Mocha Madness

Was it Howard Johnson restuarants, with their “28 flavors,” that started our demand for ice cream in all its wildest incarnations?

Ice cream used to be simple. Chocolate. Vanilla. Strawberry. Neapolitan….. woooooo, edgy!

Back in 1925, Howard Johnson — yes, he was a real person — tweaked his mother’s ice cream recipe and noticed sales at his drugstore soda fountain soaring.

In fact, Howard’s ice cream became so successful that he opened a chain of summer ice cream stands along the Massachusetts coast. Eventually, he expanded his offerings to 28 flavors. At which point he’s said to have noted, “I thought I had every flavor in the world.”

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What would Howard think now?

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Ice cream and candy make beautiful music together.

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And then there are all the variations. Be still, my heart!

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Here’s my husband, Rick, surveying his options. Oddly enough, after much careful thought, he invariably orders plain strawberry.

Amazingly, from our 21st century perspective, only five of those original 28 Howard Johnson flavors involved chocolate. Frozen Pudding, Fruit Salad, Peppermint Stick, Burgundy Cherry, Pineapple… but no Decadent Chocolate Fudge Chunk?

Nope. Back then, only Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Fudge Ripple, Caramel Fudge, and Mocha Chip were available to chocoholics.

Which, come to think of it, perhaps weren’t as significant a part of the population as they are today.

Times change. Howard Johnson restaurants, with their signature orange roofs, Simple Simon logo, and array of ice cream flavors, have dwindled to just three: two in upstate New York, one in Bangor, Maine. No more road-trip treats of hotdogs in butter-grilled buns, chicken croquettes, mac and cheese… and a Mint Chocolate Chip cone, to go.

Sigh. Guess I’ll just have to make my own.

Which is easier done than you might expect. You can make ice cream with an ice cream maker. Or you can make ice cream using a bowl, spoon, and the freezer compartment of your fridge.

Either way, you can personalize it. You can make… Frozen Pudding!

Or Mocha Madness, with espresso powder, Dutch cocoa, chocolate ganache, and crushed Oreos.

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Let’s begin by combining 1 cup whole milk, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons (yes, 2 TABLEspoons) espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. I use our Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa. Dutch-process yields richer, smoother chocolate flavor than unsweetened baking cocoa. FYI, if you’re using supermarket cocoa, Dutch-process is often labeled “European-style,” to distinguish it from plain baking cocoa.

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Whisk together thoroughly. You won’t be able to make it super-smooth; don’t worry.

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Stir in 2 cups (1 pint) heavy or whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. You’ll now have a tan-colored liquid with some cocoa detritus floating on top.

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Pour into your ice cream maker. Hope you remembered to freeze the bucket first, if necessary. If you didn’t — put the bucket in the freezer, put the cream in the fridge, and try again later.

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Turn on the ice cream maker. It’ll whir and spin. Well, our Cuisinart does, anyway. If you have another model, it might act differently. And if you have an “Armstrong” (the old-fashioned crank style ice cream maker, for which you need “strong arms” to turn the handle), then any spinning is entirely up to you!

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About 15 minutes later, you’ll see the cream starting to freeze.

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Ten minutes after that, you’ve got soft-serve.

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See the consistency? Now’s the time to add your extras.

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I’m an Oreo fan. Especially the double-chocolate ones. The strawberry-filled ones are awesome, too. In fact, I love them all. Nabisco — WHY did it take you so long to figure out these line extensions?!

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Make sure any extras are crumbled pretty finely; you don’t want chunks much more than 1/2″ in size.

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Pour into the ice cream maker…

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…and let it spin some more. Notice the ice cream oozing out the top; that’s OK.

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Seems done. Let’s test it.

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Yup, looks just about right. Maybe a little soft, but we can remedy that.

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Make sure to taste a spoonful before proceeding any further. Not that there’s anything you can do about it at this point (besides roll your eyes in ecstasy), but it’s always good to taste what you make before foisting it on your family.

