Friday, March 5, 2010


The first appliance that I bought when I got my own kitchen 4 years ago was an ice cream maker.  I already and a microwave and toaster; an ice cream maker was the next logical purchase.  Every time that I waltzed down the Costco appliances aisle, it was screaming my name.

While purchasing an ice cream maker might seem like an excessive, unnecessary purchase, I think it is not.  Chocolate peanut butter ice cream cakes?  Chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, homemade?  People love this stuff.  If you make ice cream at home, you will make friends.

The hardest part about making ice cream is remembering to put the maker in the freezer at least a day ahead of time.  Good ice cream is made of so few ingredients that the assembly is simple.  So, you make the ice cream (or frozen yogurt in this case), you freeze it for a few more hours for it to harden up, and you take a spoon directly to the container and BAM!  As you ravenously destroy your homemade delicacy you get a chilling headache running from your eyes to the back of your head.  BRAINFREEZE!

What causes brain freeze or ice cream headache anyway?  Current neurologic models suggest that vascular constriction and referred pain are to blame [1].  A life-saving randomized trial performed at Dalewood Middle School showed that ice cream headaches were more prevalent in the group that ate the ice cream in less than 5 seconds versus the group that savored every last spoonful [2]. 

A survey of over 8000 Taiwanese adolescents showed the prevalence of ice cream headache is about 40% [3].  Boys were more likely to have brain freeze than girls, and older children were more likely to have brain freeze than younger ones.  Those that had chronic migraines were much more likely to have ice cream headache.  The association between ice cream headache and migraine has been shown in the past, however is still disputed considering one study showed that people with brain freeze were less likely to have migraines [4,5]. 

The best brain freeze is self induced.  Therefore, I recommend making this creamy chocolate malt frozen yogurt.  It is very tangy from the yogurt, not like the chemically altered, gooey sugary stuff from the mall, so if you don’t like yogurt, you probably won’t like this either.  The yogurt is strained for about 4 hours beforehand to remove excess water so the result is very creamy with a lot less calories than regular ice cream, although I do add some cream to give a good texture and flavor.

Chocolate Malt Frozen Yogurt
4 cups low fat plain yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup malt powder

Place a couple of layers of cheesecloth over a strainer over a bowl.  Add yogurt and cover.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until the yogurt has lost most of its moisture.  Sift chocolate powder into cream, add sugar and malt powder.  Stir to combine.  Whisk in strained yogurt and add to ice cream maker as directed.  Freeze until hardened. 

1. Kaczorowski, M., &  Kaczorowski, J. (2002). Ice cream evoked headaches (ICE-H) study: randomised trial of accelerated versus cautious ice cream eating regimen. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 325(7378), 1445-6.

2. Hulihan, J. (1997). Ice cream headache. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 314(7091), 1364.

3. Fuh, J., Wang, S., Lu, S.,  & Juang, K. (2003). Ice-cream headache--a large survey of 8359 adolescents. Cephalalgia, 23(10), 977-81.

4. Raskin NH, Kittle SC. Ice cream headache and orthostatic symptoms in patients with migraine. Headache 1976; 16:222–5.

5. Bird N, MacGregor A, Wilkinson MIP. Ice cream headache-site, duration, and relationship to migraine.  Headache 1992; 32:35–8.


  1. I love the idea of using actual yogurt! Everything labeled "Frozen Yogurt" in the store doesn't ever seem to have any actual yogurt in it. Have you experimented with other flavors using this method?

  2. Blake thanks for reading! Everybody should check out Blake's amazing blog at I haven't really made as much frozen yogurt as I have ice cream. Last time I tried, I didn't strain the yogurt and thus it was very icy instead of creamy. I think things I might try include the obvious such as strawberry and mango but I think that maple walnut would also be delicious.

  3. Chocolate Malt Flavor? I love it! Sounds delicious. It runs in my mind that brain freeze has something to do with the vagus nerve..? I'll try to read some about that if I have any time:)