I made an investment. It was less a financial thing and more a happiness thing, but I bought an ice cream maker (because we all know that money can’t buy happiness but it can buy homemade ice cream so what really is the difference here, y’all?). I didn’t buy just any old ice cream maker to make homemade ice cream. No. I bought a beast of an ice cream maker. I bought the Queen of All Ice Cream Makers: the Cuisinart ICE 100. (The Breville Smart Scoop is the King of All Ice Cream Makers, in case you were wondering.)
I’ll be brief here (because there’s this ridiculous backlash against food writers on the internet who –gasp!–write about the recipe before posting the actual recipe. How dare they?) but there are a few different kinds of ice cream makers. They increase in ease, and price, from the old-fashioned, messy, churny kind to the ones that are slightly more convenient but you still need to remember to freeze the bowl for 24 hours beforehand. The only ice cream maker I believe is worth its (rock) salt is one with a compressor. Yes, you’ll end up shelling out a lot more money, but for someone who intends to make ice cream all summer long, every summer, it’s worth it. I got mine from Williams-Sonoma, and they price-matched Amazon’s lower price, FYI.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve made lemon sorbet, dark chocolate sorbet, cookie dough, deep dark chocolate brownie batter, frosé, malted milk whopper, and cherry chocolate chunk ice creams. I’ve got lemon basil and fresh peach up on the docket. Yeah. I know. I’m a bit obsessed.
To make homemade ice cream, you make a custard of egg yolks and sugar whisked with hot cream and milk and cooked just until thickened. Then you stash it in the fridge until cool, strain it, and process it in the ice cream maker. I mix in my various bits and pieces of happiness right after processing and before the final freeze. The recipe below is a base recipe for classic vanilla bean ice cream, and I’ve included all of my variations.
Homemade Ice Cream
This easy, custard-style ice cream is creamy and rich and easily adaptable.
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, combine the milk and cream.
Scrape the vanilla bean into the cream and add the empty pods. Heat over low heat until just simmering.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.
Add about 1/2 cup of the hot cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk the egg yolk mixture while slowly pouring in the rest of the hot cream mixture.
Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and cook the custard over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla until blended.
Pour the hot custard through a strainer into a clean bowl, gently pressing the liquid through the strainer.
Prepare an ice bath by partially filling a large bowl with ice water. Nestle the bowl with the custard in the ice bath and let cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours
Pour the custard into an at-least 1-quart capacity ice cream maker and churn until the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve. Transfer to a plastic freezer container, cover tightly and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Makes about 1.5 quarts.
For Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Omit vanilla bean (keep extract) and add a bag of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough bites after churning and before freezing.
For Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream: Omit vanilla bean (keep extract) and add 1 cup roughly chopped pitted fresh cherries (or 1 cup roughly chopped frozen, pitted cherries) and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks.
For Milk Chocolate Malted Ice Cream (featured above and pictured below): Omit vanilla bean and add 1 cup malted milk powder to egg yolks and sugar and whisk until no lumps remain. When straining hot custard, add 6 ounces chopped milk chocolate to custard and let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted. Chill as directed and churn. After churning, add 1 cup halved Whoppers to ice cream, stir, and freeze.
For Dark Chocolate Brownie Batter Ice Cream: Bake a pan of brownies just until set and cool (brownies should still be gooey). Omit vanilla bean and add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to egg yok mixture and whisk until no lumps remain. When straining hot custard, add 6 ounces chopped dark chocolate to custard and let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted. Chill as directed and churn. After churning, add half of