Homemade Ice Cream Notes

A running list of ice creams that I have made, including links to the recipe if I've posted it on the blog, my notes about the ice cream, and my rating of the final product.

For most of my early ice creams, I used custard-based recipes.  More recent recipes are based on Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream Base.  The final product isn't going to taste exactly like the Chunky Monkey or Half Baked that you'll find at the grocery store, but the recipe for the ice cream base is from their book, so it should meet any craving for homemade premium ice cream that you might have.  For sources, follow the link to the recipe's post. If no source is listed, the recipe is my own creation.  

A rating of 5 spoons means that all four people in our household agree that it should be made again.



Peanut Butter-Chocolate 
Peanut butter, sugar, milk and cream blended and then churned.  As it churned I thought, I should add a chocolate ripple.  So I whipped up a chocolate ripple, but it didn't have time to cool appropriately, so when I added it in the last minute of churning, it melted some of the ice cream, turning the batch into a swirl of peanut butter ice and peanut-butter chocolate ice cream.

Eaten within a few hours after churning, while still soft, this ice cream was a-mazing.  I commented to my husband that when ice cream is soft and delicious, it's easy to keep eating and eating until it is all gone. Maybe I should have kept eating, because once frozen overnight, it has a gummy unpleasant texture.  As far as I can tell this has nothing to do with me fouling up the chocolate ribbon; it has to do with the peanut butter.
Rating: 1 spoon



Watermelon 
About 1 3/4 cups watermelon syrup (2 cups watermelon smashed and simmered with 1 cup sugar and then reduced a bit) subbed for the sugar in a basic Sweet Cream Base.

The watermelon flavor was subtle, and sadly overpowered by what I can only describe as a squashiness, not in texture, but in flavor.  I assume that, being related to squash, there's some compound in watermelon that, when cooked, tastes like squash.  In the future, I'll stick with consistently delicious, easy-peasy Watermelon Sorbet
Rating: 1 spoon


Perfect Strawberry
Sweet cream base, except I let 1 cup of diced strawberries (perfectly sweet small berries) mascerate in the 3/4 cup sugar for 30 minutes or so before adding to the eggs.

Wonderful!  I've served this a couple times this summer and I think everyone who has tasted it agrees that this is a perfect, celebration-of-summer-berries dessert. I've read in the past that custard bases tend to overwhelm fresh fruit flavors in ice creams.  Therefore, many classic strawberry ice cream recipes don't include eggs.  The texture fresh out of an ice cream maker is wonderful, but without eggs, it freezes too hard and is not as good the second day.  That's why I am devoted to the Sweet Cream Base. The raw eggs keep the texture perfectly creamy for up to a week in the freezer, without any hint of egginess in the flavor. Just that simple, summery strawberries-and-cream flavor.
Rating: 5 spoons


Cherry-Chocolate Chip
Sweet Cream Base with 1/2 cup chopped cherries and 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks mixed-in during last 2 minutes of churning.  To make chocolate chunks, melt 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate over low heat.  Spread warm chocolate in a thin layer on wax paper.  Freeze 15 minutes, then use your hands or knife to break into chunks.

This is, of course, is supposed to be a copycat recipe of the famed Cherry Garcia Ice Cream.  While this ice cream is good, it is NOT Cherry Garcia.  (Just like my Cappuccino Cheesecake is NOT Volun-tiaramisu.)  Cherry Garcia has more cherry flavor in the ice cream base.  This is just Sweet Cream Ice Cream (which, being just cream, milk, sugar and eggs, is delicious) with chunks--or shavings--of dark chocolate (delicious) and bits of cherries--which get icy when frozen, so chop them into small pieces.  Next time I might puree half of the cherries to try to incorporate the flavor into the base.
Rating:  (As Cherry Chocolate Chip) 4.25 spoons (As Copycat Cherry Garcia) 1.5 spoons


Caramel / Salted Caramel
Modified Sweet Cream Base:  Sugar, heated until it melts and caramelizes, with butter, cream and milk (and optional salt) whisked in.  Whisk caramel mixture into eggs and churn.

All four of us like this ice cream.  It's very versatile.  We eat it in ice cream cones, stirred into iced coffee, over waffles and just straight out of the freezer.  And, though it does require chilling before churning, less time-consuming than the custard-version I had made before.  And none of the graininess that I experienced with the prior recipe.  We're sure to make this one many times this summer.
Rating: 5 spoons


Vanilla 
Sweet Cream Base with vanilla extract whisked in.

