Banana Ice cream woes

Got a Rival 1 quart ice cream maker recently, so I decided to try this recipe for banana ice cream:

I am having some problems, though. Typically, the ice cream maker will run for 20 - 40 minutes before the ice cream is of the right texture and it will shut down. The banana ice cream is running for ~10 minutes, and then the frozen “stuff” that clings to the side of the mixing bowl puts so much strain on the paddle that it has to shut down to prevent overheating. The resulting ice cream does not freeze light and fluffy, but instead freezes hard as a rock and unscoopable.

WTF? I followed the recipe correctly, can anyone think of what I might have done wrong? I only used 5 large bananas instead of 6 medium ones. They were just a touch over the recommended weight, but not much. Help?

What was the temperature of the ice cream mixture when you put it in the machine?

A cold mixture will freeze faster and produce a creamier ice cream. But it sounds like maybe yours froze too fast and did not have time to have air mixed in. I would try to make it starting with the mixture just cooler than room temperature and see if that helps.

Hm. Mysterious.

When you processed the bananas, were there any chunks left or was it down to puree? Did you freeze the bananas overnight beforehand as per the recipe?

Do you have any butter fat chunks, as if the heavy cream was churning into butter?

Ok, more info. Per the recipe, I froze and then thawed the bananas, so they were super-squishy when I put them in the processor. The mixture was VERY smooth.

The mixture was about 39 degrees, having been refrigerated overnight.

When I examined the bowl afterward, I found that a thick, VERY hard layer of mixture had frozen to the side. This prevented the paddle from rotating. Would having the mixture warmer help with this? I have not noticed any butter chunks.

As others have mentioned, having a slightly warmer mixture should help. Alternatively, you could put in a splash – just a splash – of alcohol. Vodka’s always good and neutral, or you could boost the flavor with creme de banana or something like that. The benefit of the alcohol is that it will help prevent that rock-hard texture when you store leftovers in the freezer.

I watch Alton Brown, so I deal in measurements :slight_smile: When you say a splash, do you mean 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz? Even less?

I will give this a shot. I have split the recipe in half to try to experiment a little, so I got a few more tries before I just give up.

I love Alton Brown, but unless you’re dealing with baking, cooking can be a little more art than science. It’s OK to be imprecise.

As for “how much is a splash?” I dunno. A glug.

If you’re splitting a 1-qt recipe in half, I’d start with a Tablespoon, no more. Adjust as needed for the second batch.

I made that recipe a few weeks ago and found that it does freeze much more solidly than regular ice cream. I still got a bit of fluffiness into it but it froze very quickly.

I made the same recipe a while back, and while my ice-cream maker was able to go the full 25 minutes, I got basically the same results (very, very hard after freezing). Worse, even if you let it sit for a while to become scoopable…well, it’s not very good.

My suggestion? Pretend that recipe never happened, and go instead with his much better premium one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/vanilla-ice-cream-recipe/index.html , and add one pureed (frozen-mushed) banana at the cooling process, along with the vanilla. This generates a much better banana ice cream, in my (and my coworkers) opinion, but it’s subtler.

And since we’re here, try this non-banana variation: use the same recipe above, but at churning time, toss in one half bar of unsweetened chocolate, chopped into as large a chunks as your ice cream maker allows (or add it after churning), and a half cup of crushed Werther’s original candies. I make lots of ice creams (almost all based on that base recipe) for my coworkers, and aside from some regional specialties (red bean or coconut), the toffee one always vanishes faster than any of the others: I’ve started doubling the amount of it I make relative to the other ice creams.

After poking around the internet, I now believe the problem with the recipe is the use of corn syrup as 100% of the sweetener. Sugar is one of the things that keeps ice cream from getting too hard (sugar, air, and usually lecithin or eggs) because it lowers the freezing temperature of the mixture. I’ve seen articles that say that no more than 30% of sweetener should be corn syrup, because it does not lower the freezing point as much as sugar does. Freezing point is warmer -> more water freezes in a home freezer = rock hard ice cream.

It actually pinged my spidey sense because I have literally never seen a recipe for homemade ice cream that used only corn syrup before.

A strange mistake for Alton, master food science guy, to make.

Very interesting! And I agree, a strange mistake for AB.

Thanks for the tips…other than alcohol, are there any other tips as to what I can do to make this stuff more palatable now that I have a whole munch of it mixed up? It tastes really good, it just needs to be more ice-cream like.

I also made his vanilla ice cream (the one that calls for peach preserves) and it was way too sweet for everyone but me. AB is letting me down on the ice cream front…

So to speak.

Just wanted to weigh in and tell you I tried that recipe a while back and indeed ended up with rock-hard banana ice cream… Which ended up tasting a lot more like a rock-hard frozen banana than what it should have. Glad to know it’s obviously something with the recipe… :slight_smile:

Many of the reviews of the recipe do say that it “tastes exactly like a banana.” So, I think that is what it is “supposed” to taste like, it just might not have been what you had in mind, if you take my meaning.

Honestly, I have one book of ice cream recipes – the Ben & Jerry’s book – I look no further. Whenever I see a recipe does deviates from their formula (and they have several “basic” formulas, I mean, if I see something I’ve never seen in their book) I look upon it with suspicion.

Melt it. Add about another two cups of heavy cream and 3-4 tablespoons of sugar or honey. Re-churn and refreeze.

I hate to say this about AB cause I really do love that show, but I usually find his recipes to suck and the flavors to be really out of whack. Sorry, not to threadjack. Anyway to be off on the science is odd for him, you are right.