Last summer I got an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and it quickly became one of my favorite kitchen tools. If you haven’t made homemade ice cream before I would really encourage you to give it a try. The flavor is so much better than what you can find in the stores and it’s a ton of fun to make. Plus, since you’re picking out the ingredients you can easily make sure it’s all organic.
There are two basic kinds of ice cream, Philadelphia and French. Philadelphia-style ice cream is quick and easy to make with a simple milk, cream and sugar base- no heating or cooking required. French-style ice creams use a custard base made with cooked egg yolks that is mixed with milk, cream and sugar. Both options are delicious, but I’m partial to the French variety. Starting with the egg yolk base results in a richer, creamier ice cream and usually eliminates the problem of the ice cream freezing too solid in the freezer. Don’t let the extra steps involved with making the custard scare you off of the French version, it’s easier than you’d think!
If you opt for the Philadelphia version, there are ways to mitigate the ‘freezing-too-solid’ issue. The most obvious option is to just let the ice cream sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften before you scoop it, but if you want it softer straight from the freezer, adding a tablespoon or two of alcohol will help. You can also experiment with adding cream cheese or sour cream to the base for a creamier, softer texture.
Ice cream is incredibly forgiving to make and it’s open to unlimited interpretations and variations so you can easily customize it to combine your favorite flavors. Below is my go-to recipe for Vanilla Bean Ice Cream; it’s delicious on its own or on top of some warm pie or cobbler. I’ve also used it as a starting point for many of the other ice creams I’ve made. If you’re looking for something chocolaty, here’s a link to my favorite Chocolate Ice Cream. Check back next week for a new ice cream recipe I developed using the vanilla ice cream base!