So ice cream isn't something you can make on the spur of the moment, because it does require special equipment. But I'm going to show you how easy it is, so if you've been thinking about getting an ice cream maker, maybe this post will convince you! The actual process isn't technical at all and takes maybe an hour of active cooking (plus lots of waiting...but the anticipation makes the final result taste better!).
The recipe I used comes from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which is full of amazing and unusual flavors (like chamomile chardonnay ice cream or cucumber, honeydew and cayenne frozen yogurt!). But for my first try I decided to go with a classic vanilla. I won't tell you the exact recipe because I encourage everyone to go out and get this amazing cookbook, but I'll show you how the process works!
Jeni's ice cream recipes use seven basic ingredients: light corn syrup, sea salt, heavy cream (duh!), whole milk, cornstarch, cream cheese (in place of the more usual eggs) and sugar. In addition, I used a vanilla bean, although vanilla extract would of course be fine too.
The ingredients start out going into three separate bowls...
...the cornstarch is mixed with a little bit of the milk...
...the cream cheese is whisked with the salt...
...and everything else goes into a big pot. This mixture gets boiled for a few minutes, then the cornstarch is mixed in (this will thicken the batter), then everything is boiled for a minute more.
Finally you whisk the hot batter into the cream cheese, and you're done with the cooking!
The batter goes into a Ziploc bag in an ice bath, or you can put it in the fridge. Either way, it's very important that the batter is nice and chilly before you put it in the ice cream maker, otherwise it won't freeze!
Now it's time to turn the batter into ice cream! As you can see, the KitchenAid ice cream maker consists of a double-walled bowl with liquid in between the walls, as well as a churning attachment. The bowl must be completely frozen before use; we kept it in our freezer on the coldest setting for 24 hours.
So you put the batter in the bowl and turn the mixer to its slowest setting. The frozen bowl starts freezing the ice cream, while the mixing process adds air, so you get nice fluffy ice cream instead of a solid block of ice.
After 20 minutes or so, the ice cream will have the consistency of soft serve, and that means it's done. You scoop it out into a container, lay some parchment paper on top, and stick it in the freezer for a few hours, where it will turn into beautiful ice cream!
Whaddya think? Not bad for my first try! The vanilla flavor is way more intense than your average storebought ice cream, and it's sooo rich and creamy...you can feel your arteries clogging as you eat it. I'm not sure we can ever go back to grocery store ice cream now! This week I made cookies 'n' cream flavor--it's just vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreos added near the end of the mixing process.
Have you been inspired to make your own ice cream? For those of you who already have an ice cream maker, what's your favorite recipe?