About eight years ago, my friend and I were in the car, and she told me how much she loved fig newtons. "Really?!" I can still remember how confused and surprised I was by this. And she was just as confused and surprised by my reaction. So, I explained. The filling is too sticky and grainy and, if you don't eat them when they're super fresh, the cookie part gets kind of gross, too. I ruined fig newtons for her, and she hasn't been able to look at one the same way since. So, I apologize in advance if this blog post has the fig newton effect on you. I pray that it doesn't.
The obvious one is ice crystals. If it's not smooth and tastes icy, we have a problem. Moving on.
Thickness. I've made some batches that have come out more pudding-like (I'd say custardy, but I don't use eggs). It's still delicious, in that Fudgesicle kind of way, but it definitely belongs on a popsicle stick and not in a bowl.
People talk about mouth-feel, but I want to focus on tongue-feel. This sounds dirty, but every ice cream feels different between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Some stick to your taste buds and leave a thin film behind; others are super smooth (I like this kind) and melt perfectly. Which brings us to the next two...
...residue, which can be that feeling on your tongue that I just mentioned, but it can also be the buildup on the spoon. Too much left behind on either will make you want to stop eating far earlier than you should.
...meltability, which I didn't think was a real word, but turns out it is. I've noticed that some ice creams melt super quickly, and others (I've noticed this most in custards) don't melt at all. Some melt into a thin liquid that leaves you wondering if that was ice cream you put in your mouth. It was only when I tasted this kind of ice cream and thought "huh, weird" that I started paying attention to this feature.
Are you laughing at me yet? Go ahead. But now you'll notice these things, too, and you'll never be able to eat mediocre ice cream again. You're welcome.