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Homemade ice cream

ice cream makerAround the same time that I started to crawl, my palate’s natural leanings toward the salty end of the spectrum became apparent. When rummaging through the pantry after school, I reached for the bag of chips over the box a cookies nine time out of ten.

But there were some sweet treats that I simply couldn’t resist, none more so than homemade ice cream. I’ll never forget sitting on my Grandfather’s back porch in Alabama, hovering over his old ice cream maker, and filling the warped wood bucket with ice and salt while the deafeningly loud motor cranked away. Invariably, it was vanilla ice cream in there – or, at least the Southern condensed-milk heavy rendition of vanilla – and it always came out soft and slightly soupy. And it was always delicious.

My penchant for salty-over-sweet persisted into adulthood, and even now is a well-established dynamic in my marriage. I cook dinner; my wife handles dessert. She has a sweet tooth that could keep Willy Wonka in business, and I’m not nearly organized or precise enough in the kitchen to enjoy baking (I like going off recipe far too much). This dynamic works, and we both like it that way. But the ice cream is all me.

Many people don’t mess with making their own ice cream at home because it seems daunting, but it is one of the simplest things to do, though depending on your hardware it may be a little labor intensive, with all of the ice and salt replenishing and whatnot. My rig is of the “frozen bowl” variety, which I leave in the freezer at all times so that I can whip up a batch on a whim if I feel so inclined.

The most important thing that you can do is find a solid ice cream base recipe that you like, and then the sky is the limit from there. I prefer a custard-style base, which calls for egg in addition to the cream/milk and sugar and requires a stint on the stovetop. Whatever your preference, once you have your base you can mix things up however you like. Get a little weird with it. I’m polishing off the last bowl of a batch of butter-roasted banana and Blanton’s bourbon ice cream as I’m typing this.

Though I enjoy the range of flavors that I can concoct with my ice cream maker, I’ll never stop comparing them to the soupy sweet vanilla that I grew up on.

With a few more months of heat in front of us, I hope that some of you are still giving your ice cream makers a good workout. I’m making a batch for a group of friends next weekend…any suggestions?!

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

32 comments Add your comment

Marietta Mary

August 19th, 2011
6:24 am

My parents took the ice cream churn with them to Frankfurt, Germany, in the mid-Sixties; if you asked them why, they couldn’t tell you. The summer I was away at college they invited the district’s translator and his family to spend the Fourth of July with them. Our apartment didn’t have a patio or space for a barbecue, but it did have an ample kitchen for making Mom’s vanilla ice cream. Herr Schultz Sr. (a very spry nearly-90-year-old) had so much fun churning it till it was time to “ripen” it prior to eating. I hear he earned the dasher!


August 19th, 2011
8:21 am

Jon, like you, I am a salty food kinda of girl. But, I have a fondness for frozen yogurt, and love playing with the flavors. I have a frozen bowl variety that attaches to my kitchenaid mixer, and was recent given a second hand cuisinart frozen bowl, but it’s missing some pieces, so I need to order them. My favorite combo is plain greek yogurt with a little honey, lavender and mint. :)

Sinbad's Feast

August 19th, 2011
9:10 am

We started making homemade ice creams for our customers due to high demand for them, we have quite few flavors choices, but we found out one of the best selling one is our spicy apricot mint, it’s just simple vanilla ice cream that me make from scratch and add cayenne pepper, apricot anf fresh mint, maybe you can try this for your friends next week and enjoy!!!


August 19th, 2011
9:10 am

I have nearly the same sense memory you have about back-porch ice cream from my childhood. :) My Mom experimented with fruit, adding strawberry and (her favorite) peaches to the mix.

I don’t make ice cream nearly as often as I should – I think I’ll start now and probably experiment with my own variety. Any suggestions?

Nicen Creamy

August 19th, 2011
9:11 am

Yum, yum. Like an ‘ol mule that gets into the the sweet feed, I’ll keep eating til i founder myself.