Sometimes simple things are the most savor-able.  Cream, sugar, vanilla, very simple, and yet delicious.  Not much more difficult than whipping cream, why not use this as a topping for berries, grilled peaches or a simple cake? 
Rating: 4 spoons


Oatmeal Cookie 
Modified sweet cream base (2 eggs whisked with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 cup whole milk, 1 1/2 cups cream, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract).  Homemade caramel sauce and homemade oatmeal cookie chunks folded in after churning.

I had been dreaming of an Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream for months, wondering if I should include chocolate-covered raisins or caramel sauce in the mix-ins.  I chose caramel sauce, because making caramel is much easier for me than dipping things in chocolate.  This was really good. The tiny amount of cinnamon, the vanilla and the brown sugar in the base combine to taste like oatmeal cookies.  Which is pretty cool in and of itself.  The mix-ins, chewy small-bite-size pieces of oatmeal cookie and buttery caramel sauce make a great flavor combination.  All of us enjoyed this ice cream.
Rating: 4 spoons


Blueberry (White Chocolate) 
One cup blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 ounces white chocolate simmered and stirred over med-low heat until the chocolate and sugar melts, then chilled. Combine 3/4 cup (raw) cream, 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt, 1 cup (raw, whole) milk.  Blend 2 whole eggs, then blend after each addition: 1 tablespoon sugar, the blueberry mixture, the dairy mixture.  Churn.

I made this one because Grace wanted blueberry ice cream and I wanted something more interesting.  The white chocolate flavor doesn't come through, but I think it may help accentuate the flavor of the blueberries (in the same way that a small amount of coffee is included in many chocolate cake recipes).  In the future I could double the white chocolate, but I like it just the way it is.  Very creamy and simple, a beautiful periwinkle color that needs no adornment. 
Rating: 4 spoons
 

Caramel Brownie Sundae / Caramel Almond Sundae
This is the first ice cream I've made with raw cream.  The raw cream is $10 per pint, so I wanted to make an ice cream I knew I would enjoy.  Sweet cream base with a teaspoon each whiskey and vanilla whisked in.  Homemade caramel sauce drizzled in during the last minute of churning.  Brownie chunks OR toasted almond pieces folded into the final product.


First, that homemade caramel sauce is quick to make and absolutely delicious.  The texture of the finished ice cream didn't have that Ben & Jerry's je ne sais quoi.  It was a little more reminiscent of the texture of Tillamook ice cream.  I don't know if this was due to the raw cream, or if it was due to making a slightly smaller batch (I scaled it down because I used some of the cream in the caramel sauce), so that more air was churned in.  The caramel almond flavor was one of my all-time favorites. I preferred it to the brownie version, because the brownies didn't seem to soften as much as I would like. The kids weren't put off by the brownies, though.  They devoured it.
Rating: 5 spoons




Coconut Chocolate Chip 
Sweet cream base, except that I substituted canned coconut milk for the cream.  Melted semi-sweet chocolate drizzled in during the last minute of churning.

The texture of this ice cream was entirely too icy.  Eaten the first day, the coconut flavor was refreshing in a very canned-coconut sort of way, not in a sweet-creamy-fabulous-ice-cream sort of way.  Think pina colada without the pineapple and rum...
Rating: 1.5 spoons


Coffee-Almond Chip 
Sweet Cream Base.  Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and one packet instant coffee.  During the last minute of churning, drizzle in 3 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate.  ...Except I tried to take a shortcut and melt the chocolate in the microwave.  It "seized," so I added some heavy cream to thin it enough to pour it, which created more of a marbled ice cream (tan coffee-almond and light brown chocolate-coffee-almond) with a few chocolate chips than a straight forward ice cream with chips.

We went through this quart quickly, so apparently we all liked it.  My first impression, though, was that the flavor would have been better if, instead of using instant coffee and almond extract, I had steeped whole coffee beans and toasted almond pieces in warm milk before continuing with the sweet cream base.  Notably though, I was much happier with the texture of my accidental chocolate-coffee-almond ice cream than I was with the only other chocolate ice cream I have made, Rocky Road.
Rating: 4 spoons



Peppermint JoJo Ice Cream
Sweet Cream Base.  Whisk in a couple drops each peppermint extract and vanilla extract (optional).  After churning, fold in a thoroughly-crushed candy cane (optional) and lots of broken-up Peppermint JoJos -at least 15 cookies (Trader Joe's version of Oreos).

