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Fear Conquered: Homemade Ice Cream
“I hate homemade ice cream.”
That was me, age 8. My grandfather had made a heart-healthy homemade ice cream with skim milk, sugar and vanilla - transformed into a rock-hard block of frozen milk crystals. By the time he scooped me a bowl-full, the homemade "ice cream" had the unpleasant consistency of pulverized yet re-solidified ice. And the overpowering sweetness somehow didn't help. The rest of my family seemed infatuated with the hardened milk - but I longed for sweet, creamy goodness from a store-bought carton. Or a soft-serve DQ cone.
Disillusioned with the homemade, I turned to my new best friends: Ben & Jerry's, Hagen Daaz and Cold Stone. Because only ice cream from a carton could be trusted. Only cartons are free from ice crystals and perfectly creamy, perfectly scoopable.
But the day came when friends Dan and Tina invited my other half and I over to sample homemade ice cream. Made at home, with the convenience of their new ice cream maker. And despite my reservations and the ever-present memory of my grandfather's ice slurry, I grudgingly accepted a bowl of the homemade stuff. And sighed with relief at the creamy, smooth, homemade deliciousness. Love for the homemade was re-ignited.
Jump forward a few years (and one busted ice cream maker), and I'm happily carton-free with my own take on the homemade. This ice cream is packed with real vanilla flavor and remains wonderfully scoopable even after days in the freezer. Even better, you don’t have to fuss with cooking and straining a creme en glaze. Instead, just whisk, stir, churn and freeze. Fresh, creamy, homemade ice cream without the fuss.
You can finally ditch the carton - and the preservatives, artificial flavorings, dyes, transfats, and unpronounceable stabilizers. You can make your own perfect batch of homemade ice cream. Because this is the good stuff.
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|Split a vanilla bean lengthwise.|
|Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream.|
|Cook the cream and vanilla seeds for 5 minutes over medium heat until fragrant.|
|Remove the vanilla cream from the heat and whisk in 2 Tablespoons cold heavy cream; set aside to cool.|
|Add 4 pasteurized egg yolks at room temperature to a large bowl.|
|Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar to the egg yolks.|
|Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugars together for 5 minutes.|
|The yolks and sugar should lighten in color and form a smooth ribbon.|
|Add 2 3/4 cups whole milk to the yolks and sugar.|
|Add vanilla extract, vanilla cream, salt and cardamom.|
|Gently whisk everything together until the sugar is completely dissolved into the milk.|
|Add the remaining heavy cream to the ice cream mixture.|
|Stir in the heavy cream until well mixed. Do NOT whip.|
|Chill the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.|
|Pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the ice cream maker freezer insert fitted with the dasher.|
|Churn the ice cream for 25 minutes (or according to the ice cream maker instructions) until soft and creamy.|
|Optionally add 1 teaspoon of cognac to the ice cream and churn for another 5 minutes.|
|Transfer the soft ice cream to an airtight freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. (If you have the time, I recommend stirring the ice cream once an hour for 3 hours.)|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Ingredients (2 quarts)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed
- 4 large pasteurized egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 smidge (1/32 teaspoon) ground cardamom
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon cognac, reserved (optional)
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and the vanilla bean seeds; simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, then remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 2 Tablespoons of cold heavy cream; set aside to cool
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg yolks and sugars until the yolks lighten in color and form a thick ribbon, about 5 minutes (or use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment)
- Add the vanilla bean cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, salt and cardamom to the egg yolks and sugar and gently whisk together until the sugar completely dissolves, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
- Stir in the remaining heavy cream, then chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- Pour the chilled mixture into a 2 quart ice cream maker freezer insert fitted with the dasher and churn the ice cream until soft and creamy, about 25 minutes
- Add the optional cognac to the ice cream and churn for another 5 minutes; transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe, sealable container and chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving
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Hungry for Tips?
- Cardamom and Cognac: A hint of cardamom and cognac enhances the vanilla flavor, but adding too much quickly overpowers the vanilla and cream. So if you don’t have cardamom or cognac, leave it out - the ice cream is still delicious.
- Vanilla Seeds: Browning the cream with the vanilla seeds helps to coax out even more vanilla flavor from the seeds. If you don’t have the time to brown the cream, skip the vanilla seeds entirely and just stick to vanilla extract.
- Salt: Don't leave out the salt. As the cream chills and eventually freezes, the saltiness disappears and instead enhances the other flavors in the ice cream. If you leave out the salt, the flavors fall flat.
- Cream vs. Milk: There is a precise milk-to-cream ratio in this recipe - feel free to adjust, just keep in mind that adding more cream (and removing some of the milk) will result in a "coating" sensation on your tongue; removing some of the cream (and adding more milk) will result in more ice crystallization while freezing.
- By Hand: You can make this recipe without a stand mixer. If you have good arm muscles, a whisk and a big bowl works great. Just be sure the eggs, sugar and milk are completely combined (and dissolved) before chilling the mixture in the ice cream maker.
- Freeze: Always make sure your freezing element has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours before making ice cream. And follow the instructions for your machine to determine the correct amount of time required to turn the cream mixture into a thick yet soft mixture. Once you transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer container, I recommend stirring the ice cream once an hour for 3 hours to maintain creaminess and reduce ice crystals.
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