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For firmer ice cream, pack it into a bowl.

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Whoops, side path. I had some leftover chocolate ganache, so I reheated just till it was pourable, and swirled some in.

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Cover with plastic, and place in the freezer compartment of your fridge.

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A couple of hours later, voilà! Mocha Madness.

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More cookies on the side are always a plus.

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Three of our King Arthur merchandise team members, Liz, Emily, and Deb, asked to lick the bowl. You go, girls!

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So, you don’t have an ice cream maker? No worries. You can make nearly as good ice cream without one. All it’ll lack is the super-creamy, smooth texture that an ice cream maker creates.

Pour the cream mixture into a metal bowl, and place it in the freexer compartment of your fridge.

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After an hour, stir the frozen edges into the soft middle.

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Continue to stir once an hour for several hours. For creamier ice cream, beat with a hand mixer, or blend with a stick blender.

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In our freezer here (O°F), it took 4 hours for it to reach this consistency. Stir in any extras when it’s at this point. Serve, or let freeze for an hour or so longer, for firmer ice cream.

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Pretty nice for simple “stir together” ice cream, eh?

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You can see the slightly granular texture. This is what churning ice cream in an ice cream maker eliminates.

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Remember that leftover chocolate ganache? Mmmmmmm…

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Mocha Madness.

And while you’re at it, read our blog post on strawberry sorbet. Easy as easy can be; the absolute icy essence of strawberries.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Edy’s Maxx Java Mashup — chocolate ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookies, espresso, chocolate flakes, and fudge, $5.78/quart

Make at home: Mocha Madness, chocolate-espresso ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookies, $4.53/quart

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. David

    Please take this in the spirit of fun, but…I think I hate you :) Can you put a “NSFD” (Not Safe For Diet) warning on posts like this in the future?

    Ah yes, a moment on the lips, forever on the hips… Sorry ’bout that, David. Can you have just a spoonful? That’s what I did – one spoonful, and I quickly gave the rest away via our employee kitchen… PJH

    Reply
  2. Sue

    That looks amazing! No wonder the merchandise team wanted to lick the bowl!
    Howard’s head would be spinning if he saw all of the ice cream variations today.
    My husband mixed up his first batch of ice cream in the new Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment. You asked me to report on how it worked. We are both very pleased. It was easy to use, and the ice cream turned out great. For his first attempt he chose vanilla. I think there will be a knock off version of Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Chunk Fudge sometime soon. We both LOVE that flavor!!

    Great news, Sue – glad it worked out for you. Today vanilla – tomorrow the world! PJH

    Reply
  3. hddonna

    Oh, PJ! That looks fabulous! We’ve already tried the coffee ice cream recipe from Cuisinart that this appears to be based on, with the addition of ground espresso beans. My daughter wanted to recreate an ice cream she tried at Ted and Wally’s at the Old Market in Omaha. She was very happy with it–it was out of this world! Your version with the ganache and crushed cookies sounds equally delicious, and I guarantee we’ll be trying it soon! Thanks for the great idea!

    Indeed, Donna, the original recipe was taken form the Cuisinart book – which I credit appropriately in the online recipe itself. I think crushed Vienna Fingers (vanilla sandwich cookies) would be divine, too… Or chocolate-covered espresso beans? :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Alvara

    Hi PJ, Darn, now I will have to dig into the bottom of my kitchen pantry and find my ice cream maker. It’s not a Cuisinart but it makes good ice cream. I haven’t made any since the grandchildren were little and they thought that Grandma could make anything. They are both teenagers now but they still love ice cream.

    On the way to Florida from NY we used to stop at a Howard Johnson’s in NC just off Rt. 95 in the northern part of the state. Are all the HoJo’s leaving us? I haven’t been there in about 6 years.

    That Mocha Madness looks great, I can’t wait to make it. I check the blog every day but I can’t make everything.Thanks again.

