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If you’ve been craving soft serve, a little science can help you make it in a few minutes in your kitchen. You and your family can enjoy it as a dessert anytime. It’s simple to make and if you have the ingredients, you can relish yummy and creamy vanilla or any flavored soft serve whenever you’re in a hurry.
How Does Dry Ice Work?
Does the science behind dry ice pique your interest? Before we get down to the recipe, find out how it can instantly help you make a delicious dessert.
Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It’s intensely cold and has a temperature of around -109° F, which is its secret to freezing liquid quickly — water freezes at around 32℉. At a negative temperature, it can promptly solidify a liquid ice cream mixture and turn it into a satisfying dessert.
Dry ice has a snowy color and you’ll see a fog or smoke when it vaporizes. Unlike ice cubes that turn into liquid when melted, dry ice converts into gas directly and dissipates into air. You need to be careful when handling it because it can cause frostbite. Use a tong or wear gloves and avoid touching it with your bare hands.
What Is Dry Ice Ice Cream?
When you make homemade sweets the traditional way, you usually store your ice cream mixture in the freezer and wait overnight until it’s frozen before you eat it with others the next day. You can serve a perfect treat to everyone in minutes with dry ice.
How To Make Dry Ice Ice Cream?
It’s easy to whip up frozen sweets using dry ice. You need seven ingredients and four tools for this charcoal ice cream recipe.
Before using dry ice, ensure your kitchen or the area where you will make the ice cream is well-ventilated. Since it evaporates as carbon dioxide, you should allow proper air circulation so you don’t inhale the gas.
Ingredients (makes four servings)
- 2 cups of half and half (combine one cup of milk and one cup of cream)
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 0.5 cup sugar
- 10 grams of activated charcoal
- 2 tablespoons mint extract
- 4 tablespoons black food coloring
- Dry ice
- Freezer bag
- Kitchen mallet
- Kitchen towel
Preparing the Dry Ice
- Place a piece of dry ice in a large freezer bag.
- Close it but leave an inch of opening for the gas not to fill the bag.
- Grab a clean kitchen towel and use it to cover the freezer bag.
- Use a kitchen mallet to crush the dry ice until it’s powdered.
Making the Base
- Mix all ingredients except for the dry ice in a large bowl.
- Whisk until you get a frothy mixture.
- Scoop a spoonful of powdered dry ice from the freezer bag and slowly add it. Whisk together.
- Add a spoonful of dry ice gradually and whisk again until you get a consistent texture.
- Wait for the fog or smoke to disappear completely. It’s your cue that all the dry ice has evaporated.
Serve your charcoal ice cream. Activated charcoal has many health benefits. It has detoxifying benefits and lowers cholesterol levels. It was used as an anti-poison treatment in earlier times.
Feel free to customize this recipe based on your preferred flavor. Instead of activated charcoal, you may use fruits, chocolates or syrups for flavoring.
Reminder: Consume your homemade dessert within 24 hours for the best taste. Check with your doctor if eating foods with activated charcoal is safe since it may interact with other medications.
Is Dry Ice Ice Cream Safe To Eat?
Ice cream frozen with dry ice is entirely safe to eat. When you make the ice cream, the dry ice doesn’t mix in because it turns into gas. What it does is remove the moisture from the ice cream base. Then, it dissipates into the air, so you get nicely textured ice cream. Many ice cream parlors use dry ice to make their products. Bartenders also use it in cocktails and other beverages to make them look cool.
Dry ice is dangerous if you eat it in its solid form. It’s icy, and it can burn the inside of your body if you swallow it. That’s why grocery stores don’t sell it to children because they often put things into their mouths.
If you know someone who accidentally swallowed dry ice, seek medical attention immediately.
How Do You Freeze Dry Ice Cream at Home?
A freeze-dried dessert is an absolute treat for those who love it. If you want to eat crunchy ice cream or are curious about the popular “space ice cream,” freeze-dry it at home. People love this version of sweets more since it’s dry but flavorful and melts in the mouth.
To freeze dry at home, you need to use the freeze drier — a machine that removes the water from the creamy mixture so it turns into a crunchy and fluffy snack.
The most crucial step when freezing and drying sweets is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to freeze dry foods using the machine. Here are the general steps to guide you.
- Freeze dryer
- Parchment paper
- Ice cream scoop
- Plastic wrap
- Use parchment paper to line the freeze-dryer trays.
- Transfer the ice cream to the freeze-dryer trays. Scoop it and arrange each scoop following a line in the trays. It should look like small balls of sweets. You can also spread it in a thin layer across the tray.
- Place it in the freezer for one to two hours.
- After it’s chilled, remove it and use plastic wrap to cover it.
- Load and secure the tray in the freeze-dryer.
- Power on the appliance and select the suggested freeze and dry times based on the machine’s manual instructions.
- Allow the appliance to run. It may take 24 hours or more to achieve the perfect freeze-dried ice cream.
- Once the freeze dryer stops, take out the tray and taste it for dryness.
- If it’s cold and a bit wet, reload the freeze dryer and add dry time for about two hours.
- Once the drying cycle is complete, remove the tray and enjoy your crunchy dessert.
- Make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
Enjoy Dry Ice Ice Cream All Summer Long at Home
By using dry ice, you can whip up your favorite chocolate or fruit ice cream any time you want. It’s easy to make and affordable, too. With only a few ingredients, you can enjoy it after a meal or while watching your favorite show.