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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
A Brief History of Ice Cream
The history of modern ice cream has its roots in Europe, where cooks first experimented with freezing sweetened milk, pudding and custards. Fresh ice cream only needs some milk or cream, a bit of sugar for sweetening and a thickener to give it some texture. Making ice cream yourself is technically easy, with the only hard part becoming the physical effort of freezing the mixture. A manual ice cream mixer or a modern electric one both work by keeping the milk/cream actively mixing while it chills in temperature. This action prevents the formation of ice crystals, where the water in the mix freezes faster than the other ingredients. And that's just about all there is to it for making your own homemade ice cream.
Ready to give making your own homemade ice cream a try?
Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes
- Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream is the modern descendant of chilled egg custards. Although most of us are used to ice cream as something you just go and get from the freezer section, it can be fun and delicious to make your own homemade ice cream!
- French Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
The reason I like this ice cream is because you can freeze it and it is like the store bought hard ice cream.
- Organic Rose Vanilla Ice Cream
Rather than make it with rose water, she uses 2 drops of Rosa damacena high grade therapeutic essential oil. It's practically flavorgasmic.
My Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
This is a very simple recipe for ice cream, which uses corn starch as the thickener for the ice cream. (Most recipes use eggs) You can get a LOT of flavor and texture variations just by changing the ration of milk to cream. Using just reduced-fat milk, you can still get a very creamy ice cream, but if you start to blend in some half-and-half or light cream you will get results that more closely resemble higher-quality commercial ice creams.
2 1/2 Cups milk, half-n-half, light cream or a blend
1/2 Cup sugar
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp corn starch
vanilla bean, vanilla paste or extract
Pour 2 of the cups of milk/cream into a pot and put over medium heat. Blend in the sugar and the pinch of salt. If you are using whole vanilla bean, now is when you add the beans and pod to the milk mixture. Heat gently until the mixture is steaming slightly. Then strain out the bean pod.
In another bowl, mix the last 1/2 cup of milk/cream and the cornstarch. Blend or whisk until there are no lumps. Then add this mixture to the sweetened milk, whisking frequently and heat until the mixture is almost boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking mixture as it thickens. If you are using vanilla paste or extract, add it after the mix gets thick.
Remove thickened milk from heat and allow to cool (this can take several hours). You get better freezing from using a cooled-down mixture. Once milk mix is cold, pour it into your ice cream mixer and freeze according to the instructions for the mixer. (this step can take a half hour to several hours)
DIY Ice Cream
Ice Cream Alternatives
- Vegan Soy Ice Cream
This vegan soy ice cream recipe is easy to make, infinitely customizable, and has a luxuriously creamy texture.
- Super Simple Nutella Ice Cream
Hazelnut spread and evaporated milk combine to make a delicious dessert!
- Yummy Low Sugar Ice Cream
This isn't totally sugar free, but if you want some good ice cream without so much sugar, this is a great recipe, and it's quick to prepare.
- Low-Carb Ice Cream Recipe Collection
Our favorite ice cream recipe is very simple and we freeze it in one of the "freezable cylinder" ice cream makers. My husband is addicted.
Flavor Variations for your Homemade Ice Cream
Are you a chocolate ice cream fan? - substitute a good organic chocolate milk for the regular milk and you'll get a light and rich homemade chocolate ice cream!
Lemon or orange ice cream - substitute buttermilk for the regular milk, as it gives a great tangy character to the basic ice cream. Then just before freezing, add a 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed juice and a tablespoon of fresh zest to the mix.
Nuts & chocolate - add 1/2 cup chocolate shavings or chopped nuts right before freezing. If you do chocolate chips, get the miniature ones, as they melt faster in your mouth when you eat the finished product. (whole frozen chips can be a bit too crunchy for some folks)
Fruit flavors - add 1/2 cup of fresh chopped fruit bits or good quality jam to your milk mix before freezing.
Herbal ice cream - making your own mint chip is easy, just add a 1/2 cup of freshly and finely chopped mint to your mix. Or try something more exotic like lavender!