Creating Delicious

Creating Coffee, Cookies ‘n Cream Combo

New ice cream flavors at the Dairy Bar arrive as often as a mild, sunny, bug-free day on a South Dakota lake—about once a year and you can’t count on that.2017_Folsland-STATEMag_043

But last summer was a bonus year at SDSU’s ice cream shop. It marked the arrival of Coffee, Cookies ’n Cream. Of course, Cookies ’n Cream, an SDSU invention, has been one of the Dairy Bar’s top sellers since it was introduced in 1979. Coffee and Chocolate Mint also are among the 60 flavors the campus dairy plant produces.

Jill Folsland, a food science major from Baltic, came to State in fall 2014 with the aspiration of creating her own ice cream flavor and shared the hope with her adviser.

She started working at the dairy plant on the first day of her freshman year, and in spring of her sophomore year (2016) started doing research on what flavors did well at the Dairy Bar. “I put it together that SDSU students love Coffee and love Cookies ’n Cream ice cream. But I had to pitch the idea to John (Haberkorn), and he had to approve it,” Folsland said.

2017_Folsland-STATEMag_046Haberkorn is the dairy plant manager, one of only two full-time employees. The others are 43 students gaining practical experience.

He gave the thumbs-up, so Folsland produced a small batch of soft serve Coffee, Cookies ‘n Cream for one of her classes, and they gave it a thumbs-up. The next stop was Main Street in the University Student Union, where 120 people took a free sample and were asked to rate it on the basis of taste, texture and overall flavor, Folsland said.

More thumbs-up were found there. “People were asking me when it was coming out,” said Folsland, who received an independent study credit for the project.

There was some tweaking before the next batch was produced. “I intensified the flavor, adding more coffee flavor and put in the coffee flavoring earlier in the process so it was more evenly mixed,” she said. The flavoring is a concentrated liquid extract that the dairy plant had already been using, so that was a cost bonus in the production.

2017_Folsland-STATEMag_055The updated version was tested on dairy plant staff and faculty. More “thumbs-up” followed.

During the summer, two 3-gallon containers were produced and both sold out in two days, Folsland said. Although the project was completed at the end of July, Coffee, Cookies ‘n Cream didn’t make it into the production cycle until October because of back orders for other flavors that were needed at football games and other events.

The first full run through the plant, which is about a three-day process, resulted in the filling of 20 3-gallon containers, Folsland said.

Should Coffee, Cookies ‘n Cream really take off, it won’t sweeten Folsland’s bank account. The flavor is property of the university, “but the project can be added to my resume. I was really proud of myself for the project. It was about a year in the making. I’m really grateful to get that experience. I really love playing with flavors,” Folsland said.

She also produced a couple cheeses that sold well last summer—dill pickle cheddar and lemon pepper. “I want to work in food research development as a career.”

Dave Graves


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