    You’re very welcome, Alvara. Yes, dig out that ice cream maker! And yes, alas, the HoJo restaurants are all gone, save the three I mentioned… PJH

    Reply
  5. hddonna

    PJ–yes, I noticed you had credited the recipe–otherwise I might not even have noticed how similar it was. The reason I said “that this appears to be based on” is that there’s at least one other coffee one in there. I love Vienna Fingers! And chocolate covered espresso beans would really kick the espresso bean version up a notch. I like the way you think! I was planning to order David Lebovitz’s book soon, but you’re giving me way too many ideas already. I applaud your restraint in eating only one bite. With a job like yours, that is a virtue that must serve you well!

    It’s certainly easy to go flying off into the icy stratosphere here, isn’t it? I think I’d better stay away from the ice cream maker for awhile – it just makes it too darned easy to indulge! Trust me, it’s a daily (hourly) battle not to eat an entire cookie, brownie, piece of cake, etc. – they’re here, fresh out of the oven and under our noses, all the time. But this is a job I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world – aside from my lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics, which I’d assume, at this point in my life, will remain a lifelong dream… :) Thanks for connecting, Donna. PJH

    Reply
  6. Dwight

    In general, for making ice cream, how does evaporated(canned) milk compare as a substitute for heavy cream?

    It works – just not as rich/creamy. But perfectly acceptable. Ever hear of “ice milk”? It’ll be somewhere in between ice milk and ice cream… PJH

    Reply
  7. Duncan

    As it happens, I don’t normally get around to posting comments on the blogs I read, but this time I was inspired to do so…
    partially by the absolutely scrumptious look of this ice-cream! Especially oreos. And as for the hand-turned icecream machine, I have been making butter, which involves a lot of shaking of jars up and down, so I can cope :D
    …also by the fact that the subtitle of your blog doesn’t seem to work particularly well with this post, hehehe

    Reply
  8. Joni M

    I have a Cuisinart Professional ice cream maker and absolutely love making ice cream and whoa, I can’t wait to try this…but alas, we need to be watchful of fat content. So in my quest to still enjoy ice cream occasionally, I pretty much use all fat free milk products. Fat free 1/2 & 1/2 is especially good, and I sometimes use a can of FF evap skim milk…While it is certainly true you won’t get as rich of an end product, for us at least, the FF version is much better than not getting any ice cream at all! Thanks for this post–I will certainly be making this, and well, I’ll be using skim milk vs the whole and fat free 1/2 & 1/2 for the whipping cream –BUT I will be adding the ganache with real butter…gotta splurge sometimes! I figure if I take some of the fat out of the milk products, then I can have a little fat in the things I add…Doesn’t that seem a fair trade off?? Sounds like a plan to me. Mary@ KAF

    Reply
  9. Alissa

    I have a recipe I’m going to try that uses whipping cream, half and half or light cream, and sweetened condensed milk. Since it is sweetened by the condensed milk, there is no sugar to add and you don’t have to worry about the sugar not incorporating fully. Hope it tastes good.

    I’ll have to add this one to the list to try, also. Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Karen

    You had me had “chocolate ganache.” What a brilliant addition to this ice cream (which already contains some of my favorite ingredients, like KAF’s espresso powder and cocoa powder). It’s inspired me to buy an ice cream maker. Watch out, hips, good things are comin’ atcha!

    Reply
  11. Margot

    OMG–that looks amazing! Unlike you, though, I could never limit myself to just one spoonful.

    I was thinking that instead of trying to make it fat- free or super low-fat, I’d try to meet it somewhere in the middle. I’d try replacing the heavy cream with half & half and the whole milk with 1% or2%. I’m not a big fan of ice milk, so I hope this would yield something closer to the real thing.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Hi Margot,
    I bought the ice cream maker last summer, and have had good luck making lower fat ice creams by using fat free half and half and dried milk in the ice cream base. I use 2 cups fat free 1/2 & 1/2, one cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup dried milk and 1/4 cup pastry cream filling mix, plus sugar and egg. I’m pretty sure I have even used Egg Beaters for the egg, but it’s been months, so I’m not sure about that part. Definitely experiment with it, and enjoy every bite! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Deb in MN

    Wow, this looks great! Would it be possible to use instant expresso coffee granules instead of the KAF expresso powder? I have some on hand and then I wouldn’t have to wait to try this recipe!

