Hazelnut Espresso Dry Ice-Cream

2 Jan

Since it’s winter break, I have been granted huge blocks of time to do, well, whatever. It’s been a great opportunity to re-explore what I’m interested in, as well as get caught up on everything I’ve missed out on during this past semester. But while exercising, watching endless episodes of Netflix shows, and reading the final Hunger Games book have been beneficial, this season is also a time to get ambitious and take some risks.

For me, cooking is the perfect way to do this. The Werner family kitchen becomes a lab for overtly complicated dishes or recipes that a college pantry is not conducive to.

A result of too many gadgets and too much time

Last year, I made the cream of cauliflower soup with red beet chips from ad hoc at home, a recipe that include a deep-fryer, torn croutons, and cauliflower that was boiled, shocked, sauteed, pureed, and then dumped into a bowl. It may have been the best use I’ve ever encountered for the vegetable.

Today,while flipping through Theodore Gray’s Mad Science, I found a recipe for dry ice cream. Dry ice has always been something I’ve wanted to experiment with, so a long Monday offered a perfect opportunity. Gray suggests blowing a CO2 fire extinguisher into a pillowcase, but due to convenience and lack of a pillowcase, I decided to bypass his step of turning liquid pressurized carbon dioxide into a solid. I made do with a block of the solidified gas.

Dry ice is surprisingly not available at Wal-Mart, so that’s one less thing we have at our disposal should a zombie apocalypse come and force us to loot the superstore. Pity. My brother and I managed to find some at Harris Teeter for $1 a pound, which means later ideas are financially possible.

Dry ice cannot be placed in tight containers, inhaled, or dealt with bare hands. It is the solid form of carbon dioxide, a product of the evaporation of liquid carbon dioxide. As that liquid evaporates, the carbon dioxide gets very cold and uses a lot of energy. It’s over 100 degrees below zero and lasts for less than 12 hours. This ice cream needs to be eaten as soon as it’s created.

A pint of heavy cream and a pint of half and half made more than enough ice cream for 8 people, so in the future, I’m keeping the proportions small. Whisk together the cream and half and half with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and whatever additional flavors you’d like.

I put in a teaspoon of Torani hazelnut syrup and some warm espresso and whisked that around a little bit more.

Now, for the fun part.

The dry ice should be as crushed as finely as possible to fold into the ice cream. Large chunks should be avoided and NOT eaten. Add little by little and stir. And stir. And stir.

At first, the dry ice sublimates, letting off a fog that gulps up the bowl and the gloved hands stirring in it. As I stirred more and more, bubbles began forming and got feisty. They rose like a boiling over pot of water, and I had to rush to a new location.

Once I got a good enough consistency (around the same as a milkshake), I dished some out into some mugs. Since it was carbon dioxide evaporating, the ice cream became fizzy. After trying out the latte-flavored lactose treat, I sprinkled some dry ice onto some orange slices and am waiting for the results.

For later ideas:


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