(CNN) – When it’s hot and sticky in summer, take it as a sign that the universe is giving you an excuse to eat more ice cream. You can get instant gratification by getting a cone from your local ladle store, but why not take the time to make your favorite flavor at home?
This alchemy can be accomplished by any home cook, regardless of skill level. All you need are a few basic ingredients and a little imagination. Here’s how to turn your kitchen into a full-scale ice cream lab.
You don’t need expensive equipment
First things first: You’ll need an ice cream maker to make the frozen blends. But you don’t need to dip into your savings to get savings that do the job well. “It’s perfectly fine to start with a base model — anyone will do,” Coscona said.
The affordable models use a container that needs to be pre-frozen before use, which takes up space in the freezer and requires advance planning. However, if this extra time and forethought makes sense from a cost perspective, these models are reliable and long-lasting. Compressor models are more expensive (and heavier) but require no pre-freezing.
(If you’re wondering what this food writer uses to make homemade ice cream, after 15 years of developing and testing recipes using the basic freezer bowl model, she switched to the compressor in 2020).
For a challenge, you can make ice cream without electricity. Although they don’t use it for the big batches sold at The Social, when her family makes ice cream for fun, “we prefer doing the old-fashioned way using a manual ice cream maker with ice and rock salt,” Coscona said. If you’re looking for something to keep the kids occupied at a beach or lake house, it might be fun to stock one of these handmade models there.
You don’t need to use eggs
Many ice cream recipes use an egg custard base to give the finished ice cream its thick, smooth texture. “Eggs are an emulsifier,” Coscona explained, containing proteins and fats that help maintain the texture of the ice cream as it froths and air bubbles are whisked into the base of the cream.
Stir the ice cream base by hand in an ice bowl.
junce11 / Adobe Stock
Or try The Social’s way of giving their ice cream bases, all egg-free, thicker and more body. “We mash the mixtures we use, like brownies or sticky butter cake,” Coscona explained, into the base of the ice cream. Mixing ingredients like cake and biscuits into the base gives it “a thicker, creamier, more resonant flavour,” she said.
No churning and dairy-free ice cream? Not a problem!
Unbleached ice cream may seem like a recent trend, especially if you spend enough time on Pinterest, but the idea has been around for more than a century. For example, a traditional Italian dessert semifreddo is made by mixing whipped cream with eggs and freezing the mixture to a mousse-like consistency.
Homemade lemon ice cream, served with a slice of lemon and lime as an appetizer.
Oksana Bratanova / Adobe Stock
from where we start?
Whatever you decide to change, “it’s never going to be bad,” Coskona said. The homemade ice cream experience, she added, “is more about the combination of flavors that will speak to you and resonate with the childlike feel you have.”