Thursday, June 14, 2007

Chocolate Hazelnut Cinnamon Ice Cream


I came up with this gluten-free recipe (or pseudo-recipe) yesterday on a whim, as a way to beat the summer heat (though, officially it is only Spring time). I just decided to mix a few of my favorite flavors together into a sweet frozen concoction I'll call Chocolate Hazelnut Cinnamon Ice Cream.

More accurately, this gluten-free dessert is Chocolate Hazelnut Cinnamon Ice Milk - a much lower fat version of ice-cream. I'm not sure how many of you readers are familiar with Ice Milk as a dessert - it has rather disappeared from the US market over the past 30 years, and the wikipedia entry about ice-milk mentions how in 1994 when labeling laws allowed manufacturers to call Ice Milk "low fat ice cream", "Ice Milk" basically disappeared from grocery stores in an instant.

I remember consuming Ice Milk as a child, and enjoying the fact that it was lighter and more cooling and refreshing than Ice Cream. Sure, I love Ice Cream and it's creamy richness, but I also like frozen desserts containing no fat at all but plenty of flavor (like Sorbets). Ice Milk is somewhere in the middle for me, and can certainly satisfy a craving for ice cream with a bit less dietary guilt.

Though I didn't use a formal recipe to create my dessert of the moment, it is definitely not difficult to reproduce. I'm used to a bit of experimentation in the kitchen, and I have found that some of the best treats arrive as a result of my improvisational "formulas" - a bit like a mad scientist at times. This particular experiment was all about how to put the ice cream maker to use for a quick cool down (note: I keep the ice-cream maker's "bowl" in the freezer for emergencies, since it takes a good 8 hours or so to freeze it otherwise, and waiting for that ruins my spontaneous creation moods).

So, I started with the obvious components: milk and sugar. Then, a bit of vanilla. Next, some cocoa and cinnamon. And finally, for just that perfect subtle nutty flavor, a bit of hazelnut syrup. I know how much milk and sugar I used, and approximately what amount of each remaining component I tossed into the mix...

The Recipe
3 cups milk - I used 2%, just because it's what was in the fridge
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Cocoa
3-4 Tablespoons Cinnamon (yes, this ice milk had flavor!)
2 Tablespoons Hazelnut Syrup
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

I just placed all these ingredients into my mixer's bowl, and mixed on low speed until the sugar dissolved and the cocoa and cinnamon were distributed nicely (feel free to alter the blance of cocoa and cinnamon to your liking). I then pulled the frozen ice-cream maker's bowl from the freezer, placed it in the machine, and filled the bowl with my mixed ingredients and turned the machine on for 20 minutes.

Now, this is where a decision must be made. Do you want "soft serve" ice-cream that is a bit like a thick milk shake or perhaps a Wendy's (brand) "Frosty", or do you want hard-packed ice cream. If you choose the former, pour that freshly frozen mixture into a glass (as shown) and enjoy immediately! Otherwise, place the mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze it solid for a couple hours. I like it either way, but I really prefer the soft-serve approach for many reasons: instant gratification, awesome cool-down treat, and less cleanup (no freezer container - though, if there are leftovers, you'll still want to freeze that which you do not immediately consume).

So, there you have it. "Low-fat Ice Cream", or "Ice Milk" from days past,... whatever you call it, it makes for a delicious flavorful and satisfying summer treat - gluten-free.

Ingredients note: The hazelnut syrup I used is clearly marked "gluten-free" on the back. I found this "Flavorganics" brand of certified organic syrups at Whole Foods recently. And, they have a nice selection of additional syrup flavors that I still need to try out in some gluten-free desserts.

8 comments:

Dianne said...

OMG Mike! That looks fantastic ... and low fat too!

:)

Mike Eberhart said...

Diane - low fat implies you can eat more at once, right? :) mmmmmm

Jean Layton-GF Momma said...

Yummy! Can't wait to try this one out. I love the syrups too. Keep the caramel one around for on top of ice cream or too tart berries.
Thanks for keeping it low fat as well

Dianne said...

Yup! That's right!
If I can find some hazelnut syrup, I'm going to make some of this choccie confection, for sure

:)

Isle Dance said...

What a glorious photo!!

Mike Eberhart said...

Isle - thanks. I learned one trick when photographing frozen-things a while back. Pre-pose all the elements, have camera focused and ready, and then pose the item (subject to melting) where you are already to snap the picture. I learned that when doing the book - after having to re-shoot a milkshake photo a few times, and having whip-cream melt before I could get things just right, etc. Now I know better :) Glad you liked the picture, and more so I hope you can enjoy some ice milk!

Isle Dance said...

How terrific! I've seen your book everywhere (my little local organic deli displays it front and center and makes goodies from it, thank goodness!) and I was most drawn to the photography. Very cool! Funny to have just recently happened upon your Blog. Great work!

Mike Eberhart said...

Isle - if you've seen my book at your local organic place, and they bake gluten-free desserts from it, all the better for you. You can get the desserts without even having to bake them yourself. I'm not sure where in particular you are talking about, but I know of a few other small business owners around the country that purchased the book to bake items for sale in their stores/restaurants.

I don't have any dealers selling it near you though, as I only sell it online and at retail stores throughout Ohio and PA (from what I gather, you're not in this region). Maybe one of these days I'll become less lazy about getting more retailers around the country to sell it.

Glad you liked the photos in the book, and nice to have had you encounter my blog. Thanks.