Homemade Ice Cream
In its simplest form, ice cream can be made with just milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and some freezing. There are more complicated recipes that include egg yolks, heavy cream, and even assorted exotic ingredients, which I'll cover a tiny bit below. But for basic ice cream, just take the milk, sugar, and vanilla, and add them to a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Then place that bag into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag containing ice and salt, seal it up, and shake or squeeze until the ice cream is frozen. That’s it! If you’re wondering about the salt, it's added to lower the freezing point of the ice (don’t ask me how), and the shaking or kneading is done to reduce the size of the ice crystals, giving your ice cream that smooth texture. Because the ice cream is in a thin baggie and being continually mashed up against the ice, this method is actually much faster than an ice cream maker, and takes only about 10 minutes.
The quart-sized Ziploc bag with the ice cream ingredients should be placed inside another quart-sized bag for added protection against salt water leakage. Also, squeeze as much air out of the bags before sealing as you can, this also helps to prevent them from opening. The ice to salt ratio is about 6 to 1 and you can use standard table salt or the more popular rock salt. You'll want to have a light towel or gloves on hand to keep your fingers from freezing. If you want to be a little more active, you can also place the Ziploc bag into a Tupperware container full of ice and salt, duct tape the lid, and play catch with it to mix and stir. You can scoop the ice cream out of the bag or cut off one of the corners and squeeze it out soft serve style!
This doesn't have to be done at home, you can take it to go and make your ice cream at the beach, a park, or anywhere else you like to spend time together. Just throw the ice cream mix and ice into a cooler, keeping them separated so that the ice cream doesn't freeze just yet. When you get there, fill up the gallon-sized bag with ice, add the salt, and pop in the ice cream. Then throw a few spoons in your pocket and pass the ice cream back and forth while you're walking around, squeezing or shaking constantly. When it feels like the right consistency, open the bag up and enjoy!
Simple (Philadelphia-style) Ice Cream for Two
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Custard-style Ice Cream for Two
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 beaten egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Add yolks, milk and sugar to a pot, preferably a double boiler, and gently raise the heat, stirring, until it reaches 160 degrees. At this point it should coat the back of your spoon.
- Cool the mixture by placing the pot in a large bowl of ice or cold water.
- Once cool, mix in the heavy cream and vanilla.
- Shake or knead for 10 minutes.
This is your creation, feel free to make it whatever flavor you want. Add basic things from the following list, or experiment with crazy ideas.
- Mashed strawberries, peaches, or other fruit
- M&M’s, chopped up peanut butter cups, gummy bears, or other candy
- Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or other nuts
For those of you who want to get really creative right out of the gate, how about green tea, coffee, or honey ice cream? Or even gelato or sorbet?
Here's a quick how-to on making ice cream in a bag. Most of it's covered above but take a look at the mixing part to get an idea of what you'll be doing.
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