I am a lover of all things ice cream. I dream about it…and I dream about making different flavors (hence the Butternut Ice Cream post). It’s my favorite dessert of all time – and my Cuisinart gets LOTS of use around here. But, I started wondering if there were other things that I could sweeten my ice cream with – besides turbinado sugar ( (we don’t like sucanat in ice cream). I’ll just go ahead and tell you the truth – I want to be able to eat more ice cream, so if I feel like it’s HEALTHY then I can eat more…right? Yes. Amen. So, I tried three different “healthy” sweeteners to see which ranked the highest: honey, liquid stevia, and maple syrup.
NOTE: I eat more ice cream in the winter than in the summer. Yes, I realize that is weirdo. Here is my reasoning – I don’t have to eat it super fast in the winter because I’m not worried about it melting – so I enjoy it long and slow. But I also eat a lot in the summer too…and I eat it fast and don’t share so that it won’t melt into nothingness.
I tried my same base recipe for all three tests (I’ll give it at the bottom). First, I went with honey. Normally I use ¾ cup of turbinado in my ice cream, so since honey is stronger I used a bit less…but not too much less because I sorta wanted the honey flavor to shine through – I went with 2/3 cup of raw honey.
In a saucepan warm 1 cup of whole milk just a tad…not too hot, just to knock the cold off of it so that the honey will dissolve quicker. Add the honey and stir until combined. Throw in a pinch of salt, one tablespoon of vanilla, and 2 cups heavy cream. Stir. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours and then churn.
This was really good…and I was worried. I’m not a huge fan of the taste of honey, but this was very light. In fact, my sister couldn’t even taste it. It got thumbs up from my whole family – and we finished it in only 24 hours. *Burp*
Next, I decided to go with stevia – liquid Sweet Leaf (that only brand we care for). The bottle says to use 5-8 drops for 8 ounces of liquid. Since I use 3 cups total of liquid, I first tried 24 drops. I mixed the stevia, milk, salt, vanilla, and cream together. I tasted the cream mixture (everyone does that, right?) to see how it was – not sweet enough. So I ended up using 30 drops.
I churned the ice cream and was sadly disappointed. The texture wasn’t like real ice cream – it was more like ice milk. I didn’t like it AT ALL. I felt like I wasted the cream…but Barry said it wasn’t the worst thing he’d ever eaten. It wasn’t creamy and it wasn’t sweet enough. Two thumbs down. I won’t try this again.
I lost my mind and put this batch in the fridge instead of the freezer – uhhhh, oops? So, no more stevia ice cream. And it had the WEIRDEST texture in the morning – like liquid motor oil. I try not to think about the fact that I lost two cups of heavy cream. RIP cream. *Sniff*
I saved the maple syrup for last because I had a feeling it would be best – I mean, maple syrup is like ketchup – it makes everything taste better. Highlands Sugarworks is the organic maple syrup that I buy from Amazon. I used 2/3 cup just like with the honey. It will dissolve just fine with cold milk, so mix together all your ingredients and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Churn.
Holy cow Batman. Holy cow. This is the way ice cream was meant to be! When it was done, I found myself in the kitchen licking the beater and groaning with delight – Barry was in the living room and I know he wonders what I was doing…but probably not since he knew I was churning ice cream. This was the best batch of ice cream I’ve ever made – ever. If it’s possible, maple syrup gets 10 thumbs up.
I just might have dropped a chunk of this in the floor. And I just might have picked it up and eaten it. And I just might have licked my fingers. And I just might have given myself more than Barry. And I just might have hidden it in the back of the freezer – but I’m not so dumb as to think that Barry will forget it’s in there. Bummer.
So, I’ve deduced that honey and maple syrup are GREAT ice cream sweeteners! Don’t waste your time or cream on the stevia. Maple syrup is now our sweetener of choice. Also, Newman’s Own Organic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies might also make a great topping…or so I’ve heard. *Cough*
Stacy’s Base Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup turbindo sugar (or 2/3 cup honey or maple syrup)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups heavy cream
Combine milk and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved (you will have to heat the milk a tad to get the sugar or the honey to dissolve quickly). Add salt, vanilla, and cream. Stir well. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Churn according to directions. Devour. Holy cow, Batman.
*This post is linked at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting, at Tuesdays at the Table on All The Small Stuff, at Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, at Works for Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Homemaking Hints at Heavenly Homemakers, at Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real Food, and at Pennywise Platter on The Nourishing Gourmet.