Easy ice cream
There are a lot of recipes for ice cream out there, but a lot of them involve making large amounts of custard creme and therefore large batches of ice cream. But sometimes you just want to make a small amount at a time, especially with a small ice cream maker. And portion control is important, too!
So, here’s a simple way to make a small amount of what’s essentially ice cream, without a lot of fuss or process:
- Combine 120 grams of half and half with 30 grams of agave nectar or corn syrup or other liquid sweetener (Torani flavor syrups might work well for this too)
- Add a pinch of salt
- Add a few drops of whatever flavor extract you want (4-5 drops of vanilla, peppermint, or orange extract) and any other flavorings you’re interested in
- Stir thoroughly (I use a milk frother or a tiny whisk)
- Churn until smooth
At this point you could also add small chocolate chips or fresh fruit or whatever other mix-ins you want.
Most ice cream base is based on a mixture of heavy cream and milk, and ratios vary. Half-and-half splits it right down the middle. You might also try adding some dry skim milk powder to boost the protein content.
But please use actual half-and-half and not “creamer.” They’re not the same thing! Nor is “fat-free half-and-half.” Ice cream isn’t health food.
Why no eggs?
Well, not all ice creams are egg-based frozen custards; that’s just French style custard creams (which are, admittedly, the most popular kind). If you do want to make a custard cream you can make it in advance but you’ll probably want to make more at a time, and this is all about convenience. It’ll have a better texture and possibly flavor, though.
What about crystal size?
The salt and sugar both slow down the freezing process somewhat, which should help the crystals to remain smaller. A longer churn will also help. If the crystals are still too big, try adding a little more salt or sugar, or experiment with a different sweetener, or add a tiny bit of alcohol (but not too much, that will prevent it from setting entirely).
You could also try churning it longer, to break the crystals up more.
What if I want my ice cream to be harder?
After churning, leave it in the freezer for a couple hours.
Got a vegan version?
Try using coconut creme instead of half-and-half. I do not recommend soy or almond milk. I haven’t tried oat milk but it’s probably not great either.
Could I use sugar substitute instead?
Sugar substitute will not lower the freezing point of the cream and will likely result in much larger crystals. You might be able to get a more ice-cream-like consistency using tapioca starch or gelatin or the like. If you have dietary requirements around sugar intake then look to see what the commercial low-sugar ice creams use.
What if I’m lactose-intolerant?
Probably not a great idea to eat a full bowl of this, speaking from personal experience.
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