Make your own frozen yogurt: 4 easy recipes

Making frozen yogurt is a quicker and more

Making frozen yogurt is a quicker and more casual affair than making ice-cream. Above, mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt. (July 22, 2013) (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Like so many people, I am having a love affair with Greek-style yogurt. So when I recently brought home an inexpensive and excellent new Cuisinart ice-cream machine, the time seemed right to freeze some of my favorite foodstuff. I wasn't necessarily looking to make a diet dessert. (I wound up using full-fat yogurt and half-and-half, after all.) Rather, I wanted to make the fastest, easiest frozen treat possible.

Making ice cream is an exacting business. Following a precise formula, you have to cook a custard base on top of the stove until it is just the right temperature and thickness. Cook it too briefly, and it will never thicken, no matter how cold it gets. Cook it too long, and you wind up with scrambled eggs. Once your custard is cooked, you have to wait several hours while it chills in the refrigerator. Then it is finally ready for the ice-cream machine.

In contrast, frozen yogurt is a quicker and more casual affair. Looking at a bunch of recipes online, I was encouraged to see that many cooks had success simply by mixing yogurt and sugar and placing the mixture in an ice-cream machine. I tried this several times, improvising as I went along by using a different sweetener, adding a little half-and-half, stirring in some nuts or chocolate.

After a delightful weekend of experimentation, here are my results:

Go greek for richness

Plain, Greek-style yogurt produced creamier frozen yogurt than the looser and more watery American style. You can use low-fat yogurt, but full-fat yogurt will give you the creamiest frozen yogurt of all. I don't recommend nonfat yogurt. Frozen, it is icy rather than creamy.

Frozen yogurt is for yogurt lovers

Understand that your frozen yogurt will be as tart as the yogurt it is made from. Personally, I love this. But if you prefer a more mellow flavor, replace up to 1 cup of the yogurt with half-and-half.

Listen to your sweet tooth

The sweetness of your yogurt mixture will become more muted as it chills. So, add a little more sweetener than you think you like before freezing.

Raid the liquor cabinet

A couple of tablespoons of alcohol prevents ice crystals from forming in the frozen yogurt, keeping it smooth.

Enjoy immediately

Although it will keep for several days in the freezer, frozen yogurt is best eaten just after it is churned, when it is extremely smooth and creamy. If the yogurt is too soft just out of the machine for your taste, transfer it to an airtight container and freeze it for an hour or two, until it is firm.


CHOCOLATE FROZEN YOGURT

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups full-fat Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together cocoa powder and sugar. Slowly whisk in half-and-half until smooth. Whisk in yogurt, Kahlúa and vanilla. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.


HONEY-VANILLA FROZEN YOGURT

This simple mixture makes a great base for fresh berries, sweetened with a little honey, naturally.

3 cups full-fat Greek-style yogurt

3/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons vodka

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together yogurt, honey, vodka and vanilla. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.


MAPLE-BOURBON FROZEN YOGURT

3 cups full-fat Greek-style yogurt

1 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon maple extract

3/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts

Whisk together yogurt, maple syrup, bourbon and maple extract. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir in walnuts by hand. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.


MINT-CHOCOLATE CHUNK FROZEN YOGURT

With mint and chocolate, I prefer a less assertive yogurt flavor, so I use half-and-half here along with the yogurt.

2 cups full-fat Greek-style yogurt

1 cup half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons crème de menthe

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

4 ounces milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Whisk together yogurt, half-and-half, sugar, crème de menthe and peppermint extract. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Stir in chocolate by hand. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Follow us on Twitter

advertisement | advertise on newsday