Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Favorite Vanilla Ice Cream Base



I know it hasn't been too long since I posted a recipe for ice cream, but I wanted to post this great little recipe before National Ice Cream month is over in just a few days. Great on its own or with any addition you can imagine, this really is more than an ice cream base, it is a wonderfully simple vanilla canvas for you to create something totally spectacular with.

When I was searching my cookbooks and the internet for Southern Living's recipe for butter pecan ice cream, I came across many recipes that I felt I needed to try, but it was another one of their simple little recipes that really caught my eye.   So even though I have tweaked this recipe a bit, Southern Living is once again to thank for the "bones" of another great recipe.

My first go with this simple no egg ice cream recipe went so well that I have made it several times over changing up the mix-ins each time.  From chocolate chip and cookies and cream, to strawberry, peach and sweet summer cherry, this is a great base for anything you want to throw in, that is if you want to throw anything at all.

Simple Strawberry Ice Cream made from this delicious vanilla base (Haagen Dazs flavor and texture from your kitchen)

1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 - 1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients, place in a covered container and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Place cold ingredients into an ice cream freezer and freeze until ice cream is the texture of soft serve.  At this point add any mix-ins that you desire (I added 6 ounces slightly mashed fresh chilled strawberries).  Let ingredients and ice cream churn together just until they are combined.  Transfer to a covered container and freeze in a deep freeze or kitchen freezer for an additional 4 hours or overnight for optimum flavor and texture.

*After "exhaustive" research, I have found that this recipe will fill up a counter top 1 - 1/2 quart ice cream freezer.  When adding fruit (I like about 4 - 6 ounces) I cut back on the milk by 1/2 cup to keep the ice cream from overflowing in the freezer.  I also made this recipe leaving the ingredient ratios alone and stirring the mix-ins by hand at the end which worked well too and prevented a big mess all over my counter top.   I also like to mash my fruit around a bit, leaving some bigger chunks before chilling it and then adding it to my ice cream base at the end.  I think everything works better when all ingredients are nice and cold.

As for cookies and chocolate, I think the magic number for Oreos is 8 (both regular and mint are amazing).  I crumble them coarsely by hand and add them at the very end.  For chocolate chip, coarsely chop or grate your favorite regular size chocolate bar before adding it to the base.

I hope you'll experiment with your favorite flavors and mix-ins, just remember as with so many things, less is more.

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