One thing that I have always wanted to make is homemade ice cream. I have always wondered - how would my own, fresh, homemade ice cream taste? Would the difference be detectable? Would it be worth the time?
Despite not having an ice cream maker, a simple Google search provided me with a recipe: homemade ice cream that can be made without an ice cream maker! Additionally, it is easy to flavor it to your liking, or add custom mix-ins. I like that you can control all of the ingredients - even make them completely organic.
This recipe comes from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt on SeriousEats.com. I chose this basic recipe because of the amount of testing the recipe author conducted. J. Kenji understands that the purpose of the ice cream maker is to provide continuous churning, which prevents icy crystals from forming; so, the secret to producing creamy, non-crystallized ice cream is to initially freeze the mixture in small compartments.
First comes the ice cream, followed by my custom mix-in: edible cookie dough with chopped peanut butter cups.
ice cream ingredients
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
12 oz can condensed milk
2 cups whipping cream
cookie dough ingredients
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, or chopped peanut butter cups (optional)
Begin with the ice cream. Separate 8 large egg yolks into a bowl, and whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk on medium-high for about 5 minutes, and then set aside.
Bring evaporated milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour the heated milk into the egg/sugar mixture, mixing well. Return the milk/egg/sugar mixture to the saucepan, and heat until 180 degrees F - any hotter than this could cause the eggs to scramble. Whisk the mixture constantly. Once the mixture has thickened and reached 180 degrees, remove from heat, and chill completely.
While the mixture is chilling, beat 1 cup of whipping cream until it has doubled in size. Once the egg mixture has chilled, stir in the whipped cream. Pour this mix into ice cube trays, and freeze until solid - about four hours.
cookie dough directions
While your ice cream mixture is freezing, start on your edible cookie dough.
Cream together brown sugar and butter in a bowl. Next, add vanilla extract, water, and flour, stirring well. Stir in the mix-ins of your choice - I went with chopped peanut butter cups. You can either roll this into a log, and chop into pieces once frozen, or if yours is a little soft, just drop small pieces like drop-cookies on wax paper and freeze.
Back to the ice cream...
Once your ice cream cubes are frozen solid, remove cubes from the tray into a food processor (I had to use a butter knife). Pour in your mix-ins and the remaining 1 cup of whipping cream (not yet whipped), and process for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Pour the mixture into an air-tight container and place back in the freezer, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
The next day, my result was smooth, creamy, scoop-able ice cream. There were no large crystals, no crunchy ice pieces - it tasted fresh and perfect!