Summer has officially begun and I’ve been wanting to prepare a fun dessert to make a normal family weeknight feel a bit special. I decided there’s nothing better than homemade ice cream. On Mother’s Day (two years ago) I got an ice cream maker as a gift and it had never been used…no time like the present, right?
My husband Brad loves mint chocolate chip, so I went searching and found a recipe on Allrecipes.com that turned out really delicious, and was surprising simple. There weren’t too many steps or ingredients, so it was perfect for a first timer. Of course I used my favorite Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract – the flavor can’t be beat. From there, I just followed the instructions on my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker - churned it for about 30 minutes and then froze it for a few hours (in these plastic containers) to get firmer, scoopable ice cream.
It was so good that the next day my girls asked for chocolate. After some research I found that chocolate requires a few more steps. It wasn’t as easy as the mint chip – and needs to be done one day ahead - but it did turn out pretty amazing. I used Alton Brown’s recipe and process (listed below), but I lightened it a little bit by using two cups of heavy cream and two cups of 2% milk instead of one cup cream and three cups half-and-half. And our plastic containers were once again my go to for storing the ice cream in the freezer – worked like a charm.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, there are still some really great homemade ice cream recipes you can try. The Food Network has a great online article with recipes for ‘No Churn Ice Cream’ – see the article here. I've also included the recipe and instructions below. This article shows how to take your chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream to the next level with different ingredients and flavors!
photo courtesy of The Food Network
All of these recipes are mouth-watering and sure to hit the spot! Let us know what variations you try and please share your tips and experiences!
Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until the sugar has dissolved. Color to your liking with the green food coloring.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After about 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. After the ice cream has thickened, about 30 minutes later, spoon into a container, and freeze for 2 hours.
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Chocolate Ice Cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups 2% Milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.
Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.
Adapted from Alton Brown Recipe, 2005
No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine salt
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Cookies and Cream: 12 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
Crunchy Cereal: 1 1/2 cups cinnamon crunch cereal, crushed
Cookies and Lemon: 1/2 cup jarred lemon curd and 1 cup shortbread cookies, crushed
Special equipment: a 9-by-5-by-3-inch metal loaf pan, chilled
Whisk together the condensed milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
Whip the cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until well blended. Pour into a chilled 9-by-5-by-3-inch metal loaf pan, and freeze, covered, until thick and creamy, like soft-serve, about 2 hours. Swirl in any desired mix-ins with a spoon. Continue to freeze, covered, until solid and scoopable, about 3 hours more.
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