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I just made vanilla ice cream with my ice cream machine. The taste was amazing, however, the texture was sandy and gritty. I made a awful lot, and I do not want to dump the ice cream. How am I going to make it creamy, or use the ice cream for something else?

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  • what recipe did you use?
    – Luciano
    Nov 9 '20 at 10:14
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    I'd like to remind people that this question isn't about how to make ice cream having less crystals from scratch - this would have been closed as a duplicate. It is about what to do about the existing batch of already-crystalized ice cream.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 9 '20 at 10:48
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    @Luciano, I used this recipe. barefeetinthekitchen.com/homemade-ice-cream-recipe However, I made my own heavy whipping cream with butter and milk. Nov 9 '20 at 13:54
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    If you can't recover the ice cream using the process that bob1 recommended, you might be able to confuse people by adding something crunchy into the ice cream. One of my mom's friends would make a sort of pie-like dish that was sweetened wheat chex, a layer of softened ice cream, and then more chex on top, and then re-freeze it.
    – Joe
    Nov 9 '20 at 14:32
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    @Alexandrang "made my own heavy whipping cream with butter and milk" - you didn't make whipping cream, you made a mixture of butter and milk. It doesn't behave like whipping cream, and it is likely one of the main causes of your grittiness.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 9 '20 at 14:53
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Given all of the advice so far, and as you said that you started with a rather large batch, I might try a few things. I would recommend trying a small-ish portion at a time, so you don't ruin the whole batch:

  1. Soften the ice cream slightly, then put it through a food processor to see if you can make it less gritty, then re-freeze. (or possibly don't re-freeze, if it has a soft-serve like consistency)

  2. Soften the ice cream slightly, then mix in other ingredients to add texture to the ice cream to try to hide the grittiness. Nuts, cookie or pretzel bits, or anything else that's crunchy. You could also make an 'ice cream pie', but you'd want a rather thin layer of ice cream so it's not so obvious that it's not cream. (maybe something like this

  3. Scrape it with a fork, and tell people it's a granita. (or, actually make a fruit granita, and then serve it layered with granita / scraped ice cream / etc.)

  4. Melt it down, add starch and cook into a pudding, then re-freeze. (frozen pudding also has a strange texture that isn't quite ice-cream like).

  5. Melt it, add some more eggs, then use it as the custard for french toast or bread pudding.

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The texture will be as a result of ice-crystal formation.

During ice cream manufacture you are basically cooling a mix of cream and sugar and aiming to make an emulsion that reduces the ice-crystals into small enough bits that they feel smooth. Churning and cooling are the two things that allow this to happen. Churning mixes air and water into the cream (fat) creating tiny bubbles known as lipospheres that freeze solid without creating much in the way of ice.

Your grittiness is likely to be a direct consequence of making a large batch and the machine not being able to churn it properly for long enough or churning it incompletely, or perhaps as a result of it being difficult to chill to the right temperature quickly enough. Ice crystals will grow under any of these conditions.

You may be able to re-process it, basically soften (maybe melt) and split into smaller batches, then re-churn. as @Rumtscho has pointed out in his answer and comment you can't actually do this.

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  • I suspect that you'd want to melt it completely to ensure there are no seed crystals left in it. And to make sure that there's good distribution of the fat as there;s new information that this was made with "homemade cream" in there. (I'd melt it and run it through a blender, then follow standard procedures for freezing ice cream). If you had a food processor, you might be able to get away with running softened ice cream through it, but that too might come out gritty.
    – Joe
    Nov 9 '20 at 14:28
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    Sadly, this doesn't work. When you churn for the first time, the churning process not only creates an ice cream texture, it actually already starts a buttering process (the fat globules start coalescing a bit), but it stops before you get actual butter. If you try churning a second time, it gets too much agitation and your base will butter out. This is not just theory, I have tried it myself several times and it never worked. (This is of course moot for the OP's batch because they started out with butter anyway, but our answers should apply to the general case).
    – rumtscho
    Nov 9 '20 at 15:03
  • @rumtscho - good to know. I have never made ice cream myself, just know the theory. I'll edit to correct.
    – bob1
    Nov 9 '20 at 20:05
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You are not going to make it creamy. Re-freezing will give you up worse crystals, even if you try to change something about your process.

If you don't want to eat it frozen, you have to thaw it and drink it as a milkshake, or use it as a sweet custard sauce.

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