered popcorn that’s perfect for this recipe: Popcorn Indiana Movie Theater Popcorn. And yes, Trader Joe’s has their own one, too.

Fortune cookies are essentially the same thing as ice cream cones, just with a different texture. I already made chocolate covered waffle cones for my Low Carb “AmeriCone Dream” Ice Cream. I’m not going to attempt to mimic the smooth texture of the fortune cookie. Besides, the waffle cone ridges will allow the chocolate to stick better.

I thought the mix would have been saltier and more buttery from the popcorn, but it wasn’t. I added more ghee and salt to the mix to bring out the flavor. I’m basing the popcorn quantity primarily on its weight, not volume. For the umpteenth time, get a digital kitchen scale!

Adding actual popcorn into the finished ice cream wouldn’t be a good idea since it will get soggy. Instead, I added some cheese puffs that are (somewhat) popcorn flavored. Just The Cheese Popped Cheese, Butter is a great crunchy snack made entirely from cheese. It doesn’t add too much flavor, but provides a little texture to the finished product.

Lastly, I found some popcorn flavoring that can be added to help boost the flavor. I’m listing it as optional, but the flavoring does add another dimension to the experience.

CAUTION: Not every form of glycerin is fit for human consumption. For example, diethylene glycol is toxic and should not be consumed. Always verify the product is safe to use.


5-6 cups (56 g) movie theater style popcorn, popped
2 cups (476 g) heavy cream, divided
1 cup (242 g) Trader Joe’s Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk
1½ tablespoons Truvia
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (30 g) clarified butter (ghee)
¼ teaspoon salt
21 drops EZ-Sweetz
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ teaspoon Dixie Diner’s Thick It Up Low Carb Thickener
1 tablespoon (18 g) vegetable glycerin
24 drops Capella Flavor Drops Popcorn Concentrate (optional)


2 - 3 Low Carb Waffle Bowls
melted sugar-free chocolate
½ bag Just The Cheese Popped Cheese, Butter


  1. Take the waffle bowls and break them into large pieces. Dip the pieces into the melted chocolate to coat them. Let the excess drip off and then place on a cookie sheet with a silicone mat.

    Waffle cone pieces dipped in chocolate.

    Put the entire cookie sheet into the freezer until the chocolate hardens.
  2. Remove and break into small pieces. Cut the cheese puffs in half.

    Popped cheese pieces.

    Put everything in an empty ice cream container.
  3. Put the container for the ice cream including its cover upright in the freezer now. This serves two purposes: it keeps the container cold and it forces you to make sure that there’s space in the freezer.
  4. The volume to weight ratio of popped popcorn is specified as 2 cups per ounce on the packaging. However, it’s obviously off:

    Popped popcorn.

    Use a food scale to measure 56 g, if possible.
  5. In a small pot, add 1 cup of heavy cream (238 g), the unsweetened almond milk, Truvia, and popped popcorn. Stir with a spatula to get the popcorn soaked with cream and milk.

    Cream, milk, and popcorn.

    Heat on stove top at medium heat until it reaches approximately 200 °F while stirring periodically.

    Cream, milk, and popcorn at 200 degrees.

    Remove from heat and cover tightly. Let it steep for 1 hour.
  6. Rewarm the popcorn-infused mixture on medium-low to about 170 °F to 175 °F. Set a mesh strainer over a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and strain the popcorn-infused liquid through the strainer.

    Strained popcorn.

    Strained popcorn.

    Press down on the popcorn very firmly with a flexible rubber spatula to extract as much of the flavor from it as possible. Scrape out any remnants from the pot using the spatula and pour the popcorn-infused liquid back into the pot and return it to the heat. Discard the strained popcorn.
  7. Add the egg yolks to the 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and whisk them together. Slowly pour the warm popcorn-infused mixture (170 °F to 175 °F) into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the pot and return it to the stove top. Add the clarified butter and salt to the pot so it can melt into the custard.

    Adding ghee to the mix.

    Add the remaining 1 cup (238 g) heavy cream, and EZ-Sweetz to the Pyrex measuring cup, and put the strainer on top of it.
  8. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. The temperature should not exceed 175 °F.

    Custard is done.

    Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.

    Strained custard.

    Popcorn infused liquid and rest of cream.

    Mix in the xanthan gum or Dixie Diner’s Thick It Up Low Carb Thickener and optional popcorn flavoring drops.
  9. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Add glycerin after it’s cooled.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until ready.
  11. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions for making ice cream. One to two minutes before the ice cream is done, add the chocolate covered waffle cone pieces and cheese puffs. Use a silicone spatula to remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and freeze until solid.
Scoop of ice cream.

Scoop of ice cream.

Scoops of ice cream.

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