Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book
Category : Ice Cream
I own Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book, a manual of sorts, on how to make ice cream and other ice cream desserts (ice cream cake anyone?) at home. The book is a collaboration of sorts between Ben and Jerry of course, and with the help of magazine and newspaper writer Nancy Steven. Now before I get into the review, I must preface my review with three statements. One, I have not tried every recipe in the book. I am partial to certain ice cream flavor and ones that I won’t normally buy at the store, I didn’t make. Two, I have never had Ben and Jerry’s commercial ice cream so I can’t make any comparison to how close it is to what you get in a retail spot. Finally, I really like this book so in an attempt to make this review balanced, versus me glowing over everything, I’ve taken a look at some of the negative reviews from Amazon and paraphrased them here. Ok so let’s get to the review shall we.
The book is divided pretty logically with a bit of a preface, which is really the story of Ben and Jerry, followed by some ice cream theory by Jerry. The theory part reads a little bit like those famous words of Chef Gusteau, from the movie Ratatouille, “Any one can cook.” Except replace cook with make ice cream and instead of one simple line, it’s more like two rules. Rule 2 is, “There’s no such thing as an unredeemingly bad batch of homemade ice cream,” which I agree for the most part is true as long as you start out with the coldest ingredients possible or a compressor style ice cream maker.
The book itself is pretty cool with very retro-looking numbers that give the book the feel that it was designed by the Children’s Television Workshop, those same folks that make Sesame Street, I could hear The Count, every time I heard the page.
Now for the recipes. The recipes I tried was what the call the Heath Bar Crunch, which is a favorite of mine, Oreo Mint, Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. All of the recipes were easy enough to make, meaning the instructions were well written and none of the ingredients were overly exotic (very important if you don’t live in America). I thought all of the recipes tasted really good as did my wife and children. The Heath Bar Crunch recipe is a bit different than the one from my grandma and to be honest I think hers is better but can you honestly take my word for it? One thing to note about the Heath Bar Crunch recipe is that they go into a lot of detail about how to break the Heath candy bars. In reality, it’s not that difficult. We’ve alway just put the Heath bars in the freezer for a few hours and then without even opening the package just crumble them up like you do with saltine crackers you want to spread over chili.
Now about the negative reviews: The biggest complaint people had with this book is about raw eggs. All I can say to that is GET A GRIP! Some of the best foods in the world use eggs that are in less than a hard-boiled state. Caesar Salad uses a one-minute boiled egg, and what about eggs sunny side up? Real pasta carbonara, real mayonnaise, steak tartare is raw ground meat with a raw egg on top, not to mention sushi, or rare steaks. Here in Japan, I ate raw chicken and I’m still alive! Get rid of the germophobia and live a little. But still if you’re too much of a wus, just get pasteurized eggs. Finally, I read about a couple of people making scrambled eggs in some of the heated recipes. What you need to do, is a process called tempering. What that means is that before you add eggs to a hot liquid, you need to raise the temperature of the eggs enough so that they won’t curdle. You do that by adding in small increments of the hot mixture to the eggs before adding the eggs into the mixture. Doing that will prevent your eggs from scrambling.
Overall, I like Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book. Like I said, I didn’t try every recipe but the ones that I did try tasted great. So while the book isn’t super comprehensive, it does contain some unique recipes that my family gets a craving for every once in a while. So with that said, I think you’ll probably enjoy it as well.