We are beyond delighted to begin our adventures in homemade ice cream. But not presumptuous enough to believe we could craft a perfect base at the outset. So we cut ourselves a break and decided to employ the illustrious Salt & Straw ice cream base recipe.
For those of you with premium ice cream machines, we applaud you. We're jealous of you. Some day we hope to join you. But for now, we're working with our mom's passed down Cuisinart Ice Cream maker from the early 2000's.
Please note, we aren't food wasters and unless it will cause bodily harm, we eat all the ice cream we churn.
With a goal of something simple and summery, it didn't take us long to land on...Cotton Candy.
Couple fun facts about this sweet treat: the first machine was invented in 1897 by dentist William Morrison and confectioner John D. Wharton, who presented their "fairy floss" to great success at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Even more fun, what we know as cotton candy in the U.S. is called "candy floss" in the UK, "suikerspin" in the Netherlands, meaning 'sugar spider', "barbe à papa" in France, meaning 'daddy's beard' and " μαλλί της γριάς" in Greece meaning 'old lady's hair'.
ROUND 1: In an effort to not fairy floss ourselves into oblivion, we used a light-hand and kept it at 1 Tbsp of both Boo Blue (blue raspberry) and a few drops of blue food coloring. As you can guess, this created a pretty weak taste. The flavor was just too faint to cut through the cream. What did work was saving the 1 Tbsp Silly Nilly (pink vanilla) sugar for the final minute in machine. We combined it with 1 tsp of milk and poured it in, which created some fun swirls throughout. The problem with our method was incorporating more dairy, even a small amount, meant it affected the final ice cream consistency.
Apologies for awful lighting, Katherine thought it would be a good idea to take these pictures at night.
ROUND 2: Second test ran a bit more smoothly. We knew to increase the Floss Sugar quantities and added 4 Tbsp of both Boo Blue and Silly Nilly to the base, plus 1 1/2 tsp of blue food coloring to brighten things up. But since we added both Floss Sugars at the same time - and the food coloring levels were still too low - the resulting shade was a lackluster grey. The taste was far better than Round 1, but we could do better. So we added the pints to our Milkshake Monday roster and moved on.
ROUND 3: Third and final test. We added 6 Tbsp of Boo Blue to the base plus 1 Tbsp of Silly Nilly, and dropped in 1 1/2 Tbsp of blue food coloring. This finally gave us the bright blue we were hoping to achieve. As the machine churned, we mixed 1 tsp of pink food coloring with 2 Tbsp of Silly Nilly and set it aside. When the machine was just about finished, we poured in our pink sugar mix and let it blend for about 15 seconds before stopping the machine. The outcome was wild pink and purple swirls through the blue base. And the taste matched our childhood carnival memories; devouring cotton candy with nonsensical speed before hopping on the Sizzler for a ride. Perfect :)
Wanna make it yourself?
Salt & Straw Base
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Dry Milk Powder
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
1 1/3 cup Whole Milk
1 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1.) Combine the sugar, xanthan gum and dry milk powder in a small bowl and stir well.
2.) Pour the corn syrup into a medium pot and stir in the whole milk. Add the sugar mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
3.) Add the cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours, or for even better texture and flavor, 24 hours. Stir the base back together if it separates during the resting time. The base can be further stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Cotton Candy Ice Cream
6 Tbsp Boo Blue Floss Sugar
3 Tbsp Silly Nilly Floss Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Blue Food Coloring
1 tsp Pink Food Coloring
1.) For a consistent appearance, add both sugars at once to the base. To counter a dull color, add 1 1/2 Tbsp blue and 1 tsp pink food coloring (or until you reach the desired hue).
For a swirly, marbled effect, only mix in Boo Blue and blue food coloring plus 1 Tbsp of the Silly Nilly before starting the machine.
2.) Every machine is different, so make sure to check how long yours takes, but ours usually mixes for a little over 20 minutes. If you are going for a marbled effect, mix the remaining 2 Tbsp Silly Nilly with 1 tsp pink food coloring while the machine is running and set aside.
3.) Once the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency , add your pink sugar mixture. After about 15 seconds, turn off the machine.
4.) Transport the ice cream quickly into your pint containers and pop into the freezer. Let sit undisturbed for 6+ hours.