Homemade Frozen Yogurt flavored with honey and vanilla bean is a sweet, tangy and creamy treat that is absolutely simple to make. Does it matter which type of yogurt you use? Yep!
July is National Ice Cream Month, but I see no reason why we can’t celebrate with all sorts of frozen treats.
Today we’re going to talk about frozen yogurt. If you’re a fan of the tangy, creamy flavor of a good yogurt, this treat will be right up your alley.
I enjoy a bowl of yogurt for breakfast every morning. I love thick and creamy Greek yogurt with a little fresh fruit and a crumble of low-fat granola. Since we always have plenty of Greek yogurt on hand, I was ready to go right ahead using my favorite yogurt to create a yummy frozen treat.
I did a little research as I was preparing the recipe and came across an article in Cooks Illustrated which explained why they don’t like to use Greek yogurt when making frozen yogurt.
Much as I love and trust Cooks Illustrated, I wanted to see for myself if it really made a difference which type of yogurt I used as the base for my recipe. I figured if there was just a slight texture difference between the two, I could recommend using either type of yogurt.
I mixed two batches of yogurt, one using a quart 5% fat Greek yogurt and the other with a quart of whole-milk American style yogurt.
Once again, Cooks Illustrated was right. I was disappointed to find that the frozen Greek Yogurt was crumbly and dry. All the best qualities of a good Greek yogurt, it’s thick and creamy texture and protein-packed goodness, were not only masked, but actually worked against it when frozen.
There wasn’t just a slight difference between the two batches, it was like night and day. I can say with full confidence that you shouldn’t use Greek yogurt for this recipe.
So I use a basic, nationally available yogurt for this recipe. One problem with regular (at least regular here in the US) yogurt is that it is much more watery than Greek yogurt. You need a balance of fat and water to make a good frozen ice cream or yogurt. You need enough fat for a creamy texture (that’s why I use whole-milk yogurt) and some water to freeze into ice crystals. But too much water means too much ice and a gritty texture.
An easy solution is to remove some of the water from the yogurt. A couple of hours draining in the refrigerator removed a cup of water from a quart of yogurt.
Now on to the flavor. I know that “frozen yogurt” might conjure up images of a healthy and diet-friendly treat. Yogurt has loads of health benefits and it’s why I enjoy it plain, with no sugar or honey, every morning for breakfast. A little bit of chopped fresh fruit is all I need to lightly sweeten my breakfast.
It would be nice if we could make an edible frozen yogurt with no added sugar. But unless you want to gnaw on a solid ice block, some sugar is needed to soften the texture. If you need or want to avoid all added sugars, then I would recommend that you enjoy your yogurt chilled, but not frozen.
In my Brown Sugar Ice Cream post I explain how sugar lowers the freezing point of water to keep ice cream from freezing into a solid block. I also explain how honey (and other “invert” sugars) have specific qualities that soften a frozen treat even more than regular sugar does.
So I settled on using half honey and half sugar. I love honey, but it has a strong flavor. Using half honey and half sugar takes advantage of the qualities of both sweeteners.
I used vanilla bean as the final flavoring because it has a more complex and full flavor than vanilla extract. Also, the little black flecks look lovely in the white frozen yogurt.
I love this Frozen Yogurt with Honey and Vanilla Bean. Admittedly, it’s not quite as creamy and luscious as a frozen custard. But the special yogurty-tangy taste is a real treat. It’s especially good with a tumble of fresh berries.
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