August 19th, 2011
9:40 am

My wife and I put a frozen bowl Cuisinart ice cream maker on our wedding registry and ended up receiving it as a gift. We let it sit in the cabinet for 2 years before we finally remembered we had the dang thing; so we pulled it out this summer and fired it up. Man that thing is awesome. Not only can it make ice cream, but it makes slushes and daquiris better than any blender. That thing is worth its weight in sugar! Man that salt and ice method is for the birds! I didn’t grow up on that soupy mess, but my wife did. She loves it, but admits the Cuisinart yields a much better product.

Hankie Aron

August 19th, 2011
9:42 am

No Breyers, Mayfield, Blue Bell, or any other brand compares to homemade ice cream. Our friends beg us to make it all the time at gatherings because we spoiled them just once with soft and creamy family recipe vanilla.

Hankie Aron

August 19th, 2011
9:44 am

Interesting JoeV. We have always did the salt and ice thing and yes it’s a tedious thing with an electric churner. I’ll have to take a look at that cuisineart machine you speak of

My Two Cents

August 19th, 2011
9:44 am

I also enjoyed the sweetened condensed vanilla ice cream my father used to make. It was so rich and creamy and sure did satisfy a sweet tooth. My relatives made a version made with evaporated mik. It was never as good as my Dad’s. I have a frozen bowl and have been thinking about making some in the past couple of weeks. Your article has motivated me to do so. I am anxious for some of your readers to suggest some of their favorites and I will put my frozen bowl in the freezer so I will be ready!


August 19th, 2011
9:46 am

OK, so where is the recipe?


August 19th, 2011
10:02 am

@Hankie Aron

I am telling you, its all its cracked up to be. You “set it and forget it.” Come back 20-25 mintues later and you are done!

Latin American Association

August 19th, 2011
10:08 am

As a passionate food blogger in the Atlanta area, ¡Sazón!: A Latin Culinary Experience, would be a great topic for your next post that you won’t want to miss! On September 9th, 2011, the Latin American Associations is hosting ¡Sazón! A Latin Culinary Experience. This event will be held at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and will include a five-course meal complete with a tequila mixology lesson with Don Julio’s Luxury Tequila Drop! The meal will be prepared by internationally renowned chefs such as Chef LaLa, who has been featured on NBC’s TODAY! Show as well as Pastry Chef Celso Rodríguez whose cakes and pastries have been showcased in magazines such as The Knot Magazine and Brides Atlanta Magazine. Your online blog captures the essence of a true dining experience and we know that ¡Sazón! will add that extra spice!

When: Friday September 9th, 2011 from 6:30-10:00 PM

Where: Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts
1927 Lakeside Parkway
Tucker, GA 30084

Price: $250 per couple, $150 per individual

To register:

We look forward to your participation in this exciting event!


August 19th, 2011
10:19 am

I finally broke out the ice cream maker that my wife and I received as a wedding gift (in 2002). I’ve made a couple batches of ice cream, and I’ve realized that it is not very difficult to make. It just takes some patience to let everything cool and properly set.

The best ice cream recipe that I have found, to date, is a salted caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels. Here is the link:

If your experience is like mine with this ice cream, it won’t last for more than a couple days.


August 19th, 2011
10:29 am

I’m with John…where is that banana/bourbon ice cream recipe??????


August 19th, 2011
10:47 am

For my family it was a Thanksgiving tradition. We’d all troop out to the garage where my uncle would be in charge of supervising the ice and rock salt combination. He also loved to jam the stick down into the mess to “pack it down” but really to send a shock up your arm when the hand crank stopped like a german car with new brakes on the autobahn.

I don’t know how it started but the superstition is that everyone, all the in-laws and outlaws as we say, has to take a symbolic turn otherwise the ice cream won’t taste good. Especially with the homemade chocolate sauce made with a great great aunt’s ancient recipe. There’s also the unofficial ritual of invoking the half-gallon of store-bought ice cream in the freezer around the churn as some sort of fail-safe incantation.

If anyone had suggestion something else than vanilla though, I think 95% of the family would revolt. They love the old-fashioned vanilla flavor, complete with ice cream headache. Another Thanksgiving tradition.