    Give it a try. You may need to vary the amount of granules depending upon their strength. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  13. Erika

    Going low-er fat is often a great option–I just wanted to note that it usually isn’t as forgiving as the fat-ful version–meaning, it gets even harder when frozen overnight, so I would suggest only making as much as you can eat in one sitting.
    That being said, I’ve also had some luck with adding some low-fat cream cheese to the dairy mix. The stabilizers they use to keep it the low fat version solid and spread-able also seem to help keep the ice milk from becoming rock hard.
    I find the creamcheese works especially well with fruit flavors–add 6oz of thawed previously frozen strawberries or raspberries directly to the mix before adding to the ice cream freezer. I find frozen fruit breaks down just the right amount to combine well with the dairy without turning into separate frozen lumps. Some fruit jam ups the fruit flavor too (just drop some of the original sugar to compensate)

    My version currently is:
    Blend 1 pkg lowfat creamcheese with 1/2-3/4c sugar (to taste), 1/4 c fruit jam (if using) and 1 tsp vanilla. Blend in 1.5c whole milk and 1 c evaporated skim milk until well combined. Stir in half a package of thawed fruit (~6oz) and freeze as directed by the ice cream maker.

    Erika, thanks so much for sharing – I like the cream cheese idea. Bet it adds nice tang, too. PJH

    Even better if you add choc chips at the end :)

    Reply
  14. Lee

    Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane with your Howard Johnson stories! I have fond childhood memories of Sunday nights after church we’d stop at HoJo for those famous hotdogs. We always got the Boston baked beans for a side, remember those cute little bean pots they served them in? Then afterwards the best part was getting to choose a different flavor of ice cream each time for dessert. Mmmmmmm!!

    I do remember the bean pots, Lee – even though I didn’t like beans, I thought they were cute. I also remember the fried clams…. YUMMMM – PJH

    Reply
  15. Carole

    I love making ice cream! One of our favorites is chocolate, chocolate chunk (using dark chocolate pieces), walnut.

    We also make fruit ice creams using our own fruit. Tastes soooo much better than store bought, and fun to experiment with.

    Love the red Cuisinart. Ours is plain old white. lol

    Reply
  16. Lee

    oh yes! fried clams! The grownups ALWAYS got those and I remember being allowed to have one or two. It was a big deal when I was finally allowed to order my own clam plate :)

    Reply
  17. Sue E. Conrad

    Hi, P.J.!

    We’re back in hazy, hot, humid FL now but with fond memories of our annual pilgrimage to KAF!

    Ah, yes, good ole HoJo’s!!! Our particular favorite was on Route 128 South in Newton, long gone by now of course!! Yum, the fried clams AND the ice cream…………..what fond memories. When it comes to ice cream, though, my two favorites are ginger (also my dad’s favorite) and peppermint stick. I’m definitely NOT a chocoholic except every once in a while, but then only dark chocolate will suffice.

    Loved that you included a picture of your husband in the ice cream blog. A lucky man indeed!!!!

    Glad you made it back safely, Sue. Thanks for stopping by – great to meet you! PJH

    Reply
  18. SimplePleasure

    gorgeous ice cream maker! I got the same model but in white. even though it’s already rainy season here, I’ll still give this recipe a try, especially with the OREOS mixed it seems so yummy!

    Reply
  19. Susan

    PJ — I love KAF, love this blog, and really, really love your writing style!

    Well, thank you, Susan. Great way to start the day here – Cheers! PJH

    Reply
  20. bakingblonde

    i am an ice cream addict! I have yet to purchase an icecream maker but have been known to add a ton of crazy combinations to store bought icecream with amazing results. I am a little scared (well my pants are) of what heaven it would be with homemade icecream. I may lose all self-control!
    You will definately have a lot of fun with one and be able to create even more amazing creations. Joan@bakershotline.

