We have never had an ice cream maker. As a person who has often violent reactions to dairy products, it just always seemed like a ridiculous idea to own an appliance designed to make a food that would just mock me with its creaminess.
Our friends recently got an ice cream maker and started making the yummiest sorbets I've ever had, and it dawned me that, duh, one can use ice cream makers to make SO much more than ice cream!
Thus, because we are nothing if not followers, we went and got an ice cream maker of our very own. We were even, umm, considerate? and bought the same model as our friends AND an extra bowl, so between us we have three bowls, for three batches of frozen goodness all at once, should the need arise. (These are very good friends, and we share like that!)
So this holiday weekend, we have embarked on making our first batches. We began by toying with the idea of making Lemon or Lemonade sorbet (I even saw someone suggest Tazo Passion herbal tea lemonade, and I am loving that idea, thank you very much, Starbucks!) and Watermelon Sorbet (I had some our friends made and liked it, even though I am NOT a watermelon fan), or some combination of those two (anyone for Watermelon Lemonade??). We also had bananas, blueberries, grapes, and a few strawberries in the house, so we were not at a loss for fruit combination possibilities. We settled on Watermelon and Lemon, straight up. Two plain sorbets, so we could try out our machine. And guess what? Success! The husband made the watermelon version VERY watermelony, like a frozen melon, so he loves it. The lemon recipe was call "tart" lemon sorbet, but I find it just has an intense lemony flavor that is certainly not overpowering or overly tart. This first round we learned some valuable lessons: one, get the sorbet mixture as cold as possible before you add it to the ice cream maker, to speed the freezing along and make a smoother product. Two, be careful when washing out an ice cream bowl that is filled with freezing gel since it will freeze the wash water on contact. And also a damp towel. Oops!
On to round two, our more adventuresome flavors. This time, we made Basil Lime sorbet and Coconut Milk sorbet. Ahh, heaven! You smell more than taste the basil and the herb complements the tart limes to create a taste sensation, as they say. The color is a tiny bit off putting, I will admit, after you blend all the basil into the lime, but it tastes so good, who cares? And that brings us to our most successful flavor by far, Coconut Milk sorbet. This dessert calls for two ingredients: canned coconut milk and sugar. Done! And when you put the mix into the ice cream maker, magic happens. The coconut milk has such a high fat content (I actually used one can full fat and one can lite coconut milk) that it doubles in volume and transforms into this silky smooth, creamy concoction, halfway between sorbet and soft serve ice cream. Delicious!
After our sorbet forays, for there are sure to be more, we are headed into frozen yogurt territory. I am especially excited to try all these recipes that use Greek yogurt and funky spice and fruit combos. Yum......!