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No need to scream – there’s always ice cream

August 5, 2009

icecream0_080109I came late to the homemade ice cream scene. I hadn’t been keeping up on the technology, so when I heard “homemade ice cream,” I always had visions of those big bucket contraptions with that arm-killing crank. And rock salt. Crank crank crank. Churn churn churn. [Cramp] [cramp] [cramp]. Still soft. [Sigh.] Crank crank crank ….

No, thanks. Why would anyone do that, I thought, when there’s Ben & Jerry’s. Craaayyzzy.

Then, thanks to King Arthur Flour’s awesome blog (how fabulous does this flavor sound…), I got hip to the groove. Fresh homemade ice cream in under 30 minutes? With no cranking? Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. And I’ve never looked back. Sorry, Ben & Jer, I’ll take it from here.

This is the discovery of the summer for me, the $45 Cuisinart ice cream maker. Even though I eagerly hit the Add to Cart button when I read about the device on Amazon, I wasn’t quite convinced that the resulting ice cream would be as good as the big label brands. (After all, Cincinnati is home to the famous loved-by-Oprah-and-Sarah-Jessica-Parker Graeter’s brand, which makes two of my favorite flavors ever, Mocha Chocolate Chip, and Elena’s Blueberry Pie. We Cincinnatians know ice cream.)

But, I’ve been nothing but bowled over by the results of my experimentations. Just goes to show you that fresh ingredients make all the difference. The real fun of making your own ice cream is that, as long as you get the core recipe right, you can embellish to your heart’s content (the secret to Ben & Jerry’s magnificently inventive flavors is that there is no secret; it’s all credited to their magnificently inventive imaginations). Swirl in some caramel? Yup. Chocolate covered espresso beans? Go for it.

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Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
  1 cup milk, well-chilled (you can use 2% to cut down on fat; it will just be less creamy)
  3/4 cup sugar
  3 tablespoons malted milk powder (optional)*
  2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  1-2 tablespoons vanilla, to taste**
  1 cup Oreo® cookies, coarsely chopped

1.  If using malted milk powder, take 2 tablespoons from the cup of milk and heat gently in the microwave. Add malted milk powder and stir until completely disolved.

2.  In a large bowl, add the milk (or the remaining milk) and sugar, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream, the malted milk powder solution and vanilla. Stir throughly.

3.  Freeze/process according to manufacturer’s directions.

4.  Add the cookies during the last five minutes of processing (or as instructed by the manufacturer’s directions).

5.  For best results, transfer the ice cream (which will be of soft-serve consistency at this point) to a freezer-suitable container***, and allow to set up (or “ripen”) for at least 2 hours.

* Malted milk powder is completely optional, but adds a delicious old-fashioned malted-milk-shake flavor.

** Use the best vanilla you can find. This is one ingredient you don’t want to scrimp on.

*** Just how cute are these ice cream containers (also, fourth photo above)?

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