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How to boost coffee flavor in homemade ice cream?

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We've been making chocolate and vanilla ice cream using my grandfather's recipes and the standard ice-cream maker, and we recently tried to create coffee ice cream using the same template: sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half and vanilla extract are the basics. For chocolate ice cream, we add a couple bars of German chocolate and Carnation chocolate malt; for vanilla, we use regular Carnation malt and a little extra vanilla. For the coffee ice cream, we separated out some of the dairy mixture, heated it and stirred in 2 T. coffee extract and about 4 heaping T. of instant coffee. We then added this to the rest of the mix and were pleased with the good, clear coffee flavor it had. However, upon freezing, the ice cream lost ALL coffee flavor, and it also became as dark as chocolate ice cream (as opposed to the typical beige look of coffee ice cream). We are trying to figure out how to sufficiently boost the coffee flavor so it lasts through the freezing stage. Is it a matter of more instant coffee? Perhaps instant espresso powder instead? I think brewed coffee would alter the chemistry too much and create ice crystals....any advice appreciated!

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  1. I'd go with instant espresso powder, or quad strength espresso shots, subbed for some of the liquid. When I'm using instant espresso granules, I dissolve them in the vanilla. It makes a thick syrup-like goo that I add to whatever recipe I'm using. Works pretty well. I'm guessing that the instant coffee flavor is just not robust enough to stand up to freezing.

    1. I grind fresh beans and use as a ice cream topper. The grinds get real crunchy when cold. I'm not one for instant coffee or espresso. Just fresh ground beans

      1. You need to use coffee beans for stronger flavor. Extract and instance powder is, for lack of a better phrase, putting lipstick on a pig.

        Pour some milk, cream, sugar, salt and whole coffee beans in a pot, bring to a soft boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, then let it rest and steep for about 2 hours. Strain the liquid and proceed with your usu. ice cream recipe-procedure.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Yup. If you really want coffee flavor in your ice cream, you need to steep with coffee beans. You could take your regular base as is, warm it up, then steep 1-2 cups of coffee beans for a few hours. Strain, then make your ice cream.

          1. re: leanneabe

            Thanks -- we'll try that!

            1. re: leanneabe

              Yep, that's what I've done for coffee ice cream, and it has a great coffee flavor.