Frozen Desserts: Part 5

It's time to break out your ice cream maker. I normally don't like to give you recipes that require special equipment, but I think homemade ice cream is the exception. Like so many things made from scratch it is so good if you can make it yourself. Plus ice cream makers are pretty affordable, so if you are an ice cream aficionado like me, you'll be glad you got one. 

I'm going to start by giving you my recipe for the most basic of homemade ice creams: vanilla. If you read my blog regularly you know I'm a chocolate person. I would never order vanilla at an ice cream shop. But homemade vanilla I love. Mostly because it takes something like a piece of apple pie and makes it that much better. Or chocolate cake. Or cookies. You get the point. 

After trying many recipes and having them come out too icy, I've finally come up with this one. You'll notice that I stir in the heavy cream at the end. I've always done this with my blueberry ice cream and the texture of that one is great. So, one day I decided to do the same thing with the vanilla and it also came out with a great texture.  


Once you've mastered the vanilla you can easily add other ingredients to the vanilla base to create other flavors. A syrupy fruit compote can be stirred in at the end. You can add peppermint extract and crushed peppermint candies. And of course you can add chocolate.  So, as a bonus I give you a technique I learned from my Williams Sonoma Ice Cream book where you melt chocolate with a bit of vegetable oil and add it to the ice cream machine in the last minutes of churning it. You end up with lovely slivers of chocolate throughout the ice cream. 

Chocolate Chip

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

1. Place the whole milk in medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds with a small knife into the saucepan. Add bean pod to pan. Place over medium heat and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes (do not let it boil). Turn off heat.

2. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and half and half in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of the vanilla bean-milk mixture into the yolk mixture until well blended. Pour the yolk mixture into the milk in the saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stir slowly and constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thickened, about 4 -6 minutes. Do not boil. You will know it is thick enough when you can dip the spoon into the mixture, run your finger along the back and the line stays. This will be about 180 degrees on an instant read thermometer if you have one.

3. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Place inside a larger bowl filled with ice water until cooled to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Once cool, whisk in heavy cream. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface of cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

4. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately if you prefer a soft texture, otherwise freeze in air-tight container to allow it to firm up a bit.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

1 batch vanilla ice cream, prepared through step 3.
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

About 1 hour before you are ready to churn the ice cream, melt the chocolate and vegetable oil together in small microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool completely.

Process the vanilla ice cream in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the ice cream is thick like soft serve ice cream, keep the machine running and drizzle the chocolate mixture over with a large spoon. As soon as the chocolate hits the ice cream it will start to freeze and form silvers of chocolate in the ice cream. Serve immediately if you prefer a soft texture, otherwise freeze in air-tight container to allow it to firm up a bit.

Each batch makes approximately 1 quart of ice cream.

Note: Store in the freezer in an air-tight container for up to three days. 

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