    Reply
  21. Shirley

    Wow, PJH, it just keeps getting better. I too love your writing style, I have a local friend who is a food columnist and your styles are quite similar. As to the ice cream, yum, I used my new Cuisinart on the 4th to make Maple Ice Cream based on their vanilla recipe, I used half and half, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 maple sugar plus 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (unfortunately not King Arthur’s), served it with Apple Enchiladas and it was a big hit, nothing left over.
    By the way, I was recently watching a home renovation from Georgia and there sitting on the counter was a bag of King Arthur flour and I yelled out “I’m proud of you girl”. I love seeing your products on different TV productions.

    Reply
  22. Ann Perry Evans

    I almost licked my computer screen as I read through this one! For the lactose intolerant, do you think this would work with Lactaid milk and then plain yogurt instead of heavy cream?

    Yes, you could use these substitutes. There is also a nut based cream substitute called MimicCream. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  23. Bridget

    Oh…WOW! That’s about all I can say. Other than I am a firm believer in your method of taste-testing directly out of the ice cream maker. :)

    Reply
  24. Mrs. Hittle

    i tried this the same day i read it, and now am about to make it again… delicious! i really need to pick up some espresso powder. Our regular grocery stores don’t carry it, so i have to make a separate trip and just haven’t bothered yet. What i did last time, though, is add two shots of espresso and a little instant coffee to supplement it (fresh-brewed isn’t as concentrated as the powder). That worked pretty well– well enough to make it twice in four days! :-) Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Hi – You could always get espresso powder here… Go for it! Glad you’re enjoying the recipe – PJH

    Reply
  25. Kimberly D

    Could you use coconut milk? I was thinking of a tropical flavor ice cream.

    Sure, don’t see why not – go for it! PJH

    Reply
  26. Gert Martel

    We’ve been eating frozen yogurt (Kemps) for years now and can hardly tell the difference from ice cream. Any suggestions how to make it. Enjoy reading your blog–it inspires me to try different things.

    Pinkberry’s is apparently all the rage in the frozen yogurt field now. This recipe is supposed to be a clone of theirs. Let us know how it comes out – PJH

    Reply
  27. Heidi

    First of all– thanks for the awesome recipe– and of course, those great photos of every step and more! Now I know not to worry when the ice cream is squeezing out at the top! I have the older — white, not scalloped top– Cusinart and we love it!

    I find that for packing and storing our ice cream, Zip Loc’s Twist and Loc Containers– 4C/qt size are terrific! When you manage to NOT eat all the ice cream right away, they keep it perfectly fresh and ice free! The only down side is that they won’t quite hold all the ice cream, so I tend to need 2 containers. I just bought a half dozen (with $1 coupons attached!) to be ahead of the game for recipes just like this! Now to go find the last of those Choc. covered espresso beans…

    Reply
  28. Rachel W.

    I have a couple of questions: have you tried making frozen drinks (daiquires, margaritas) with the ice cream maker? If so, how are the results?

    Also, is there enough of a “charge” in the canister to make two batches of ice cream in a row, or do you have to re-freeze before each batch? I haven’t tried frozen drinks , but I think it would work well for that. One canister probably wouldn’t do 2 batches of ice cream. I’ve found it is a good idea to have an extra canister, then you can do two batches. Once a canister is thawed it takes 24 hours to refreeze completely. Have fun with it. Mary@KAF

    Reply
  29. Susan

    I have a wonderful memory of a delicious bana icecream made with over ripe banans and cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. It makes up well in my cusinart. another favorite is Mango. You can buy mango pulp and add some cinnamon and vanilla and you have a spectacular taste.

    Reply
  30. Amanda

    This may be a dumb question, but I’ll ask it anyway. Could gelatin (or some other substance) be added to make the ice cream creamier while cutting down on the fat? Thanks!

