Just this second, I've decided today starts the First Annual Swamp of Boredom Ice Cream Week. Why? Why not?! First, there are a couple of rules I want to impart about making homemade ice cream. Now, I call these rules but, really, they are opinions. Opinions based on experience and preference. So, let's just go with rules. Makes me feel important and in charge, almost like I'm the boss. I like that feeling, it's one I feel rarely.
It's Called Ice Cream For a Reason
If you're making ice cream, make ice cream. Don't be "good" and try to lighten it up. All you're going to do is ruin a perfectly good ice cream recipe. If you want something "healthier" find that recipe and follow it. Don't, whatever you do, substitute skim milk for half and half or whipping cream. If you are in a pinch, you can substitute 2% milk for whole, but that's about it. Why? Well, the skimmer the milk the more water it has. Would you substitute water for milk in your cereal? No? Then don't use skim milk in homemade ice cream, cause that's basically what your doing. You know what water turns into when it freezes? Ice. Icy ice cream is an affront to homemade ice cream. Make a granita instead. Or buy a sno-cone. Or better yet, buy low fat ice cream in the store. The have somehow discovered how to make low fat ice cream that isn't icy, though you probably don't want to know what they've put in it to achieve this low fat creaminess.
Custard Based Ice Cream is Best
Yes, making the custard base can be intimidating the first time or two, and you have all of those leftover egg whites to deal with, but once you do it, and taste the results, I don't know that you'll ever go back. If you've ever had a scoop of ice cream change your life or haunt your dreams, I can pretty much guarantee it was a custard based recipe. It's tough to beat the creaminess of the custard base.
If You Want to Win the Family Ice Cream Contest, Make a Kid Friendly Flavor
My mom's side of the family is big on ice cream. Whenever we have our family reunion, we have a ice cream making contest. I've won the last couple of times, not because my ice cream was superior, but because I made what the kids liked and I didn't try to make it healthy.
Follow the Recipe
This is the rule I break the most often. "Do as I say..." and all that. Breaking this rule is also what leads to my ice cream fails, the most recent of which I will get to now. A couple of weeks ago I made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream recipe I'd made previously with awesome results. The family loved it, it was easy and surprisingly inexpensive for a chocolate ice cream recipe. Win, win, win. When I made it a second time, I didn't have half and half, only whipping cream, so that's what I used. I suppose there was too much fat in the base, because when I froze it, it had the consistency and taste of cheesecake instead of ice cream. Not a bad mistake, but still. When we scooped it out of the freezer, it wasn't even cold. It was the strangest ice cream eating experience of my life. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't ice cream.
My suggestion is to follow the recipe exactly the first time you make it, then if you must make substitutions you can. My biggest problem with substitutions is I don't think them through. In my case, I thought "half and half made it creamy, whipping cream will make it even better!" and I was wrong. So, keep in mind, the recipes in a cookbook have been tested for the best consistency and taste. Substitute wisely, infrequently and be prepared for failure.
Share With Your Friends, or Workout Two Hours a Day
If you're making and eating homemade ice cream, you're going to gain weight. It's inevitable. Unless you want your husband to pack on a few, too, invite your friends over to sample your ice cream. Spread the calories out. Plus, you get the added benefit of seeing your friends and socializing.
So, wonderful readers, question time: Do you make homemade ice cream? Why or why not? If so, do you have a go to recipe? What is your favorite ice cream flavor (homemade or store bought)? Favorite brand?