Let’s Celebrate National Ice Cream Day!

Happy National Ice Cream Day to everyone! And it is definitely not too late to celebrate. Sure, there may be a food holiday for just about every day of the year but what would you rather celebrate? National Pickled Herring Day or national frozen milk with tons of sugar and yummy things day? Uh huh. That’s what I thought. Just to give you a little bit of background, the first appearance of ice cream was actually really more of a snow cone created in ancient Persia where they would gather snow from the mountain tops and pour grape juice concentrate on it on really, really hot summer days. Over the years the dishes got more and more variations (some with milk!) and somewhere along the way some European royals got ahold of the recipes and actually paid off their chefs to try and keep ice cream a big fat royal secret. But they couldn’t keep something as delicious as that away from the masses for too long so eventually the ice cream beans were spilled and even the lowly peasants were able to enjoy its splendid pleasantries. Then there’s a lot of hoopla over which country created which flavor and machines and makers and ice. Fast forward a few more hundred years and ice cream is found at just about any and every grocery store, truck stop, gas station, drug store and freezer in U.S. households. And now you’ll find more than enough variations to keep your ice cream appetite alive, even leaving some delicious room for those who are dairy digestion challenged. I mean, they even have “space” ice cream (those tiny little dots of sweet, creamy goodness better known as Dippin’ Dots). It has become a teenage date stereotype, a childhood summer treat and a broken-hearted girl’s best friend. If you really think about it, ice cream is taking up about just as much room in our society as it is in my freezer. That means a huge amount, in case you were wondering.

In this post we’re gonna churn out some of our favorite ice cream facts, treats and recipes to celebrate one of our personal favorite national holidays!

World Power452531433

Ice cream, or at least something very similar to it, can be found in just about every continent around the world. It has a serious hold over all of us! And whereas today is the U.S.’s national ice cream day, we can still celebrate some of their foreign counterparts. It kind of makes you want to go on a round-the-world trip where you just go and taste every country’s ice cream, right?

Gelato: Perhaps the closest sister to the American stuff. Where they vary is that gelato usually uses more milk fat and a slower churning process which makes their product thicker, creamier and is usually served at a bit of a higher temperature.

Kulfi: Often served in India and southwest Asia, kulfi is the most custard like of all the variations. The process includes boiling down the milk, flavoring it and then freezing it in trays, never going through the churning process. Popular flavors include rose, mango, saffron and cardamom. Sign me up for a saffron!

Ais kachang: This Malaysian specialty is more like a snow cone or sorbet due to its complete lack of cream or milk of any kind. We’re gonna count it because it’s really good and really different. Ice shavings are topped with rose syrup, grass jelly and cooked red beans to create one seriously special treat.

Dondurma: Is it ice cream? Is it taffy? Well, it’s kind of a mixture of both. Powdered orchid root is the secret ingredient added to this Turkish sweet that gives it an incredibly stretchy consistency. Apparently street vendors in Turkey often try to show the quality of their creations by stretching them between metal rods, much like what you’d see with taffy on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

487016989Taste Explosion

I’m sure by now most people know that there are more flavors out there than the 31 Baskin Robbins boasted for years. But some of the crazy concoctions that people are coming up with these days go even further than bacon and maple syrup. One example of such mad scientists include Salt & Straw out of Portland, Ore., who have somehow captured some classic culinary pairings like blue cheese and pear and melon and prosciutto and encased them in our favorite frozen treat. But if the sweet and savory thing already weirds you out, you’re probably not gonna want to try a few of their more daring flavors like bone marrow with bourbon smoked cherries or black raspberries and pork belly. My opinion? Don’t knock it till you try it!

Ice Cream to Make Dr. Frankenstein Jealous

It’s nothing too crazy. It just glows in the dark, which is really pretty cool. Any no, it’s not because of radioactive ingredients. This year a British scientist took the protein that makes certain jellyfish glow-in-the-dark and threw it in some good old fashioned ice cream. But there are a few tricks. For instance, it only glows when you lick it, as the proteins need to be agitated in some way for it to work. Also, it costs about $200 a scoop…so it won’t really be a late night trip to the store sort of purchase. But you never know what the future holds! I mean, glow-in-the-dark ice cream? Who could have predicted that?!

The Star of the Show

And now, for the event you’ve all been waiting for, the recipe that let’s you really celebrate today’s holiday to its fullest by making your very own homemade ice cream. There’s really no better way! Once you’ve got this one down, you can master making your own ice cream cake or will know the answer to “how to make ice cream sandwiches.” Warning though, this information does come with a lot of power.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream:

1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
6 egg yolks
3 cups cream
2 cups milk

1. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until well incorporated.
2. Warm the cream and milk. Pour the cream and milk into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and whisk. together. Return to the pot and bring and simmer.
3. Cool the mixture. Place in an ice cream maker and churn for about 20 minutes.
4. Place in a container, cover and freeze.

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