Science Sunday: Epic Fail Ice Cream


So, we checked Howtoons out from the library about a month ago and ever since I’ve been wanting to make one of the experiments in there…….  Well, I finally got it all together, everyone was healthy and we had the time.  And that’s where it went downhill.  Oh, and my excuse of how it’s related to what we’re studying?  Wisconsin has lots of cows that produce a lot of milk, and milk is used to make ice cream.  Nice reasoning huh?
001 002
I made these slightly bigger so you can see what the book looks like, and see the recipe I used.
Bag 1: 1 C heavy cream, 1/2 C whole milk, 1/3 C sugar, 3/4 t vanilla
And those sneaky leprechauns came and turned the milk green.  Pesky guys.
Bag 2: 2.5 pounds of ice, 1.5 pounds of salt
As you can see I sealed the top of the bag with tape to make sure it didn’t burst open in the mixing.

The kids quite happily helped pour the salt into the bag, and touched it and declared it was too cold.

Next, I put the first bag inside of the ice bag, which at that time was a 2 gallon bag.  So, when that got a hole within thirty seconds I decided it was because the bag was too big and more prone to tearing, so I switched to a gallon size bag, that was pretty much too small.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Really, I don’t.


Now, you’re supposed to toss it back and forth for 20 minutes.  As you can see it’s too heavy for the kids to do this.  Also, it’s cold.  They each patiently threw it once, and then said, “here Mommy.”  After everyone had their token toss I got the bag back and started shaking it when I noticed this:

Do you see that forming on the bottom of the bag?  That’s a green drop of liquid.  That means not only did my ice bag burst, but my ice cream bag did as well.  At this point, the kids had lost interest, and it just wasn’t going to work.  So we went inside and ate Blue Bell ice cream.  And everyone was happy.  Actually I think I might sneak over and nab a few more cherries.

Oh, and I posted about this epic fail on facebook, and had a friend kindly give me another recipe that she says has worked for her several times.  When I try it next, I’m going to use this one:
1 tablespoon artificial
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
6 tablespoons Table Salt
3 cups Ice
1 Sandwich Sized Ziploc
1 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bag
In the sandwich sized ziploc, combine the sugar substitute, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Seal the bag and shake lightly to mix ingredients.
In the gallon sized ziploc bag, add 3 cups of ice (or fill half the bag with ice)and add 6 tablespoons of table salt.
Place the seal sandwich sized bag into the gallon bag and seal the gallon bag. Shake the entire contents for at least 4 minutes (shake longer for harder ice cream).
Once desired hardness has been achieved, remove smaller baggies and rinse thoroughly with cold water (if you miss this step, you may wind up with salty ice cream!)
Recipe makes about a 1/2 cup of ice cream.
And here’s a scientific explanation of what happened from Teachnet (in case you can’t read the explanation in the picture from Howtoons):
What does the salt do? Just like we use salt on icy roads in the winter, salt mixed with ice in this case also causes the ice to melt. When salt comes into contact with ice, the freezing point of the ice is lowered. Water will normally freeze at 32 degrees F. A 10% salt solution freezes at 20 degrees F, and a 20% solution freezes at 2 degrees F. By lowering the temperature at which ice is frozen, we are able to create an environment in which the milk mixture can freeze at a temperature below 32 degrees F into ice cream.

So, anyone else have experiments that go wrong?  Obviously mine did, and I’m sad, but this lets us try again another time.

14 thoughts on “Science Sunday: Epic Fail Ice Cream

  1. We tried this a while ago with your original recipe (and chocolate chips), but we made a much smaller amount. The kids I was working with all gave up after one shake too, so I got to freeze my hands and shake for 20 minutes.But it did work, and it tasted pretty good. Not as good as Blue Bell, of course!

  2. The new things that we try here go wrong more often than they turn out right, so don't feel bad! 😉 That sure looks fun, though! We might have to try that when the weather warms up! 🙂

  3. You'll have to peek back on my blog, I have a few posts about ice cream making, that worked – but it's definitely an outdoor kind of activity.

    And don't worry, so far this morning, the experiment we started yesterday, seems to be a dismal failure, too 🙂

  4. Ours sort of did too but it was still fun! Isn't that what 'experimenting' is all about? 😉

    We'll try the ice-cream in a bag next time but if it doesn't work out, we'll have our ice-cream machine ready to go!

  5. We did make ice cream in ziploc bags and it worked quite well, However very small amounts of milk/cream were used. As for the small ziploc bag inside a large one goes…..make sure all bags are *freezer* bags and *double bag* everything! I took one look at the directions in my book and suddenly had a vision of ice, salt, cream and whatever else all over my kitchen floor, counter, cabinets…………if I hadn't doubled bagged in freezer bags, it would have been quite interesting, the way my boys shook & threw & danced around with those bags!!! We turned on some music and they grooved! It was hilarious. I'll have to post that experiment here, the pics were something else!

  6. I did this with some 1st grade students ONCE- and half of them ended up with salty ice cream due to leaks!

    This IS a tricky experiment- but I would blame the Leprechaun for it not working, if I were you…

  7. Yummy! I made this once..I seem to remember double bagging (bags going opposite ways) the liquid part, and there was packing tape involved…cold, but not too many leaks 🙂 But then, Blue Bell is very good too 🙂

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