Little Joys: Homemade Ice Cream, Homemade Sorbet, Homemade Frozen Yogurt

Food for Grownups
homemade ice cream
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I’m only about a week away from my favorite time of year.

That’s right! Some of my kids and granddarlings are coming to visit!  They’ll be with us for about ten days and I simply cannot wait. I’ve been looking forward to this for months.

Their impending arrival has had me thinking about ways to keep the little ones entertained while they’re here.  I’ve got all kinds of activities and outings planned.  However, as I was thinking about some of the summer activities I most enjoyed as a child, I realized that it was the simple pleasures that stuck with me.

I recall lying in a hammock in my grandma’s yard on a hot day, reading.  I remember sitting under the shade of a big tree and helping her shell peas.  And I remember dancing on soft grass in bare feet, drawing swirls and flowers with a sparkler on the night sky canvas.

Sweet Memories

I also remember making homemade ice cream. I would turn the crank until my arm got tired, then hand it off to someone else for a while before taking another turn. It took forever and I suppose that was part of the pleasure. We had so much time for anticipation.

When it was finally done, there was no better ice cream on the face of the earth.

Thinking about the simple joys of homemade ice cream had me pulling out my neglected ice cream maker this week and testing recipes.

Initially, I considered buying a hand crank model, but they seem to run around $300 these days. That’s a pretty high price for nostalgia, not counting the cost of salt, so I’ll be sticking with my Cuisinart ice cream maker. It does a great job. I’ll have the little ones help me with the cooking, then keep an eye on the freezer when it is churning. It really is pretty fascinating to watch!

So, let’s get to the recipes!

This week I made…

Banana Pecan Chip Ice Cream

Peppermint Patty Ice Cream

Raspberry Yogurt

Lemon Basil Sorbet

Every single one of them was a winner! I tweaked the recipes for my own taste and ease of preparation, but most were based on recipes that came with my Cusinart Ice Cream Maker.

Suffice it to say, none of these are even close to being Weight Watcher friendly but they are so, so worth the calories!  (To avoid guilt, stick with small portions, no more than a half cup, and go for a long walk afterward. Better yet, chase some grand darlings around the yard. A half-hour of tag should do the trick.)

 

BANANA PECAN CHIP ICE CREAM

Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 t. vanilla extract
¼ t. salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T water
2 T butter
3 very ripe bananas, cut into pieces
2 T dark rum
1 t. lemon juice
1/3 cup chocolate chips, chopped
½ cup toasted, chopped pecans

Instructions

Place the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker into the freezer well ahead of time, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In a medium bowl, mix cream, milk, vanilla, and salt.  Set aside.

Place brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture begins to sizzle. Add butter. When butter is melted, add bananas and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rum and cook for two more minutes.  Take banana mixture off heat. Using a slotted spoon, break up any remaining large chunks of banana by pressing against the side of the saucepan to break them up.

Stir lemon juice into banana mixture.  Stir banana mixture into cream mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.  Make ice cream according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.

During the last few minutes of churning, add the chocolate chips and pecans.  Ice cream will be soft if served immediately. If firmer texture is desired, place ice cream in freezer to harden, then remove a few minutes before serving so it will be easy to scoop.

Makes 12 servings, one half cup each.

PEPPERMINT PATTY ICE CREAM

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
¼ t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
12 bite sized chocolate peppermint patties, chopped into small pieces** (13 patties if you think the cook might need to test them during the process)

Instructions

Place milk into saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a boil. Remove pan from heat, add mint leaves, and let them steep in hot milk for 30 minutes.

Place milk/mint mixture in blender on low speed briefly, until mint leaves are chopped into very small pieces. (If you prefer a more subtle mint flavor, stain out the mint leaves.) Pour into medium sized bowl. Add sugar and salt.

Use a hand mixer on low speed to whisk to combine ingredients and dissolve sugar.  Stir in cream and vanilla. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Make ice cream according to the instructions on your ice cream maker. During the last few minutes of churning, add chopped peppermint patties.

Ice cream will be soft if served immediately. If firmer texture is desired, place ice cream in freezer to harden, then remove a few minutes before serving so it will be easy to scoop.

Makes 12 servings, one half cup each.

RASPBERRY YOGURT

Ingredients

4 cups plain low-fat yogurt, strained through a cheesecloth or yogurt strainer for 2-4 hours
1 t. vanilla extract
¼ t salt
4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 T water
½ cup sugar
1 T honey

Instructions

Be sure to strain the yogurt before you begin. If you don’t have a yogurt strainer, line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth, set strainer over a bowl so liquids can drip out, place yogurt in strainer, then cover and put in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

In the meantime, place raspberries, water, sugar, and honey into saucepan. Cook over medium heat until raspberries are completely broken up and mixture is syrupy. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Place raspberry mixture in strainer. Using flat side of a wooden spoon, press as much liquid as possible out of mixture, leaving seeds in strainer and raspberry syrup in bowl.

When syrup is cool, mix in yogurt, vanilla, and salt.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Make frozen yogurt according to the instructions on your ice cream maker. Yogurt will be soft if served immediately. If firmer texture is desired, place in freezer to harden, then remove a few minutes before serving so it will be easy to scoop.

Makes 10 servings, one half cup each.

LEMON BASIL SORBET

Ingredients

3 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 T lemon zest
1.5 cups fresh basil, packed
3 cups lemon juice

Instructions

Place water, sugar, and 1.5 T lemon zest in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat. Stir in basil leaves and salt. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.

Strain mixture through fine mesh strainer.

Make sorbet according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.  Add remaining half tablespoon of lemon zest during the final few minutes of churning. Sorbet will be soft if served immediately. If firmer texture is desired, place in freezer to harden, then remove a few minutes before serving so it will be easy to scoop.

Makes 10 servings, one half cup each.

 

 

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