Homemade Ice Cream: How to Create the Perfect Flavors

girl with ice creamEditor’s Note: July is National Ice Cream Month, and we’re celebrating with making our own ice cream. Read on to discover yummy ways to create the best homemade ice cream.

“The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts” definitely applies when making homemade ice cream. Why? Because of the simplicity of taking 3 common ingredients; dairy, eggs, and sugar, and changing them into luscious, creamy ice cream is awesome. Once you have homemade ice cream, you will never look at grocery store ice cream the same again!

Finding a basic recipe that can serve as your starting point is the first step in your flavor journey. When I started my research for this article, I quickly realized there are as many recipes out there as there are places to find them: online sites, cookbooks, family recipes. After trying different ones, “my guinea pigs” (aka my family) found this one to be the perfect fit. It is delicious as vanilla ice cream and the perfect starting place to add fresh fruit, candies, and nuts in combination to your heart’s desire.

Old-Fashioned, Hand-Churned Vanilla Ice Cream
(recipe from the Food Network)*

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk to combine the sugar, salt, yolks and vanilla seeds until completely smooth, set aside. In a large saucepan, set over medium to medium high heat, combine the cream and milk and cook until small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan and the mixture is hot.

Remove milk mixture from the heat.

Slowly drizzle the eggs into the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. (Hint: Place the saucepan on a folded kitchen towel to give you a better surface to secure the hot saucepan.)

Place your saucepan back on the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain the custard into a large bowl. (Hint: Don’t skip the straining step, it is important to the quality you get in the end)

Place the bowl containing the custard mixture, in an ice bath and cool the custard, stirring occasionally.

Store the custard bases individually, in the refrigerator until ready to churn.**

immergood amish ice cream freezer

Find hand-cranked ice cream freezers at Lehmans.com

Hint: Make multiple batches of the base ahead of time and refrigerate them individually until you are ready to start churning. This will earn priceless points with your impatient ice cream eaters and the children, too.

Now, let the fun begin by adding flavors:

Fruit – For the easiest and most punch of flavor, I found using fruit preserves to be the best medium. (Fresh fruit added a lot of water effecting the final product.)

  • For whole batch flavor, whisk the preserves into the chilled base.
  • For a swirled effect, fold the preserves into the ice cream at the end of churning.

Caramel – Add at the end of the process for best texture.

Chocolates – Candy-coated chocolates, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks and similar candies can add rich flavor to your ice cream. But use caution! Hard candies and some frozen commercial candy bars will turn rock hard when frozen and cause a choking and tooth breaking risk.

  • For whole batch flavor, add the candies just before you start churning.
  • For a swirled effect, fold the candies into the ice cream at the end of churning. This is my preferred method – candies retain their size and texture better.

These are just a very few of the endless combinations you can blend. 

Explore the flavor seeker inside of you. But I will warn you – once you step into the world of making up new flavor combinations, it becomes addictive fast.

*Base recipe from the Food Network and can be viewed here.

**For the mechanical part of the ice cream making process, you can find a step-by-step video at Lehmans.com/blog/homemade-ice-cream/

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.