Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flash frozen Ice Cream

I'm sure most of you have heard of Dippin' Dots ice cream beads. You see them at most amusement and theme parks, and they are also sold at McDonald's restaurants in the western U.S. I love these little jewels of cold, ice creamy goodness! They are a little costly, but in terms of flavor and fun, are worth the splurge once in awhile.

Dippin' Dots are made by flash freezing a stream of liquid ice cream mix at very low temperatures using liquid nitrogen. This process creates hard little beads of ice cream that contain very little air or ice crystals. They are stored at around 40 degrees below zero (a temperature colder than most home freezers) and served at 20 degrees below zero. They come in many flavors such as: Neapolitan, mint chocolate, banana split, bubblegum, coffee, and sherbet flavors, to name a few.

Dippin' Dots ice cream was created by Curt Jones, a former vocational education teacher turned research microbiologist from Grand Chain, Illinois. In the mid 1980's, Jones worked for Alltech Biotechnology Center, in Lexington, Kentucky, developing a process for making cattle feed by freezing it in pellet-sized chunks at 350 degrees below zero, which better preserved the nutritional content. In 1987, while making homemade ice cream with a friend, Jones conceived of the idea of using the same flash freezing technique to make a frozen ice cream treat, and the rest is history!

Here is a video from Food Network TV which demonstrates how the Dippin' Dots company makes this yummy treat.

And here is a video demonstrating how you could make the flash frozen treat at home. Beware, I'm sure liquid nitrogen contains an element of danger.

Sources: Funding Universe  Wikipedia  30 Second MBA
Image: Orange County City Search

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