We haven’t really hit the warmest months of the year yet, but when the grills start getting busy, it seems that ice cream isn’t far behind. (For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using “ice cream” to refer to a variety of frozen desserts, including sorbets and frozen yogurt.)
Frozen treats have always been a welcome addition to outdoor dining. Kids and adults alike always seem to smile while eating ice cream. Did you know that Americans are the world’s largest consumer of ice cream, at almost 48 pints per person annually? That’s a lot of smiles.
There are different types of ice cream, the main ones being custard (also called French-style) and Philadelphia-style ice cream. Custard-based ice cream contains eggs, which are typically cooked along with milk and sugar to create a custard base. With the eggs acting as an emulsifier, this kind of ice cream usually yields smoother, richer results. Want to try your hand at making it? Here are a few that you might want to sample.
Left column, top to bottom: Kit’s Fresh Berry Ice Cream from callimakesdo and Brown Sugar Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Peppermint Bark from bonniethebaker. Middle column, top to bottom: Cuban Coffee Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Dulce de Leche from bunkycooks, Meyer Lemon Blackberry Ice Cream from verysmallanna, and Honey Chamomile Frozen Custard from spanishfoodie. Right column, top to bottom: Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream from Tracy (sugarcrafter) and Bailey’s Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings from bunkycooks.
On the other hand, Philadelphia-style ice cream contains no eggs. Many folks prefer this for homemade because it’s easier and doesn’t involve cooking custard. Although some will argue that the exclusion of eggs compromises the richness and smoothness of the resulting ice cream, that doesn’t mean you can’t make ridiculously good egg-free ice cream at home.
Left column, top to bottom: Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from ThreeManyCooks and Mocha Frappuccino Ice Cream from taracooks. Middle column, top to bottom: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream from joythebaker, Lavender Vanilla Ice Cream from Kelsey Barnard, and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from daxphillips. Right column, top to bottom: Simple Thai Tea Ice Cream from ivoryhut, Pumpkin Ice Cream from BluebonnetGal, and Mascarpone Ice Cream with Caramelized Peaches, Cinnamon and Honey from verysmallanna.
Can’t handle the cream? Don’t despair; we’ve got some dairy-free (and even gluten-free) recipes that are so good, you won’t even miss the creamy … cream. With substitutes like coconut milk, almond milk, or even white beans, you can always find a way to get yourself some ice cream.
Clockwise from top left: Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream (Gluten- and Dairy-Free) from cookincanuck, Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream from myrecessionkitchen (dairy free, egg free, sugar free), Strawberry White Bean Ice Cream from conscioustar, Healthy, Impossibly Easy Banana Ice Cream from sweettooth, and Chocolate Malt Ice Cream from myrecessionkitchen.
As a side note, for all the different discussions about butterfat content, eggs, and cream when it comes to ice cream, the real major ingredient in ice cream is air—up to 60 percent of it. Gelatos, on the other hand, have less air in them, which is why they are denser and more intense in flavor. Here’s another interesting bit: when it comes to flavors, vanilla far outsells chocolate. By a mile. Then again, it’s not as surprising when you consider that vanilla is usually the flavor of choice to top brownies, sundaes, and pies.
Sorbets, on the other hand, contain no cream or milk. They’re usually fruit-based, and when whipped similarly to ice cream, they can have a smooth consistency as well. Sorbets are refreshing and light, and can sometimes be served even before the meal is served.
Left column, top to bottom: Vietnamese Coconut Sorbet from nancyvnjourney and Ginger Mint Raspberry Sorbet from jenmenke. Middle column, top to bottom: ButterYum’s Strawberry Sorbet from ButterYum, Sugar-Free Mango and Valencia Orange Sorbet from ABusyNest, and Creme Fraiche Sorbet from discojing. Right column, top to bottom: Cucumber Sorbet from thecatskillkiwi and Gin and Tonic Sorbet from ivoryhut.
And finally, bursting into the scene fairly recently, we have frozen yogurt. Ever wonder how yogurt can look and feel so much like ice cream? It’s that major ingredient again: air. Frozen yogurt is churned and enough air is incorporated into it to make it light and smooth, just like ice cream.
Clockwise from top left: Plain, Tart Frozen Yogurt from sweettooth, Blueberry Frozen Yogurt from Rebecca, Tart Mango Fro Yo from sweettooth, Sweet Corn Frozen Yogurt from Amy (Minimally Invasive), Brown Sugar and Peach Frozen Yogurt from tallmisto, and Blueberry-Berry Frozen Yogurt from thatswhatshesaid.
And that’s our frozen treat roundup for this week, just in time for the warm weather! While ice cream makers certainly make the job easier, you don’t absolutely need one in order to make ice cream. It’s true! David Lebovitz said so. In his How to Make Ice Cream Without A Machine post, he says that you can simply freeze the mixture in a shallow dish or baking pan and stick that in the freezer. Take it out every half hour or so, whip it up for a minute or two, then put it back in the freezer. The whipping helps incorporate air into the ice cream, break up ice crystals, and gives you a smoother result. Once it’s frozen (it will take about 2 to 3 hours), you can transfer it to an ice cream container and leave it in the freezer to completely set.
So there’s no reason you can’t make ice cream at home! Unless you’re one of the only 2 percent of households in the U.S. that don’t buy ice cream.
Do you like ice cream? What’s your favorite? Have you ever tried making it a home? I’ll start us off with my answers: Yep. All. Oh yeah.