Summer Came Early, Let’s Eat Ice Cream!

I failed pretty miserably at something last year. I hate to admit it, but I just didn’t make enough ice cream. Please don’t hate me, it was an honest mistake.

In order to stop this tragedy from happening this year, I made a deal with myself- when the first lightening bug appeared, I would start the ice cream making. (that’s what some of you call fireflies- they are lightening bugs around here.)

Somehow, a miracale happend in late April. I was taking Avery out for her last potty break before bedtime and I saw it. Just a little twinkle, but it was real and it was there.

And it meant one thing for me: ICE CREAM!

There are not a lot or recipes that are all mine. I cook most days but most of those things come from family, books, magazines or good old food network. But my Ice Cream is all mine and I hope you don’t think I’m a little overconfident when I tell you it is my favorite ice cream on earth. I love it.

When I think homemade ice cream, that means vanilla to me. I make other kinds too, but homemade vanilla is what I grew up on so its what I always start with. So, when I got my ice cream maker several years ago, I started with the classic vanilla recipe that came with it and while it was good- it was not the ice cream in my memories. It tasted too much like heavy cream and not enough like sugar, so I tweaked until I got it perfect, in my (not so humble) opinion.

I guess I should also mention here that I refuse to eat the ice cream with eggs in it. You don’t need that to make it rich and creamy. All you need is four simple ingredients.

1 1/2 cups of Sugar

2 Cups of Whole Milk

2 Cups of Heavy Cream

several splashes of Vanilla

and a cute little pig for company :)

That’s it and it has never failed me. This is also the base of most of my ice creams, but we’ll get to those a bit later in the summer.

Back to the Vanilla. You just want to mix the sugar into the milk with an electric mixer.Then add your vanilla- make sure you use enough. This is vanilla ice cream so you want to taste it. Taste test your mixture until you get enough. 

The next part is highly scientific, but key to perfect texture. Let me show you, then explain…

… now write this down, with a CLEAN FINGER, reach in and see if you feel the sugar. It may be a teeny bit grainy, but if you feel lots of sugar you’re going to want to keep mixing. If you happen to lick your finger after this test, that will also tell you if you got enough vanilla. It’s a win-win. It’s just super important you do your vigorous mixing here because next you want to gently add the cream. Mix this on a very low speed. We’re making ice cream,  not whipped cream. I speak from experience. We’re ready for the magic. Start you cream maker up and pour it in. 

Wait about 25 minutes (or whatever your freezer tells you to) but if you happen to stick a spatula in, you can see how it starts to freeze. You may want to take a little taste test, quality control is of utmost importance when making ice cream. 

Then it is done. And Perfect. 

Remove the stirrer thingy (technical term) and listen as the hallelujah chorus plays in the background. If some falls off, you know what to do. Scrape it all into a container and pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours to get it to that perfect consistency.

As all kinds of physical and chemical changes can happen at this point, you may want to scrape the remaining bits off the freezer…

… examine it carefully just to be sure it is, in fact, perfect. Another taste test may be appropriate here. 

And just to be completely and totally sure you have the best ice cream ever, I always like to enlist the help of my chief taste tester. 

Once all the approvals are granted and you’ve let it hang out in the freezer for a couple hours there is one thing left to do. EAT! I promise you this ice cream is perfect all by itself, but if it happens to find it’s way on top of Pioneer Woman’s Brownies, that isn’t a bad thing either.

And just in case you want to try it and don’t want to scroll through 492 pictures, here’s a handy dandy printable recipe for you.

So what’s you’re favorite homemade ice cream? Do you like simple vanilla like me, or do like to get all wild and crazy and throw in bananas or strawberries? Tis the season so I say we get to eating some ice cream!