Maya Warren has a job title that would get most kids’ attention. She’s an ice cream scientist. Translation: Warren is senior director of international research and development/tastemaster at Cold Stone Creamery, and has a doctorate in food science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in frozen desserts. After being introduced to food science through the Food Network show “Unwrapped,” she decided to combine her passions for ice cream and chemistry to create a career that lets her do what she loves every day.
While her favorite ice cream flavor fluctuates between cookies and cream and a double-buttered candied pecan that is her own creation, the L.A.-based flavor maker finds inspiration for new flavors everywhere. “Whether it is at a fine dining restaurant, the candy or yogurt aisle at the grocery store or just following up-and-coming food trends across the globe, creativity is always around us,” Warren says. “It is really fun to push the envelope with ice cream flavors.”
Honey, cornbread and blackberry jam? Thai curry, peanuts and lime? Why not! “The flavors you can make are totally endless!” Warren says. “Now, not everything will taste amazing, but you never know when you might develop an amazing flavor that will leave people wanting more.”
What does she eat when she isn’t eating ice cream? “I love a great plate of veggies,” Warren insists. “I pretty much add spinach and broccoli to anything and everything … except ice cream. I’ve definitely not tried spinach or broccoli ice cream!”
The recipe this ice cream scientist has shared is the no-churn variety, which means you can make it without an ice cream maker. She says both varieties are very tasty, and that the main difference is in the process. No-churn recipes involve whipping the cream separately to create foam and give the mixture lightness, which wouldn’t be efficient for large-scale production. Ice cream that is churned freezes a prepared mixture and uses the machine to incorporate air during the freezing process.
Using this no-churn recipe, you create the base, then let your creativity loose to create your own flavor combinations. “Layer in whatever your creative mind and taste buds desire!” says Warren. Want more inspiration? Follow the ice cream scientist on Instagram, where she hosts live “Ice Cream Sundays with Dr. Maya,” demonstrating her recipes so that families can follow along.
No-Churn Ice Cream from Ice Cream Scientist Maya M. Warren, Ph.D.
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, chilled
1¼ cups of sweetened condensed milk (approximately one 14-ounce can)
¼ cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Inclusions of your choice – broken/chopped cookies, sprinkles, caramel and/or fudge sauce, etc.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla extract.Gently mix with a spatula until homogeneous, then set aside.
Pour the heavy whipping cream into a smaller mixing bowl. Starting on the lowest speed to avoid splashing, then gradually increasing to the highest speed, whip with a hand or standing mixer until whipped cream forms stiff peaks, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to over-whip the cream or it will turn into butter.
Using a spatula, scoop and gently fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture until all of the cream is folded in. This now becomes your ice cream base – set aside.
Grab your storage container and a ladle. Using the ladle, scoop a layer of ice cream base into the container. Spread a layer of inclusions on top. Add another layer of ice cream base, followed by another layer of inclusions, and alternate until all of your ice cream base and inclusions are in your container.
Place a lid, plastic wrap or parchment paper over your ice cream. If using parchment paper or plastic wrap, gently press down until it lightly touches the ice cream. Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight. Remove the container from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5-7 minutes if the ice cream is too hard to scoop. Enjoy!