    This will be an experiment. Gelatin can be incorporated into an ice cream batter to help control the “free water” released during freezing. Try a Google search. Franki @ KAF.

    Reply
  31. Mark Milk Espresso Guy

    I run a blog about coffee, espresso and many related drinks, especially using frothed milk. Never thought about creating ice cream using the tastes I really love. Great article. I will definitely try this at home. Thanks.

    Reply
  32. JavaJunkie

    The flavor of this ice cream is just perfect for a coffee-holic like me, but the texture is, well, kinda like whipped cream. I’m sure it’s something I’m doing wrong, but I haven’t the foggiest!
    I tried to make the ice cream the other evening, but the mixture never even thickened. I gave up after about 45 minutes and threw everything back in the freezer/fridge. I tried again the next day and things thickened nicely for about 5 minutes, then I ended up with a slightly thickened soup. I tossed the whole thing in the freezer and called it a weekend.
    I poked at the mix today and found that it had somewhat thickened. Super easy to scoop with a soft texture like it was left out for 15 minutes.
    Anyone have any suggestions? Texture aside, this recipe is beautiful!!

    JJ, was the bucket of your ice cream maker thoroughly frozen? Sounds to me like your freezer simply isn’t cold enough, because despite what it did in the ice cream maker, it should have become pretty much rock-hard in your freezer. Is it at 0°F? Is it self-defrosting? Maybe with the self-defrost feature (if it has one) it just keeps warming the ice cream up enough to thaw it? Hmmm… PJH

    Reply
  33. Cecelia

    Wouldn’t the addition of a custard base (aka eggs) make this richer and more smooth? Just thinkin’ out loud here…anyone have any guidance?

    Yes, it would make it smoother and more “custardy.” I’d suggest you choose your favorite vanilla-custard ice cream recipe, and go from there… PJH

    Reply
  34. chinchillalover

    I wonder how this would be with leftover favorite fudge birthday cake?

    Pretty gosh-darn good, I’d say! PJH

    Reply
  35. Adam

    Really really great pics. I wish I was home. This reminded me of a little place my friends dad owned in Indiana. I love new coffee ice cream recipe keep up also I’ll say freeze any bread of cookie type and try to dip in chocolate. Less crumbs and hold up better

    Reply
  36. kaf-sub-tracee

    I can’t eat much sugar without getting I’ll. I heard that sugar substitutes don’t work so well with these types of ice cream makers. I’m hoping to be able to afford one soon though and do some experimenting!!
    I’d say give a quick check in with our community site too. SO much good knowledge and experience there, and everyone is willing to help out with questions. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  37. ssuch535558

    I remember Howard Johnson quite fondly from my childhood. It was 2 or 3 blocks from our school and we walked there with our teacher to buy ice cream. My grandmother and I would go there for hot dogs – grilled and in that special bun yummy!
    Anyway, should I put the liquid base mix in the refridge overnight before making the ice cream?

    Glad we could revive those old memories – or, maybe not all that old, young’un? I agree about the hotdogs – those grilled, butter-brushed buns really made the difference. HoJo’s offered “butter dogs” that probably set the standard for Culver’s Butter Burgers! And yes, you want everything as cold as possible when you make ice cream; so an overnight rest in the fridge for the base is a good idea. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  38. Julie Gereda

    What kind of person ever has extra chocolate ganache?

    A person who gets carried away when making topping for a single-layer cake! Trust me, it happens… and I’m actually glad because then I have a little secret stash of ganache in the fridge, for surreptitious spoonfuls. :) PJH

    Reply
  39. Janis

    It’s easier if you freeze your Oreos (or leftover bd cake) first. They are easy to chop into smaller pieces and stay crunchier in the ice cream. I have been looking for a new recipe to try since I had to switch to goat’s milk; this looks like a good one (read: easy and delicious). I will have to try substituting coffee yogurt for the cream (cow’s milk). Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply

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