This instructional is for making ice cream with a machine. Now it is NOT a bunch of recipes. You can get those by the ton anywhere. What I haven't found is a simple guide line on making your own mixes.
My questions were many and the answers few, now I want to make it simple for all of you, so you won't spend endless hours trying to find exactly what you want.
It is soooo neat to sit down and have a fine bowl of ice cream that you made yourself! And it is fun to have friends ask where you bought that flavor. More than that, you can have friends or family make their own concoctions and compare flavors!
The bottom line is, you don't have to search for a recipe. Just make what you like, and have fun doing it!
Step 1: Basics for Ingredients - What Do I Use?
Minimum basic... something liquid.
Milk: whole, low fat, skim, extra rich, canned and canned sweetened.
Silk: almond, original, vanilla etc
Rice milk, almond milk, other milk alterntives
Eggnog: store bought or home made
Cream: half & half, whipping, heavy etc.
Coconut milk or cream
Yogurt, kiefer and the like
Water: flavored or plain
coffee, tea, juice, horchata, orange bang, Tang ... well you get the idea!
If you like it and would drink or eat it you can mix it
There are as many ratios of liquid ingredients as there are recipes. It doesn't matter if you use 1/2 cup of heavy cream to 1 cup milk or 1 ½ cups of cream, or 8 oz yogurt to 1/2 cup of silk or ½ cup yogurt to 1 cup silk. etc. It is the flavor you are looking for. Creamier is good, but it tastes fine if you just use skim milk and good flavorings. Even canned diet drinks can be turned into an afternoon delight or a cool lunch. If you don't have an ingredient in a recipe, just do without or work around it. THE TASTE IS WHAT COUNTS not the recipe!
Flavors of any kind or source:
Extracts, canned, frozen or fresh fruit, lemon juice, pudding or jello mix, spices (fresh or dried), (Add a ½t to start and blend and taste), koolaid powder, Tang, flavors added by the above mentioned liquids, etc. (coffee and tea can be added as instant powders or made very strong and added as part of the liquid) Make notes for next time!
Sweetener to taste.
Sugars, (any kind), honey, sorghum, syrup, molasses, etc.
Solid add ins:
Nuts, crushed candy, cookies, chocolate candies or bits, candied or jarred cherries, dried, fresh chopped, canned chopped or candied fruit, granola, raisins, coconut, kelp flakes, croutons, colored sprinkles, a crumbled piece of cake, it doesn't matter what... you just add them the last minute when it is mostly thick already. Place the extras in the refrigerator with the mix to chill before making or you will end up half melting your ice cream at the end!
Step 2: Get Started!
Now, want to get your feet wet? The first and most simple ice cream is milk, sugar and 1/2 t vanilla or almond or....?
Also, around Christmas, my favorite is to just pour cold eggnog in the bowl and turn it on! (you might want to add a little sugar.)
Do you make smoothies? Breakfast eggnog? Health drinks? Power drinks? Make them into ice cream!
Get out your blender, put any fruit in first, that will take up a lot of volume.
If you want eggs in there, add them before the liquid. You do not want stringy egg whites in your mix. (yuck!)
Now is a good time to add any fresh or dried spices... mint leaves, ginger, clove powder, allspice, cinnamon, rum, wine or other spirits,etc. This will start the breakdown of the flavors into the mix. Remember, it will not be Cooked, but Frozen!
Next add any extract and sweetener you are using. ( small batches, 1/2t extract to start and 1- 2T of sugar. Large batches, 1 - 2t extract and 1/2 - 1 1/2 cups sugar.)
Add liquid, up to the volume of ice cream you are making (for my little one it is 12 oz for larger ones it may be 48 oz or more.
Taste the mix.
Do you like it? Does it need more of something? Add and taste until you do. If you don't like it now, you won't like it frozen! One difference, spices will add to the flavor as they sit, are you making it a day ahead? Or in the morning for that night? So consider this when tasting.... for instance, if it is almost minty enough for example, it will probably be just right after it sits and chills. The sweetness gets slightly less after it freezes so be aware of that too.
Okay, now put your mix in the coldest part of you refrigerator and let chill for a couple of hours, or longer. Planning on it for desert for tonight or tomorrow? No problem. (for safety reasons, I would mix and add eggs separately at the last minute if it is going to sit for a day.) Did you notice I did not mention cooking? You can use cooked recipes too, but for me, I just don't want to go to the extra trouble.
Time to make it!
Get your machine plugged in and ready, then get your solids and mix out of the refrigerator, and place solids in an open bowel for quick adding. Get your frozen mixer bowl out of the freezer, pour in your mix and start it immediately!
What will it look like when it is ready? How will I know if it is done?
You can keep taking the motor off and checking, (like I did the first time) or you can wait until the ice cream starts being pushed to the rim, and the ice cream should be leaving a deep solid looking rift behind the blades as they go around before you check it the first time.
Add your solids now, and give it another minute. Be quick when checking or adding solids. It doesn't take more than a few seconds with the motor off for the mix to freeze solidly to the bottom!
Note: Each machine will give you an estimate of the time it takes to make it. So, if you can't sit and watch it, set a timer for about 2 minutes before estimated time.
Step 3: Think Outside the Box
The ice cream will be very soft serve, you can serve it right away, or you can put it in a plastic container and freeze it for 1/2 to 1 hour before serving. Too long and it will turn into a solid block, so be careful.
Experiment! Have fun!
Make a pumpkin pie mix but chill it and put it in your ice cream maker instead of a pie crust! Make a custard pie mix and turn it into a great custard ice cream! Make pudding and add nuts or fruit and go at it!
Use creamier liquids if possible and add your favorite cookie spices... gingerbread ice cream? Almond poppy-seed?
Sorbets are essentially made with no milk like products, and a little lemon juice ( 1/2 -1t) is added with fresh fruit. Apparently you don't need to add the lemon juice if you use canned or frozen..? (At least I haven't seen a recipe that requires it yet.)
How about a Pina Colada or Margarita, or pink squirrel sorbet?
Use your favorite juice and add crushed fresh fruit at the last minute.
Puree some cooked broccoli or carrots, or canned tomatoes and add some spices, serve with grated cheese or other topping with your meal.
Think outside the box once in a while! Most of the ingredients are cheap and the time is short enough for experimenting. What do you have to loose?
Try some things and post here with your successes and your failures (so we won't do the same!). Share your ideas!
I would love to hear from you!