I don’t know what made me think of it. I guess I’d realized that I hadn’t made ice cream in ages and then read someone’s blog post about liking coffee ice cream. I love coffee ice cream. Unfortunately, when I’ve made it in the past, it involved instant coffee crystals. Enough said.
So I started looking online for a good coffee ice cream recipe. I found a few, but they involved steeping whole beans in the custard and other very involved steps. The benefit of the instant crystals was that it was a quick recipe. The drawback was that it didn’t taste good. Then inspiration struck: What if I made it with Starbucks’ VIA instant coffee? Here’s the deal with VIA. It’s not like other instant coffees, which are prepared by brewing coffee (from not-so-great beans) and then freeze-drying it into crystals—and not coincidentally removing most of the flavor and aroma and body. On the other hand, pushing past the marketing hype, VIA is made from both brewed coffee and fresh-roasted beans that are ground so fine that they dissolve in the hot water. (Or they’re in suspension. I’m not sure, but then I’m not a chemist.)
Anyway, my sister-in-law Theresa works for Starbucks and when I told her my idea she was all for it. We had some packets of VIA Italian Roast laying around and so our experiment began. I started by taking one of those recipes I’d found online, specifically this one at Simply Recipes, and then in concert with Theresa, adapting it. Instead of steeping the whole beans in the milk mixture, Theresa just put two packets of VIA in at the beginning, and then at the end where the recipe added more finely ground coffee to the cold mixture, she added a third packet. We put it in the ice cream maker and then the freezer and several hours later, voilà!, Italian Roast coffee ice cream.
How was it? If I were to tweak the recipe, I would reduce the coffee from three packets to two. The coffee flavor was very strong, which wasn’t bad, but might put some people off. I think I would also switch at least one of the packets to decaf. A small bowl of this ice cream before bed was a bad idea. Nevertheless, this was very good coffee ice cream. Mmmm. How good? Did you notice that there isn’t a picture of the ice cream to go with this blog post? Yeah, that good.