Easy Peasy Ice Cream, NBD

My very first job in high school was scooping ice cream at the local Mom and Pop ice cream shop.  It was so much fun!  I loved being busy on the crazy, post-Little League nights– sprinkly, sticky insanity!  EVERYbody is happy when they’re getting ice cream.  And I got to be the person who made them happy; what’s better than that?

These smiles brought to you by Ice Cream (tm)

These smiles brought to you by Ice Cream ™

People ask me all the time if I started to hate ice cream after working in an ice cream shop for three years.  Nope!  It’s not like you actually eat it while you’re working.  And it’s ice cream!  Even if I had hated my job, ice cream would be no less delicious.  And it’s so versatile!  You can put almost anything in/on ice cream and find success.  I love reading ice cream recipes because they’re always so creative (not to mention simple)!  BUT so many of them require an ice cream maker, which this poor grad student definitely does not have.

There is good news, however, for those of use lacking in the excessive kitchen gadget department.  You don’t have to have an ice cream maker to make ice cream!  My aunt passed a recipe like this one around the family a few years ago, and I’ve come across it a lot since then.  It’s so easy!  The hardest part is waiting HOURSSS for the ice cream to freeze.  Life is so tough sometimes, you know?

BF is one of the most stubborn ice cream eaters I know.  He ONLY eats cookie dough!  It’s weird.  Like, really.  What is that?  There are so many delicious flavors out there!  So I wasn’t sure he was going to go for this.  But he did!  Every time I snuck a spoonful checked to see if the ice cream had frozen yet, he willingly “tested” with me.  There may be hope yet!

The base for this ice cream is a mix of 2 c. cream and 1 can sweetened condensed milk.  Whip the cream to stiff peaks (if you do it by hand your arm will get tired but you’ll feel so legit and you can tell yourself you’ve earned the ice cream as a reward!) and then fold in the sweetened condensed milk.  Whip the mixture up a little more if it seems to have deflated.  That’s it!  SO easy.  Then fold in whatever other business you’ve got going on and put it in the freezer (covered in a freezer-friendly container) for at least 6 hours.  Mine needed longer, but maybe you’ll get lucky and get to eat yours that much sooner! 😉

Hello, you beautiful temptress

Hello, you beautiful temptress.

For this ice cream (which I’m hoping will be the first of many.  But not too many.  But still many…), I was inspired by the ice cream I got in Annapolis this weekend.  BF of course got cookie dough, and I couldn’t decide (also of course), so I got half a scoop of salted caramel and half a scoop of toasted coconut.  GREAT call, self.  To get a similar product in my own kitchen, I added a few tablespoons of vanilla, some chocolate chips, toasted coconut, and salted caramel sauce to the ice cream base.  So you know, nothing indulgent at all, really.  When transferring the ice cream mixture to the freezer-safe container, I drizzled caramel sauce in every few cupfuls, to create ribbons of caramel throughout the final product (in addition to the sauce I folded into the mixture itself).

For Toasted Coconut, just spread coconut flakes in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and stick it in the oven at 325 for 5-10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it– coconut will go from toasted goodness to sad burned in a flash!

The toasted brown color will appear fast!

The toasted brown color will appear quickly!

Salted Caramel requires a little more work, but is still not too hard.  You’ll need:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 12 T. butter (a stick and a half), cut up and at room temp.
  • 1 c. heavy cream at room temp.
  • 1 T. salt (classy sea salt if you have it, but table salt works just fine!)

First, melt the sugar in a heavy, deep saucepan.  Whisk it frequently as it melts, because it will clump and want to stick to the sides.  This is a time for “constant vigilance,” Mad-Eye Moody (too nerdy?); you want the sugar to reach a deep amber color, but like the coconut, this will turn to burned FAST.  If you’re using a thermometer, you’re aiming for 350 degrees, but I haven’t ever found a thermometer necessary.  Just don’t take your eyes off it!  As soon as the sugar hits that deep amber color, add the butter and stir it in.  Be careful– the butter will bubble and be nasty, as my own burned fingers can attest!  That’s why a deep saucepan is best.  I found that switching to a wooden spoon at this point made things easier, but if the whisk still works for you that’s fine too.  Next, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream.  Stir until smooth, then stir in the salt.  Let the sauce cool and then transfer it to a fridge-friendly container.  It will keep for about a month, and kudos to you if you have the self-control to make it last that long!

You can use salted caramel for a zillion things.  And it will make all zillion of those things better.  AND it will make you happy!  Your pot will probably be messy, and the idea of cleaning it will probably leave you terrified.  The trick to cleaning pots with impossibly burned-on contents is to add water to the pot and bring it to a boil.  Voila!  The sugary walls that seemed impossible to remove will be gone.  If you’re like me, you’re going to get embarrassingly excited about this.  And it’s ok, you’re not alone!

This ice cream is so rich, and so delicious.  You can put whatever your lil heart desires in your ice cream, but if you want some inspiration/jumping off points, check out the links below.  Disclaimer: I haven’t tried these specific mixtures yet, but I’d bet my bottom dollar they’re delicious!

Salted Caramel Bourbon Nutter Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Reese’s Fluffernutter Ice Cream

Margarita Ice Cream

Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

Happy indulging!