Snack Attack: Frozen Yogurt

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett
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The Snack Attack is back, after a longer-than-intended hiatus (holidays, editing work, way too much volunteer work–but all such fun!). I’ve been testing recipes from various cookbooks I’m reviewing (see them at Dessert First), but that hasn’t all been baking, or all for the kids, and I’ve noticed my supply of snacks, cookies and bread getting seriously depleted.

It came clear to me just how low I’d gotten when I peered into my deep-freezer, reminding me just how much I rely on its shelves every day. When I bake for us, I rarely make one batch of anything. Doubling a recipe (as long as I know I can trust it) makes so much sense, giving me options for school lunchboxes and after-school snacks with friends. Because I poke around in it every day, I know what’s there, so not much food gets lost in the depths.

That’s not so true with the freezer attached to the fridge, where I sometimes forget what’s what. This week, though, it gave me the happy surprise of lemon frozen yogurt from David Lebovitz’s new book. I confess to eating some for lunch, knowing that I really ought to save some for the kids, or make them some of their own. It’s a perfect after-school snack.

Terrific frozen yogurt used to be tricky, with few really good yogurts for the base, requiring all sorts of tricks, such as adding gelatin or egg whites to the mix. Now, just whisk together some good Greek yogurt (I get mine from Trader Joe’s) and a few flavorings, freeze and eat.

I love my Cuisinart ice cream maker, an electric machine with a bowl insert that needs to be frozen before use. I have an extra bowl and keep both in the freezer at all times. If you don’t have that much freezer space, just plan ahead, as the bowl should be frozen for a solid 24 hours before using. If you don’t own a machine, turn these into popsicles instead.

Know that no matter what, if you don’t eat the yogurt right after churning, it will get fairly hard in the freezer. I don’t mind letting mine sit out a bit to soften (with the Greek yogurt, it will return to a nice texture). If you want it still softer, a few tips to try: add just a touch (a tablespoon or two) of alcohol, which keeps mixtures from freezing solid; add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup; add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cream.

How to flavor your yogurt? Start with full-fat Greek yogurt and enough sugar to keep your tongue from curling (remember that anything very cold or frozen will seem less sweet, so you want the unfrozen mixture to taste plenty sweet). I nearly always want some vanilla in mine, although I leave it out for lemon yogurt (for that, Lebovitz uses a pinch of citric acid, which you can buy in bulk at Whole Foods, to give the tang we expect from frozen yogurt–see his recipe here). But vanilla with the zest and juice of an orance, or some thawed orange juice concentrate, takes me right back to the Orange Push-Ups my mother used to buy me when she’d get gas at the tiny corner station on the way home from kindergarten. Other choices? Check your baking drawers: chocolate shavings, a swirl of caramel, some cinnamon-sugar, creamy peanut butter, or pureed blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries or blackberries.

Recipe: Vanilla Frozen Yogurt, with variations

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