I like this one a lot.  It's like Cookies n Cream with peppermint bits.  As such, the peppermint flavor isn't overwhelming.  For more peppermint flavor, you could certainly add a 1/2 teaspoon or so of peppermint extract to the Sweet Cream Base before churning. 
Rating: 5 spoons



Root Beer Float Ice Cream
Sweet Cream Base.  Whisk in about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract before churning.  Reserve about 3/4 cup of the base.  Churn the rest.  While the vanilla ice cream churns, add to the reserved base about 2 teaspoons root beer concentrate and 3/4 cup milk.  Whisk to combine.  When the vanilla ice cream has been sufficiently churned (about 16 minutes in my machine), transfer at least half of it to a storage container. Keep it, as much as possible, on one side of the container.  Set the container on its side in the freezer. Pour the reserved root beer ice cream base into the ice cream machine and churn about five minutes.  Transfer the root beer ice cream into the storage container with the vanilla ice cream. Use your rubber scraper or a table knife to swirl the two flavors together just a little bit. 

The first batch of this ice cream disappeared faster than any ice cream I've made.  My husband and kids loved it.  I like it too, but by now you know that I prefer fun chunky mix-ins.  I appreciate that there are two distinct flavors here:  The vanilla is super creamy and (because the added milk means a slightly lower fat content) the root beer is just a bit icy like a root beer float.
Rating: 5 spoons



Pumpkin Ice Cream
Sweet Cream Base with pumpkin puree and fall spices whisked in.  After churning, fold in pecan pieces that have been toasted with butter in a skillet and broken gingersnaps or molasses cookie pieces.(I also folded in minced crystallized ginger, but I might leave that out next time.)


If you're the kind of person who craves everything pumpkin in October, you'll like this.  Because of the water content of the pumpkin puree, it's just a bit less creamy than other ice creams, but I think the abundance of flavors and textures make up for that.  Not an ice cream I would enjoy year round, but it's a nice seasonal treat.
Rating: 3.5 spoons


Vanilla-Blueberry Swirl
Sweet cream base with vanilla extract whisked in.  Blueberry swirl added during the last minute of churning.

This is the first ice cream I made using Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream Base.  We cooked the base, because it sounded like a good idea at the time.  It might not be fair for me to rate it, because it's been a few months since we ate it.  I think though our awe at the novelty of the Ben & Jerry's background flavor might cancel out my lack of interest in an ice cream without chunky mix-ins, so I'll rate it anyway.
Rating: 2.5 spoons  


Rocky Road
Sweet cream base, cooked, because I had to melt the chocolate into the milk and cream.  Marshmallows and chopped almonds folded in after churning.

Another of our early Sweet Cream Base recipes.  Generally a fun flavor, I wasn't impressed with how the chocolate ice cream turned out.  It was a little gritty/rubbery, as if the chocolate had not incorporated fully into the cream, though it appeared to.  It needs some perfecting.
Rating: 1 spoon


S'more
Sweet Cream Base with vanilla ice cream with vanilla extract whisked in.  Mini marshmallows and mini milk-chocolate-covered graham crackers folded in after churning.

Love it! Creamy vanilla, chewy marshmallow goodness, the right amount of chocolate, plus crispness from the graham crackers. Yum!
Rating: 4.5 spoons


Black Bottom Pie
Sweet Cream Base with about 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons rum whisked in.  With cream cheese frosting added during the last minute of churning (2 oz cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and enough rum--2 tablespoons--to make it spreadable creamed in the mixer).  Brownie chunks folded in.
 
The Black Bottom Pie my family knows and loves is a graham cracker crust, a smooth chocolate custard, a heady rum chiffon and delicious whipped cream, so maybe I should change the name of this ice cream.  It wasn't as rummy as I had hoped (Think Schweddy Balls.), but it was delicious.  It was the first ice cream I made that Jason really liked.
Rating: 4.5 spoons 


Coffee Fudge Brownie
Sweet cream base with 1 1/2 packets of instant coffee whisked in.  Fudgy brownie pieces folded in after churning.

I've made this one more times than any other.  Jason and I like it a lot.
Rating: 5 spoons


Cappucino Cheesecake
My version of Volun-Tiaramisu
A variation of Sweet Cream Base, substituting cream cheese for some of the cream and increasing the ratio of milk to cream.  Whisking in 1 1/2 packets of instant coffee, a splash of vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  With cocoa-dusted cookie pieces mixed in.

