"Stabilizers function to influence and control the texture of ice cream novelties," says Barbara Ulen, applications manager, frozen desserts, SKW Texturant Systems, Atlanta. "They are capable of binding quantities of water considerably larger than their weight and can thus be used in small percentages in mix formulations."

In the ice cream freezer barrel, the rate at which the mix freezes determines the initial size and number of ice crystals. As water in the ice cream freezes, the stabilizer in the unfrozen matrix becomes more concentrated. The viscosity increases, and a gel structure forms. This increased viscosity and the gel structure immobilize water during freeze-thaw cycling, explains Ulen. Water is obstructed from migrating to and reforming around existing ice crystals, thus preventing the growth of large crystals that contribute to an icy or grainy texture.

Locust bean gum, guar gum, cellulose gum and carrageenan are common stabilizers. Some are effective in increasing viscosity, while others produce a heavier body or provide better heat shock resistance. SKW Texturant Systems offers stabilizer systems to enhance ice cream novelties.

  • Extra Dry II is a blend of gums. Applications include novelty ice cream products such as cones, sandwiches and molded stick novelties.
    "This stabilizer produces a mix that extrudes dry but is not overly stiff, so it works well for filling molds to make stick novelties and cones," says Ulen. "Cellulose gum gels with the carrageenan and guar to provide heat shock stability. The addition of carrageenan prevents mix separation."
  • Novelty 1003 functions in extruded ice cream novelties such as bars, logs, ice cream sandwiches and stick novelties. The hydrocolloid blend provides excellent heat shock stability and produces a very creamy and warm-eating finished ice cream, explains Ulen. A 10% ice cream novelty made with Novelty 1003 has the mouthfeel of a premium product without the extra butterfat.
  • CHOCOTOPe 320 Coating Stabilizer. Optimizing coating quality is important in ice cream novelty appearance. For chocolate-coated frozen novelties, CHOCOTOP takes on the function of absorbing water.

During the coating process, moisture migrates into the coating bath. Ice crystals form and lead to cracking and pinholes. CHOCOTOP allows the compound coating to tolerate moisture up to a certain amount without affecting viscosity and yield value, says Susan Gurkin, applications manager, lipophilic systems. Whenever there is an undesired absorption of moisture into a chocolate or coating mass, this phosphatidylcholine-enriched lecithin minimizes the negative influence on the flowing properties and appearance.

"This increased moisture control reduces pinholes and ice-crystal bleeding. Thus, product appearance is improved. In addition, there are production cost savings gained by minimizing rework," says Gurkin.