Yes, You Can Smoke Ice Cream. Here's How

dish of ice cream with berries and smoke
dish of ice cream with berries and smoke - Tahalefty/Shutterstock

Making a churn of ice cream at home is a simple and classic dessert. But if you're tired of your typical flavors and are ready to take your frozen dessert to the next level, consider smoking it. Smoked ice cream has a richer depth of flavor thanks to the complexity and umami notes the smoke lends the sweet treat. Better yet, recipes that have a higher fat content can benefit from the balance the smokiness brings. But know that some flavors are easier to manage than others.

Vanilla ice cream is a convenient flavor to start with because it is something of a blank slate. (We love these 12 grocery store brands of vanilla ice cream.) There are no potent flavors within vanilla for the smoke to contend with, so it can easily shine without having to smoke the ice cream too much. While smoke can enhance underlying bitter flavors in some ice creams, you can smoke any flavor. It simply depends on the method you choose.

To smoke ice cream, you simply need to expose the dessert to burning wood chips. But there are several ways to do this. For the most control over the level of smokiness — and a wider range of flavors because the smoke is highly controlled, you can smoke the cream alone before making your ice cream base. You can also smoke the base before churning it to avoid melting the dessert. But to smoke already made ice cream, you can choose from your grill or an indoor smoker.

Read more: 23 Best Ice Cream Brands Ranked

How To Smoke Ice Cream On The Grill

ice cream scoop in a smoking cloche
ice cream scoop in a smoking cloche - Natalia Sokko/Shutterstock

To smoke ice cream on the grill, you first need to prepare your equipment. Start by preheating the grill to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and fill a bowl with ice. Better yet, freeze several inches of water in the bottom of a pan. This will create less surface area and slow the rate at which the ice melts. Next, add the wood chips to the fire, and place the pan of ice, with the ice cream placed directly on top of the ice, onto the grill.

It should take just a few minutes, no more than five for the ice cream to get a smokey sheen across its exterior. Use a spatula to flip the ice cream over and smoke the other side. If the ice cream starts to melt too much to flip or begins to run across the ice, simply place the pan back in the freezer for a few minutes until the ice cream has solidified again. If you're really brave and have the proper safety equipment, you can use liquid nitrogen to instantly refreeze the ice cream. Continue to smoke the ice cream until it has the desired level of smokey flavor.

How To Smoke Ice Cream With A Countertop Smoker

adding wood chips to the fire
adding wood chips to the fire - Goldyrocks/Getty Images

To get the same results using a countertop or hand-held smoker, the process is essentially the same. You will need to set up either smoker how you typically would, and remember to place the ice cream on a bed or block of ice. For the countertop option, place the ice cream inside and allow it to absorb the smoke — which could take a few minutes longer than the grilling method.

To use a hand-held smoker, simply cover a bowl of ice cream with plastic wrap and insert the hose. Let the smoker run for five minutes or more until it reaches the desired flavor. Remember to refreeze the ice cream as necessary, too.

Something else to keep in mind is the wood chip prep. While it is not necessary to soak the wood chips in water before adding them to the fire, some believe it provides a better flavor. Keep in mind that you can also add flavor by soaking the wood chips in bourbon among other liquids. So, if you prefer to use soaked wood chips, remember to prep them along with the ice pan before you get started with actually smoking the ice cream. And when in doubt, consult our 13 tips for cooking with a smoker.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.