We didn’t eat ice cream for nearly two years… not out of choice, but because suddenly there were soy-derived additives in all the commercial ice creams. We don’t eat a lot of ice cream in our family, but this was a disappointing development. Birthdays especially just didn’t seem the same.
Then we saw an ice cream machine on sale during the hottest part of last summer. We were skeptical at first that it would make ice cream as easily as the description said, but by that time we were really wanting ice cream! Actually, the process is amazingly easy, and it is so quick… we can make a batch of natural, delicious, soy-free ice cream from start to finish in under thirty minutes. We’ve made peach, coffee, strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, as well as blueberry, strawberry, and peach frozen yogurt. Our favorite ice creams so far have been the strawberry and the coffee.
Here’s how it works. At least a day before we want to make ice cream, the freezer bucket… the frosty metal bucket you see in the first picture… needs to be frozen hard. This freezer bucket is basically a small container sealed inside a larger container with some sort of freezable liquid trapped in between. This liquid freezes hard, and the bucket takes the place of the crushed ice and salt used by the old-fashioned ice cream machines. We like to be able to make ice cream at a moment’s notice, so we leave the freezer bucket in the freezer all the time and it’s always frozen and ready to go.
The basic ice cream recipe we use comes from the instruction book, but any recipe for ice cream can be used.
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of milk
3/4 cups of sugar (I always use less)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Stir all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Vanilla ice cream has no additional ingredients, but if we’re making strawberry or peach ice cream, we puree a small amount of the fruit and stir that into the mixing bowl as well. If we’re making coffee ice cream, we stir in a scant tablespoon of instant coffee granules, and if we’re making chocolate ice cream, we stir in some wonderful soy-free baking cocoa.
Now remove the freezer bucket from the freezer, set it in position on top of the ice cream maker. Put the stirring paddle in position and turn the ice cream maker on. The freezer bucket will start rotating… pour all the ice cream mixture into the freezer bucket and snap on the plastic dome. You’ll know the dome is in the right position because it will click… the freezer bucket will continue to rotate but the stirring paddle will be locked in position, stirring the ice cream as the bucket turns around.
It takes about fifteen to twenty-five minutes of stirring time before the ice cream is “done.” The top of the ice cream maker is open so you can monitor the progress (or steal a taste)… you’ll know it is ready because the motor sound will change and will start to sound labored, like it’s turning the bucket with an effort. The ice cream will also become quite thick (as you can see in the photograph). Immediately spoon the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and put the container in the freezer for a couple of hours for it to harden further. Take this opportunity to clean out the freezer bucket, dry it completely, and put it back in the freezer so it will be ready for the next time.
My entire family agrees that this homemade ice cream is the smoothest, creamiest, best-tasting ice cream we have ever eaten… and best of all, a batch of delicious ice cream is now only about a half hour away!