Frozen Yogurt – Machine and No Machine Versions

Frozen yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream.  However, if you read the labels on the frozen yogurt available in the grocery store you will quickly find out store bought frozen yogurt can be full of unwanted, unhealthy items.  Some of the ingredient offenders are obvious like artificial flavors, artificial colors, added oils and artificial sugars.  However, sometimes the offending ingredients can hoover under the radar, even with some of the all natural or organic frozen yogurt products.  These two ingredients are large amounts of added sugar and stabilizers.

Almost of all of the frozen yogurt brands I have found in the grocery store contain a hefty amount of added sugar.  The added sugar is understandable since yogurt typically has a sour taste so the sugar is needed to counterbalance that sourness.  Plus most people purchasing frozen yogurt zero in on the grams of fat in the yogurt instead of looking at the grams of sugar.  Majority of the frozen yogurts available have had their fat decreased or removed completely.  Fat equals flavor, so in order to add back flavor without increasing fat, manufacturers add more sugar to the frozen yogurt.

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In addition to the added sugar, most, if not all, contain an assortment of gum and hydrocolloids products to help stabilize the yogurt.  The stabilizers help keep the frozen yogurt creamy and increases the shelf life.  The list of these additives include locust bean gum, carob gum, guar gum, gum arabic, tara gum, gellan gum, polysorbate 80, carboxy, ethyl cellulose, carrageenan, xanthan, sodium and propyleneglycol alginates.  While these additives are usually derived from plants and are considered safe to ingest, they can wreak havoc on your GI system.  Majority of us do not have gut systems to process these ingredients, so they can cause a lot of GI distress.

Making frozen yogurt is super easy at home and the best part about it, is that you can control so many aspects of the final product . You can control the flavor, the ingredients and the sweetness level.  If you prefer a tart, traditional frozen yogurt, then add less sugar.  If you prefer chocolate frozen yogurt, then cocoa powder can be added.  The flavor and ingredient possibilities are limitless!

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While having an ice cream maker is recommended for making frozen yogurt, it is not necessary.  If you have a food processor or blender you can achieve the same frozen yogurt results.  I have included both ways to make the frozen yogurt in this recipe blog piece.  Both recipes are for vanilla frozen yogurt but any flavor adjustments can be made.

For the ice cream maker recipe, I have included two versions, a full fat and a lower fat option.  If fat is not an issue, then I would opt for that version as it provides the creamiest, most yummy frozen yogurt.  However, if you are watching your fat intake, then the lower fat option is a perfect alternative.

Frozen Yogurt – Full fat option

3.75 cups full fat plain yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield Whole Milk Yogurt)

1 cup sugar (use less for a more tart frozen yogurt)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, sugar, vanilla and salt together in a mixing bowl until sugar has completely dissolved.  Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about an hour. Remove the chilled yogurt from the refrigerator and churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer frozen yogurt to airtight, freezable container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.  Frozen yogurt can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Frozen Yogurt – Lower fat option

3.75 cups plain low fat yogurt (I prefer Stonyfield Low Fat Milk Yogurt)

1/2 cup sugar (use less for a more tart frozen yogurt)

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt together in a mixing bowl until sugar has completely dissolved.  Cover the mixture and refrigerate for about an hour. Remove the chilled yogurt from the refrigerator and churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer frozen yogurt to airtight, freezable container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving. Frozen yogurt can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Frozen Yogurt – No Ice Cream Maker

1 cup plain yogurt (greek, no fat or full fat)

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

3 tablespoons honey

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Add yogurt, cream cheese, honey and vanilla into a food processor or blender.   Process or blend the ingredients until creamy (approx. 3 minutes).   Transfer the yogurt mixture into an airtight freezable container.  Freeze for a minimum 7 hours or until desired consistency. Frozen yogurt can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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