Paradise frost: Cornell creates ice cream, 'Bailey's Creme with Henry's Crunch,' for agriculture college's centennial celebration

ITHACA, N.Y. -- It took 100 years to develop, but this multi-flavored melange was worth the wait. To celebrate the centennial of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the university's dairy has created an ice cream it calls Bailey's Creme with Henry's Crunch. Its flavor is Irish cream and it is combined with dark chocolate flakes, caramel and peanuts.

The ice cream will be unveiled -- with free samples -- on May 12 following an afternoon parade across the campus to celebrate the college's centennial.

The Bailey in the name is for the college's first dean, Liberty Hyde Bailey. Henry is for Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Bailey, an influential American agriculturist at the turn of the last century, is credited with tying several disciplines into horticulture. He published 700 scientific papers and more than five dozen books, including the seminal Cyclopedia of American Horticulture. He is often called the father of modern American agriculture.

Henry, the college's twelfth dean, is a molecular geneticist, microbiologist and biochemist who has been a research scientist, teacher and an administrator at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, and at Carnegie Mellon University.

More than 3,000 cups, 75 gallons and untold pints of the new ice cream will be served at the centennial celebration. To make the initial run, the dairy used 110 gallons of ice cream base mix, 60 pounds of peanuts, 11 gallons of caramel sauce and 11 gallons of chocolate chip base. They added 400 pounds of cream, 200 pounds of sugar, 50 pounds of skim milk powder, 50 pounds of corn syrup solid and 44 ounces of Irish cream (non alcoholic) flavoring. The premium ice cream contains 70 percent overrun, or air, to keep the cream from turning into a very sweet butter.

David Bandler, Cornell professor emeritus of food science, and David P. Brown, senior extension associate, originated the idea. They created three test batches, the first featuring a heavy dose of the Irish cream, the second containing a lighter taste of Irish cream flavoring, and the third, which won wide approval, containing a stronger Irish cream flavor. Cornell has a long history of developing unusual ice cream flavors: Eric Hallstead, former Cornell pilot plant manager, tried making a gin-and-tonic ice cream, which "was horrible, brutal," he says. He also tried a whiskey-sour-flavored ice cream, "which wasn't bad, but as an ice cream, it didn't live up to its name," he says.

Whether Irish cream or whiskey sour works in ice cream depends on how different people respond to specific flavors. "Food flavors have tremendous psychological parameters," says Joseph Hotchkiss, Cornell professor of food science. "When someone eats ice cream, the spoonful is warmed in your mouth and the volatile flavors are sent as signals behind your nose, behind your eyes and to your brain. That's when your brain processes these flavors and tells you whether this is a flavor you like or not."

For several years students in Food Science 101, taught by Hotchkiss, have divided into teams in a competition to create award-winning flavors.

In 1998 the students' work surpassed Hotchkiss's expectations in creating an instant Cornell campus classic, Sticky Bunz ice cream. The taste of Sticky Bunz brought fond memories of warm, gooey sticky buns fresh from the oven. It is a vanilla-based, cinnamon-flavored ice cream that features butter crunch, pecans and a caramel swirl. Six years later, Sticky Bunz is among the best sellers at the Cornell Dairy Bar.

In 2002 food science students developed Lynah Ice Creamy Swirl, named for Cornell's hockey rink. Lynah Swirl is a rich, smooth chocolate ice cream with a banana pudding swirl, punctuated with brownie chunks. It is a premium ice cream with 17 percent fat content and 66 percent overrun. A semester later, the Big Red men's hockey team made Lynah Swirl the ice cream of champions by earning a spot among the NCAA's Frozen Four.

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