Jon Watson

August 19th, 2011
10:52 am

@Hankie Aaron/JoeV- the picture is of the cuisinart bowl ice cream maker, and I concur. It’s awesome.

@Just my 2 Cents – The recipe wasn’t an original of mine, so I didn’t want to transpose it without permission, but here is the link. I made some tweaks, but this is what itwas based on:


August 19th, 2011
10:57 am

Thanks!!! I’m about to score major points with my hubby!! :o )


August 19th, 2011
11:08 am

Homemade ice cream is my new cooking obsession. Bought a Cuisinart frozen bowl ice cream maker with a gift card this summer on a whim. What a beautiful thing! Mix a few ingredients, pour in bowl, hit button, have ice cream in 20 minutes.

Winning recipe so far has been a simple one with condensed milk that makes excellent chocolate, or mocha with adding a bit of strong coffee. I tried more expensive cocoa powders like Valrhona and Ghiradelli, but oddly, everyone agrees the version using Hershey’s is best.

Also bought the cookbook “The Perfect Scoop” based on its good Amazon ranking. Love it, though mostly for inspiration. Finding part of the fun is that there is so much latitude for creativity – not much recipe precision required.


August 19th, 2011
12:23 pm

I just made and blogged about Roasted Cherry Goat Cheese Ice Cream and am making Sweet Corn and Blackberry ice cream today. Salty caramel will be next. All are in an excellent ice cream cookbook – Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Best part: recipes don’t use eggs, so there’s no tempering and straining necessary.


August 19th, 2011
1:03 pm

I love my Cuisinart Ice Cream Machine. I have a recipe for Chocolate Sorbet (fat free!) that rivals any Fudgsicle I ever had as a kid!

Don't Leave Us Hanging!!

August 19th, 2011
2:46 pm

You people who say, “I’ve got the absolute best recipe for…” are killing me!! Come on – share it! We promise to give you credit and never serve it to anyone you know!


August 19th, 2011
4:26 pm

One of the best restaurant desserts I’ve ever had involved a house-made corn ice cream. It was served with warm ginger empañadas and a white chocolate-jalapeño sauce and candied jalapeño slices. I still dream about that dessert, the corn ice cream was heavenly.


August 19th, 2011
5:33 pm

I can’t help adding my blog post to the mix – my Lemon-Basil Chocolate Chunk ice cream won “Most Innovative Flavor” at Slow Food Atlanta’s annual ice cream social in June.

I have also made Mexican chocolate, vanilla, chocolate, mint, peach and strawberry ice creams recently. I look forward to checking out some of the recipes supplied in this post/comments.

chip shoulder

August 19th, 2011
11:04 pm

David Lebovitz has some innovative and really tasty ice cream and frozen yogurt recipes for frozen bowl makers, some of which are on his website – My favorite recipe of his is a semi-savory Greek yogurt concoction – sort of a salted caramel/white chocolate flavor. Dave dubbed it the Salty Salute. the mouthfeel is luscious and the flavor is funky but compelling. Nothing better than slowly savoring a mouthful. Guarantee if you serve up the Salty Salute to your dinner guests, they’ll lick their lips and beg for more.


August 21st, 2011
12:09 pm

Homemade ice-cream has been a passion for my wife and I for quite some time. Over the years, we bought four different ice-cream makers, from the frozen bowl types to the ice-and-salt varieties. I recently bought one of those so-called “old fashioned” ice-cream makers with both the electric motor and the hand crank; the thing was a failure. I was poorly built, and the mixture stopped half-way without freezing up. I stopped using it. The ice and salt type was good if I need to eat ice cream immediately after making it; it was no good once it hit the freezer – all icy. My best ice cream maker, however, is a relatively pricey Wolfgang Puck ‘bistro’ that makes a smaller quantity, but yields the best finished product; it comes the closest to high quality, commercial, premium ice cream – way above the level of your backyard homemade ice cream. It will set you back close to $300 dollars, but worth every penny. And since I make a rare kind of ice-cream – vegan – this maker is absolutely fantastic. My favorite flavors include vanilla, of course, butter pecan, pecan-cranberry, key-lime mixed berry swirl, grapenut, and carrob. I sell occasionally, and entertain the prospect of opening my own vegan ice cream shop someday.