I enjoyed this ice cream, but it's not close enough to Ben & Jerry's original to be called by the same name.  In a side-by-side tasting, it doesn't even compare.  I flubbed up the recipe by using cream cheese, not mascarpone and by substituting--get this--frozen Katz Tongues cookie batter that I added baking powder to, then baked in a loaf pan to make a small cake, for the ladyfingers.  I need to make this again using store-bought ladyfingers and mascarpone, and maybe adjusting the flavor agents in the base as well.
Rating: 2.5 spoons


Lemongrass Ice Cream 
Classic custard base: lemongrass steeped in milk/cream, made into a custard, then frozen. Mix-ins: caramel shards or blackberry jam and Katz Tongues cookie pieces.

I really enjoyed the freshness of the lemongrass flavor.  I prefer the caramel shards to the jam and cookie combination.  If /when I make this again, I plan to adapt it to use the Sweet Cream Base.
Rating: 3.5 spoons


Garden Fresh Mint
Custard base: loads of fresh mint (like two whole bunches-50 grams) steeped in milk and cream, made into a custard.  Melted semi-sweet chocolate drizzled in during the last minute of churning to create chocolate chips.

The herbal flavor of this ice cream makes it light and summery and the chocolate chips are similar in texture and flavor to those in Baskin Robbins' Mint Chip and Chocolate Chip Ice Creams.  I enjoyed this ice cream quite a bit, but I think the rest of the family would prefer a mint ice cream made with mint extract. 
Rating: 3.5 spoons


Toasted-Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip (or Toasted Coconut-Almond FroYo)
Toasted coconut and almonds steeped in coconut milk and sugar, then strained out.  For froyo, I mix the flavored coconut milk with plain yogurt and churn,  For ice cream, I make a custard with the flavored coconut milk and 4-5 egg yolks.  Add cream (or half-n-half) and churn, drizzling in melted semi-sweet chocolate during the last minute to form chocolate chips.  One time I folded in some homemade caramel sauce after churning.

This probably has the highest fat content of any ice cream I've made. The tartness of the yogurt or the bitterness of the chocolate melds beautifully with the super-creamy toasted coconut-almond base.  Very indulgent. 
Rating: 5 spoons


White Chocolate Nectarine Swirl
White chocolate ice cream (a custard base with 4 ounces white chocolate melted into the milk before making the custard) swirled with a nectarine sherbet.

The white chocolate ice cream is the only custard-based ice cream that Jason raved about.  He, however, didn't appreciate how well it contrasted with the tart, slightly icy nectarine sherbet.  I've been meaning to make some sort of white chocolate mocha ice cream since then, but haven't gotten around to it.
Rating: 4 spoons


Chai Tea
Custard base: milk, cream and sugar simmered with tea, cinnamon, ginger, a couple peppercorns and a whole clove.  Whisked into a custard with 5 egg yolks, more cream and a little vanilla extract.

I flubbed this one up by using my favorite Lapsang Souchong tea.  It's a smoked tea that I love to drink hot with just a little sugar and some cream, but in the ice cream the smokiness didn't meld well with the super-creamy texture or the warm-spice flavor.  If you're the type of person some likes bacon candies, you might appreciate it, but I will keep the Lapsang Souchong for drinking and, if I attempt to make Chai Tea ice cream again, I'll either use black tea and spices or I'll modify the Sweet Cream Base to include about 3/4 cup of Chai Tea concentrate in place of some of the milk and sugar.
Rating: 0 spoons


Vanilla Bean 
Classic custard base.  Vanilla bean steeped in milk, then make into a custard with egg yolks.  Once I folded in brownie chunks.

Everyone who tasted this one (as far as I can remember) thought it needed improvement.  The most common complaint was the eggi-ness.  I'd much rather make vanilla ice cream using the Sweet Cream Base and vanilla extract. It's quicker and easier with less mess and a more crowd pleasing flavor.
Rating: 1.5 spoons


Watermelon Sorbet 
Simply watermelon, the juice of one lime, and some blue agave nectar (or you could sub simple syrup), pureed, chilled and churned in the ice cream maker.

Super light and refreshing.  Everyone who has tasted this agrees it's perfect for a summer evening.  Being fat-free, it should be eaten immediately after churning for optimal texture.
Rating: 5 spoons



Related Links:

Sweet Cream Base     A recipe from Ben & Jerry's.  Definitely my favorite basic recipe for ice cream making.

Notes about Ice Cream Volume, Air and Texture

Ice Cream Butterfat Calculator - an interesting tool from Ice Cream Geek

Tips for Frozen Yogurt    A older post, but there's good information in it.  Note that, in addition to the strawberry frozen yogurt recipe found in this post and the Toasted Coconut-Almond Frozen Yogurt linked above, in the archives of Upstate Cali Kitchen Adventures you can find recipes for peach frozen yogurt and cantaloupe frozen yogurt.

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