Late spring and early summer are my favorite times of the year. Ok, so is fall, but for slightly different reasons. This is the time for everyone to celebrate the flowers in bloom, the thick green grass beneath your feet, long days, and warm summer nights. You hear the twinkle of the ice cream man’s bell as he turns onto your street and children cheerily chasing after him to buy a cone with sprinkles. Ah summer!
Speaking of the ice cream man, do you know how insanely easy it is to make it at home? A couple of years ago, my sisters were smart and bought me an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It was more of a present for them than I, but still my most favorite one. This simple recipe is good to use as a base for any flavors of ice cream and requires no eggs for those who are looking to cut calories. This is the simplicity of heavy cream and milk. You can tweak the recipe to use half and half or reduced fat milk, but as a warning, the end result will not be as creamy and will be more crystallized. You can also experiment with alternative milks such as soy, almond, or coconut and natural sweeteners like stevia or agave. I plan on doing so and checking back in with my results. But for the folks who like a simple indulgence, here is the recipe.
2 cups heavy cream- divided
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pinch of salt
An ice cream machine (attachment, or a stand alone maker like Cuisinart) with the core frozen as per manufacturer’s directions.
1. In a saucepan, heat 1 cup of heavy cream with the sugar stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Once it is all dissolved, remove from the heat.
2. Add in the remainder of the cream, the milk, vanilla and salt and stir until it is all consistent.
3. Place cover on the mixture and let it cool in the fridge. This should cool for at least one to two hours. The longer it cools, the better it will help with the end consistency.
4. Once the mixture is cooled, give it a quick stir. Set up your ice cream maker and start it. Once you have it churning for a minute, slowly pour in the ice cream mixture and let it go for about 20-40 minutes, depending on the consistency.
5. Once completed, transfer the ice cream into air tight, freezer-proof containers. I like these pint sized cardboard containers from Amazon.
*For flavors, like peppermint, add the flavorings when adding the vanilla. Just be sure to add a little bit at a time and taste test each time to ensure the proper amount of flavor. Peppermint can be very strong and when chilled, it intensifies, so a little bit goes a long way. The same goes for food coloring. To get a nice mint green, I added only 2 drops of green to the mixture. For Strawberry, coffee, and chocolate flavors, I will post separate recipes for those.
*To add chocolate chips, nuts, or any other hard additions, chop them to your desired sizes (nothing too big) and add to the mixture AFTER you have taken it out of the machine. It’s easier to fold them in and the consistency of the ice cream is soft enough to mix in, but not too soft where everything settles to the bottom.
I hope you enjoy this basic vanilla recipe and check back for more ice cream scoops!