Pun intended: You know how cool it always seems to make homemade ice cream so you can cool down a summer afternoon?
Brag-worthy cool. Well, it’s even cooler to go homemade all the way, as in, without an ice cream maker. It’s surprisingly easy, even entertaining, to mix and match ingredients by hand in a way a machine does not allow.
The recipes and suggestions that follow are kid-friendly, labor non-intensive, and personally pleasing because you can experiment with flavors to everyone’s fun and benefit. This simple basic recipe for homemade ice cream calls for just three ingredients plus any mix-ins you desire and is ready to eat in just a few hours.
Oh, and you can watch ice cream take place before your very eyes, if you check the fridge frequently! And dipping a spoon in for an early taste as you make the dessert is not only OK, it’s practically required.
BASIC NO-CHURN HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM
Perfect for a summer ice cream party where kids and adults make their own flavors
2 C heavy whipping cream
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, using a hand or a stand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form but be careful not to over whip. Cream will be fully done when the peaks stand up if you pull the beaters out.
In another large bowl, whisk the vanilla into the milk. Lastly, gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula, carefully blending the two mixtures together so it stays light and aerated.
If you are making several flavors (see below), scoop the cream mixture into smaller bowls and gently fold in your desired mix-ins. If making just one flavor, combine the ingredients directly into the cream mixture. Transfer the cream and additions to a shallow, freezer-safe glass or metal pan or tub. Or use individual paper containers, like you get for an ice cream sundae, and freeze for 4-6 hours. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Sit the wrap directly onto the ice cream top(s) to keep from forming a skin. Makes up to 8 half-cup servings.
FLAVORING BASIC VANILLA ICE CREAM
This is the fun part if you want to change and expand your vanilla ice cream’s taste. Prior to freezing, add flavors, a teaspoon at a time, to taste. You can do an entire batch or flavor several containers of ice cream with individual flavors. Add chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, any fruit syrup with a strong taste, such as strawberry, blueberry, cherry, or blackberry. Alternately, add a honey you like, or fruit juice concentrate like lemon or lime. Blend in with the spatula, taste, add more flavoring until taste is to your liking. Experiment with combinations, too.
Or, instead, add flavorings and mix into ice cream with two or three stirs for a swirly stripe of flavor effect.
Once flavored, you can mix in further yummy with regular or mini, white or milk, chocolate chips; cherries and berries; your favorite chopped nuts or cut-up (non-citrus) fruit; chopped or crushed candy such as peppermints, peanut butter cups, marshmallows. The possibilities are limited only by supply and common sense.
Tip: Fresh fruits, especially citrus types, can be too watery to freeze properly. Try blending the zest of oranges, lemons or limes into your cream base instead of the flesh of the fruit.
Another fun and tasty way to serve your ice cream is in a sandwich. Place a small scoop of chocolate, chocolate-chip ice cream with mini marshmallows between two graham crackers for an ice-cream s’more, for an extravagant example.
How about a raspberry or cherry-chunk ice cream between two peanut butter cookies, for a PB n J sandwich? Or pair plain vanilla with two chocolate fudge cookies to make your version of ice cream Oreos(c).
BONUS: USE BASIC RECIPE ABOVE FOR ICE CREAM FLOATS AND ICE CREAM SODAS
Don’t get confused by the names “soda” and “float.” They’re often used interchangeably. Traditionally, however, sodas are a five-ingredient concoction. They contain whipped cream, syrup, cream, a soda, and ice cream. Yes. That’s three “creams”.
The easier and simpler to make float has three ingredients, a syrup, a scoop of ice cream, and soda or seltzer water. The ice cream “floats” on top of the soda water.
A FLOAT is 1, 2, 3 easy. Start with a tall glass 3/4 filled with soda or seltzer water. Slowly stir in a teaspoon to a tablespoon or more, to taste, of a flavorful syrup (chocolate, raspberry, maple, butterscotch; it’s your choice) and add a scoop of ice cream. There. You’re done.
For example, the familiar ice cream float is the “black cow,” made from chocolate syrup, root beer and vanilla ice cream. And you can liven any float up for adult parties by including a splash of vodka, bourbon or liqueur. Also, it’s OK, and fun, to mix and match different ice cream flavors, using two or three small scoops per glass.
ICE CREAM SODAS are creamier and richer and require more consideration.
For each soda you’ll need:
A tall glass (16 to 20 oz), a straw, a long spoon, an ice cream scoop,
3 Tbls of a syrup of your choice,
1 to 2 Tbls half-and-half cream
Seltzer water or bottled soda, about 8 oz or more to fill the glass
Whipped cream, either homemade or store bought
Chill the tall glass in the freezer, or let it sit full of ice until it’s cold to the touch. This will help keep your soda ingredients cold. To make the soda, pour the syrup into the bottom of the glass. Add the half-and-half, and stir gently to blend the syrup and cream together well. Add the soda or seltzer water to three-quarters or less of the glass rim. Don’t fill it all the way or it will overflow as it foams.
Add 1 to 3 scoops of ice cream. Stir all lightly. Top your soda with whipped cream, and garnish it with a maraschino cherry, mini marshmallows or sprinkles. Serve with a straw and a long-handled spoon.
Note: Some recipes use a regular commercial soda, such as ginger ale or a cola. If you use an already-flavored soda, adjust your syrup accordingly, or use no syrup, but check the taste of the drink to see if it is acceptable with your ice cream flavor.
By Jean Redstone