Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe
Seven years ago, my husband and I bought one of those bucket ice cream makers on sale at Bi-Mart for $29.99. It was a total impulse buy. Homemade vanilla ice cream? Yes, please. It will go down in family history as one of the most delicious summers of our lives.
Making your own ice cream involves some advance planning, but the steps are not complicated. The end result is better than anything you can buy in the store. Plus, you have the ability to control the ingredient list, one of the biggest benefits of cooking from scratch.
Homemade ice cream is totally different from the store bought variety. In the typical cartons at your local store, you’ll find all kinds of thickeners and stabilizers. Makes sense. Ice cream is basically cream + eggs + sugar. It melts quickly. Ever notice how the cheapest ice cream is chewy like taffy and kind of sits in a slump in your bowl? If it doesn’t melt, something isn’t right. While there are some great options available now, you’ll pay a steeper price tag for those cartons.
When we first started out, we used a simple recipe included in the manual, which called for cream + sugar. However, our first few batches were more like iced milk, crystal-y not creamy. We weren’t impressed. But we are also stubborn so we kept searching for better recipes. We tested and tasted, eating gallons of ice cream that summer. It was a tough job, but we stuck with it.
Finally, we landed on this perfect combination. It only calls for five ingredients: cream/milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Simple. The steps are easy, too.
You create, chill, and churn the custard, then freeze the ice cream until it is firm. Once you pull it out of the freezer, it will be firm enough to scoop but soft enough to enjoy. The custard base gives it the perfectly creamy quality we weren’t originally able to achieve without eggs.
If you want the same results, minus the eggs, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home (Amazon) is a great cookbook. I’ve made several of her recipes. She uses cornstarch and cream cheese and tested everything using the Cuisinart ice cream maker (Amazon). The ingredient list is longer, and the steps are a little more complicated, but once you get the hang of it, every recipe is formatted the same way.
I don’t know about you, but I’m never tempted to eat store bought vanilla ice cream solo. Maybe with fruit or chocolate, but plain ice cream? Boring. With this vanilla ice cream recipe, you would be perfectly content dipping into it with nothing but a spoon. It is smooth and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Another bonus is that it is the perfect base for other variations. Our favorite is banana. Simply mash up 3 bananas and mix it into the custard before churning. Other options include cooked berries, chopped candy bars, or swirls of caramel or chocolate.
Once you have mastered vanilla, you can create pretty much any flavor combination you dream up. Check out my favorite chocolate ice cream recipe and start churning!
RELATED: Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream (no ice cream machine required!)
Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
3 egg yolks
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract pinch of salt
- Whisk yolks in a small bowl (I keep the whites in a separate bowl in the fridge and add them to scrambled eggs the next morning). Set aside.
- Heat the heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Temper (slowly add and whisk so it doesn’t cook the eggs) 1/2 cup cream mixture into yolks, then slowly whisk yolks into remaining cream mixture.
- Cook the custard over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and salt.
- Fill the sink with a few inches of cold water and a few handfuls of ice. Pour the custard into a bowl and place in the ice bath for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours-overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
All three of my sisters own this Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker (Amazon). It is the ice cream maker I plan to upgrade to when our cheap Bi-mart buy kicks the bucket (ha! pun intended). It is smaller, but still has a 1.5 quart capacity. Plus, the biggest advantage is the double insulated freezer bowl, which eliminates the need to mess with ice & rock salt. This Cuisinart model is the top seller on Amazon, with over 5,200 reviews.
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