August 21st, 2011
12:17 pm

Leave it to the Latin American Association to hijack the thread. This discussion is about ICE CREAM !!


August 21st, 2011
12:21 pm

The most awesome tools I own:

Leaf blower
Cuisenart ice cream maker
Kitchenaid stand mixer.

The last two are new to my life, but!!! Words fail me…..

Orange Crush Ice cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 8oz. Can pineapple crushed
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 cans of orange crush. I think canned beverages are 12 oz. Artificially sweetened soda does NOT freeze, don’t use. Must be sugary kind. This is a wicked treat, not healthy!

Dump it all in, turn on the Cuisinart till frozen. It is soft serve, and gets too hard for my liking to freeze the rest. But great to keep these ingredients on hand for quick snack.

Makes great frozen drinks too. The recipe book that comes with this style, I got the one pictured, has wonderful fruit sherbet and gelato recipes. You will love this toy!


August 21st, 2011
12:36 pm

See what some folks mean, “I’ve got the best recipe” without posting it is kind of cruel. The awesome thing about the Cuisinart is you just can’t go wrong. It comes with a cookbook of good base vanilla and you can use your best trendy ingredients to learn to make it to your taste.

Essential to learn thing that may cause problem with freezing, like toss all your frozen beverage base in and freeze for alcoholic drinks and only add the alcohol the last few minutes and blend briefly because alcohol inhibits the freeze.

Google thousands of good ice cream recipes.

I briefly face booked the perfect scoop but he blogs more prostitutes and uh, lifestyles than food. Got rid of him and just try things out for myself. Green tea ice cream is the favorite, but the powdered green tea is Expensive.

Worth saving up for! Making the custard kind is interesting and mastering this without curdling the eggs is probably your best cooking skill. Need good strainer. This tool is for the obsessive foodies and the people who want food with little effort too.

carla roqs

August 22nd, 2011
8:57 am

i grew up with the churn and ice, homemade ice cream maker as well. that condensed milk taste just always threw me off. but, if i can make my own pralines and cream on one of the machines you guys have used, hmmmmm. @ huh? i kinda felt wronged by the 15 mins as well. because the post was allowed to remain, that should handle what they want. it is not about race or anything. there is just a way to go about doing everything. and seems to me–gene would be the one to cover their event. if they do not read the food blogs enough to know that… oh well.


August 22nd, 2011
10:01 am

My wife and I had ice cream at a mom and pop’s in San Francisco. They specialized in hand-made eclectic flavors. I had the Mint Mango and my wife had the Peach Tea. Sounds strange I know. But most of their flavors were made of strange pairings. That’s what made them so good. Everything was different and new. I’ve often tried to recreate what we had but to no avail. I think a lot had to do with how they made it. Instead of a machine they used the cold stone method and folded it by hand. Has anyone tried using the same recipes but with different methods of freezing? If so, was there a difference in the ice creams?


August 22nd, 2011
11:46 am

Last summer my friend was upgrading to a new ice cream maker and kindly passed along her older Krups model to me. She also gave me a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Dessert cookbook. I was hesitant at first but it’s so easy and my boys love picking out flavors. Lately we’ve used the French Vanilla base and added in fun treats like M&Ms and Reece’s Cups. I also made the Cherry Garcia and the Fresh Georgia Peach (of course!) from the cookbook and those have been tasty. Making homemade ice cream is fun and a great activity to do with the family, give it a try!


August 25th, 2011
12:31 pm

I grew up on good homemade vanilla ice cream. We had it at most major family gatherings. I was surprised to find that Chick-fil-A ice dream tastes very much like the recipe we used – using Junket mix. I happened upon a cooked custard base recipe in a magazine that I really liked, but lost it. I’ve been craving homemade ice cream a lot these past weeks and I think this is my inspiration to look for a new ice cream freezer. Looks like I’ll need to check out the Cuininart model!