The bomb scare over the LN2 tanks was all over by the time we got to the con. This year at Penguicon, we ran 5 two-hour LN2 ice cream sessions (four scheduled, one bonus). This worked much better than the shorter sessions we’d run in previous years, because it meant we had time to make a number of small batches in between the setup and cleanup (lots of mixing buckets to wash, for instance). We didn’t get as many raves as last year, but no one complained about our sessions during this year’s feedback session, and we did get some positive comments:
- “LN2 ice cream is ending soon! Lots of it left so come NOM it! Cola Creme, Ginger Ale Sorbet, and Cayenne Chocolate! #pcon” — @ghostangel (movie theater flavors) (well, we kind of threw in the cayenne chocolate for fun, not so much of a Saturday matinee flavor, really)
- “Got to try ‘bagel and cream cheese‘ liquid nitrogen ice cream this morning. It tasted like the real thing. #pcon #fb” — Daniel J. Hogan; and then when I explained, “it was MADE from the real thing! :-)” he replied “Mystery solved! Tasted great, thank you :-)” How we made it: tear up and soak toasted bagels in milk for 15 minutes, strain out the bagels (the flavor stays behind), mix in little pats of cream cheese, pour in cream, freeze and stir and freeze and stir as normal
- “I felt like I was eating a campfire. But props for L2N for being creative.” — Dan Johns (re bacon ice cream) How we made it: soak bacon bits in milk for 15 minutes, strain (the flavor stays behind), mix in liquid smoke, pour in cream, freeze and stir and freeze and stir as normal
- “Hey, thanks so much for an epic, epic job this year. :D” — Scott Kennedy
Next year we want to be a little more organized about training others (we always give commentary explaining what we’re doing, but don’t always pull people in to help with stirring, pouring LN2, etc.). We want to make it more apparent that we welcome people coming up with ingredients for us to create new flavors. We want to have signs up that we’ll make non-dairy (we have soy and coconut milk) or sugar-free (honey, Stevia, or nothing added) at any time (it was in the schedule booklet, but not everyone reads that). We’ll also want to come up with some new themes. We’d welcome any suggestions!
Here are this year’s Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream themes and flavors:
- LN2 Biggest Hits: Vanilla, Chocolate Marshmallow, Thai Iced Tea (see picture), Honey Heath Crunch, Soy Cinnamon Ginger, more Vanilla
- LN2 After Hours (ID Required), with meads from B. Nektar: Woodchuck Cider Apple Pie (cider, cream, cinnamon; add LN2; graham cracker crumbs mixed in at the last minute), B Nektar Vanilla Cinnamon Mead, B Nektar Wildflower Pyment, Coconut Bourbon Rum, Brown Ale sorbet, Vieux Carre Absinthe.
- LN2 Saturday Matinee: Chocolate w’ candy/cookie crumble toppings, Popcorn (we made a little mistake and over-salted that one, but it still worked in small doses), Dr. Pepper Slushie, Ginger Ale Sorbet, Shasta Cola Creme, Cayenne Chocolate (non-dairy)
- LN2 After Hours, The Sequel (bonus round, borrowing some space from co-scheduled Open Soda panel): Grape, Bubblegum, , B Nektar Cherry Chipotle Mead, Woodchuck Ginger Sorbet (Non-Dairy), Chocolate Stout? (I was asleep for this session)
- LN2 Sunday Brunch: Mimosa (OJ and ginger ale slushie), Toasted Bagel + Cream Cheese, Coffee, Bacon (vegetarian), non-dairy Earl Grey.
My favorites this year? The mead ice creams were wonderful. I also liked Toasted Bagel and Cream Cheese, perhaps because it’s new (Cayenne Chocolate and Absinthe were close behind).