Vanilla Ice Cream

I love ice cream. My favorite flavor is vanilla, and though I will eat it with chocolate chips or sprinkles or hot fudge on top, I really like it best just plain or on the side of a nice hot piece of pie or cobbler.

Several years ago I decided to switch from drinking regular milk to soy milk. I thought this would be a healthier option. I tried a few different kinds and decided I liked the taste of Silk Double Vanilla soy milk best. For two years I drank this in place of milk and then I started getting sick. I would have terrible stomach cramps so bad I would have to just lie in bed and wait until they passed, usually hours later. It got worse as time went on, and I knew it had to be something I was eating or drinking. I narrowed it down to the Silk soy milk. When I stopped drinking it, the pains stopped coming. Why? I went online to find out what was in the soy milk that was making me sick, and found other people with similar stories. The culprit was carrageenan. This is a food additive used as a thickener in many dairy products including heavy cream, buttermilk, eggnog, ice cream, chocolate milk, and powdered chocolate drink mixes. Because it’s derived from seaweed it’s considered a natural ingredient and approved by the FDA. But many people like myself eventually become sensitive to it through exposure over time. I later found out it’s also used in laboratories to induce gastrointestinal distress in lab animals so they can test remedies, so this side effect is well known.

In trying to avoid this ingredient I had to cut all the aforementioned products out of my diet. Oh no! I love buttermilk biscuits, and eggnog on the holidays, and heavy cream in sauces, and chocolate milk with donuts, and ICE CREAM! Well, I couldn’t go through life without ice cream, and even though I eventually found one or two rare brands that were free of this ingredient, they were expensive and really weren’t that great tasting. That’s when I got the idea that I could probably make my own at home. It would be less expensive, free of artificial ingredients, and like most things home made, great tasting! My husband was nice enough to buy me an ice cream making machine online, and it’s one of my most treasured appliances now.

I’ve tried quite a few different recipes for ice cream, but this one is the easiest and uses only four ingredients. How great is that?

Four ingredients
Four ingredients

For this recipe, I recommend using a metal pan, preferably stainless steel. You do not want to use non-stick for this. First up, dump your sugar in the pan.

Sugar
Sugar

Next up, add your cream.

Cream
Cream

Then, add the milk and vanilla. Crank up the heat to medium and slowly heat the milk mixture until it just starts to simmer. Do not boil it.

Steaming ice cream base
Steaming ice cream base

Next, turn off the heat and pour the hot mixture into a bowl that can be covered. I use a stainless steel bowl that I have that had a lid. Let the mixture cool on the counter to room temperature, then cover and place it in the fridge overnight to chill.

Pouring Into Bowl
Pouring Into Bowl

The next morning, prepare your machine. My machine is pictured below. Although the label on mine says it makes 2 quarts, when you churn your mixture it gets filled with air and expands, so I only make 1.5 quarts, or 6 cups of base. It expands to fill the machine’s bowl pretty well.

Ice Cream Machine
Ice Cream Machine

This is the type of machine where it has a bowl that you keep in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. It’s very simple to use and clean, and I just keep the bowl stored in the freezer all the time, so it’s always ready when I want to use it. If you plan to make a lot of ice cream, I’d suggest getting a second bowl, so you always have one ready to churn while the other is being cleaned, or for making a bigger batch at one time.

Freezer Bowl
Freezer Bowl

You want to have the bowl out of the freezer and in the machine, the lid and paddle on top, and the machine on and running when you bring your base out of the fridge. While the machine is running, carefully pour the base out of the bowl and into the machine. If you want to add anything to it like fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, etc, you can add it now. If adding fruit, I would chop it into pieces if needed and freeze it before adding it.

Pour Into Freezer Bowl
Pour Into Freezer Bowl

The hardest part of this whole recipe is the waiting. Waiting for the mixture to heat up to a simmer, waiting for it to chill, waiting for it to churn, then waiting for it to freeze so you can eat it! (Ok, sometimes I cheat a little and eat some soft right after it’s churned.)

Set your timer for 30 minutes and let the machine work its magic. When you come back you’ll see that the base has thickened and expanded into a loose soft-serve consistency.

Churn Done
Churn Done

Doesn’t that look yummy?

Churn Paddle
Churn Paddle

At this point you can technically eat it, but it’s very soft and will melt quickly. Scoop it out of the freezer bowl into your container of choice, put a lid on it, and put it in the freezer to freeze completely, at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Soft Ice Cream
Soft Ice Cream

That’s all there is to it. Once it’s hardened a bit just scoop and enjoy like any normal ice cream. It’s all natural, with no preservatives or chemicals.

Home made ice cream
Home made ice cream

The four ingredients to this recipe are milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. There are many combinations you can use. I will post the original recipe below. The milk part is half-n-half in the recipe, but you can also use whole milk or any kind of milk. The higher the fat content of what you use, the better it will taste, but I’ve made this with 1% milk when I was out of everything. The ice cream tasted more like ice milk, but it was still tasty. I normally use whole milk, because I can use the remainder for other things like cereal, coffee, or just drinking.

The cream part of the recipe is heavy whipping cream. I can’t use that because of my sensitivity to the carrageenan in it, so I use half-n-half here or light cream, which isn’t available in some stores.

For the vanilla part of the recipe I use vanilla extract, but you could also use a vanilla bean, which would give your ice cream that signature look of little vanilla bean bits in it.

The original recipe has also been modified for the size of my machine. The original makes one quart, and if I double it for my 2-quart machine it overflows, so I make 1.5 quarts.

Vanilla Ice Cream

3 cups of half-n-half
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a metal pot and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat just until a bare simmer is reached, then remove from the heat and pour into a metal bowl. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover and place in the refrigerator overnight to chill. The next morning, prepare your ice cream maker, turn it on, and then pour in the chilled ice cream base. Let churn for 30 minutes. Place the finished ice cream into containers and freeze for at least an hour before serving. Makes 6 cups, or 1.5 quarts.