“Buy an ice cream machine and get to know it” was always something on my to-do list, at least for the past few years. My sister bought one for her kids last Chanukah and they had good fun making slushies and all sorts of concoctions, so it sounded like a great way to entertain the kids on the long summer afternoons. That, of course, pushed the level of importance up a notch, as it was now in the “for the kids” category. It wasn’t just my own craziness anymore J. Then, about 2 months ago I was reading a food magazine, where they had published a survey that placed homemade artisan ice cream as the new gourmet dessert of the (near) future. That clinched it. I NEEDED to experience this for myself.
I sent out an email to my trusty group of foodie friends, and got back some solid recommendations for the best ice cream maker to buy. Most votes went to Cuisinart’s ice cream maker, especially since I needed the capacity of at least 2 quarts. We aren’t used to doing things in small quantities around here. So, we ordered the ice cream machine to our cottage, and stocked up on heavy cream, full fat milk, and vanilla yogurts for diet fazes. I read through the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cookbook, as well as another book I borrowed from the library. I stocked up on all kinds of interesting add-ins, and one Monday afternoon, we went to work (we, as in, me and my very excited five year old daughter). After some discussion we established that her favorite ice-cream flavor is strawberry (which is, incidentally, pink, of course!) First, we macerated the strawberries in sugar and orange juice. We then followed the recipe for a basic vanilla frozen yogurt, and added the strawberry mixture toward the end, once the yogurt had started to solidify and resemble ice cream.
Through all of the research I did, I learned that there are 2 golden rules to using an ice cream maker properly. First, make sure the bowl is thoroughly frozen, and second, make sure the add-ins are cold as well. Our first batch of strawberry frozen yogurt was perfect, with a depth of flavor that really surprised me. The strawberries were sweet and the juice had brought out the tartness of the berries to offset the sweetness of the yogurt. I got excited about this project; this was way better than any store bought ice cream I had ever tasted! We immediately proceeded with my next planned recipe: the full fat, whole milk, frozen bliss. As I was pouring the heavy cream I decided that it was probably better that I didn’t know exactly what “real” ice cream is made of. J I was a bit over zealous it seems, and our best efforts did not pay off. The ice cream was not solidifying, and I realized that I was not adhering to my #1 rule: make sure the bowl is thoroughly frozen! I realized only too late that the bowl wasn’t cold enough anymore, and that I would have to leave the project until the next day, when it could have a chance to freeze fully again. L Meanwhile though, one of my faithful helper’s favorite treats are peanut chews, so we chopped them up and put them in the freezer.
I had made another mistake along the way as well. I told my sisters about my intended experiments. Imagine us sitting in the kitchen, schmoozing about nothing, and waiting for that ice cream to get ready…and it didn’t! Well, it’s a good thing the frozen yogurt had been such a success! Faithfully, I made the ice cream the very next day. This time it was a resounding success. We added the frozen pieces of peanut chews toward the end again, and the ice cream was divine. It was so simple to make, too. I simply mixed the ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolved and poured the whole thing into the ice cream maker. We added the morsels 5 minutes before the ice cream was ready, and it distributed nicely. Next time I want to try adding small pieces of 72% chocolate and toasted walnuts.
Here is the recipe for the basic Vanilla Ice Cream Base I used. In this version I've added a peanut surprise but you can add anythign you wish!
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (or full fat)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract ( or 1 scraped vanilla bean)
4 tablespoons chopped up peanut chews or anything else you'd like to add in
Follow Manufacturers instructions to create the Vanilla Base. Once complete and almost thick enough to eat, add any topping or bits you like. We added the pieces of peanut chews we had chopped the day before. Because the base has thickened somewhat, the chunks will evenly distribute throughout. ( Try to keep pieces small so they won't be too heavy and sink)
Click below to see the recipe for the Frozen Yogurt we made.
Chunky Strawberry Frozen Yogurt