All ice cream recipes start with a base and once you learn how to make basic ice cream, you can experiment with different flavors and gourmet recipes. The most basic ingredients for ice cream include whole milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt. In general, you need about a quarter cup of sugar and two egg yolks for every cup of dairy. You also need an ice cream maker and a heat-proof spatula to make your own ice cream at home.
Ice Cream Base
The ratio of milk and heavy cream can be altered depending on how thick or light you want the ice cream to be. You can also make lighter ice cream recipes using less sugar or other substitutes. Milk or cream can be substituted with other forms of dairy such as coconut milk, sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt in gourmet recipes. The ingredients are combined and heated together and processed in the ice cream maker, which will do the mixing for about 25 to 30 minutes. The resulting ice cream mixture is transferred in a container and placed in the freezer until it becomes firm or can be eaten immediately if you prefer a soft texture.
Adding Flavors and Textures
Vanilla and chocolate are the two most common ice cream flavors that you can add to the base to make flavored ice cream. There are two techniques for adding flavor to the base: steeping and mixing.
Because milk contains both fat and water, it can extract flavor from any herb, spice, nut, or fruit. While the milk is warm, you can throw in vanilla beans to make vanilla ice cream or cinnamon sticks to make cinnamon ice cream. You can also add mint leaves, green tea, coffee, or toasted walnuts. The steeping time will depend on the ingredient from a few minutes for herbs and coffee (just like brewing a cup) or up to thirty minutes for toasted nuts or vanilla beans.
• Other fresh herbs you can use for steeping in the milk and flavoring ice cream are basil, thyme, and tarragon.
• Some examples of spices are cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, allspice, and mace.
• For extracting the flavors of nuts such as pistachios or almonds, toast and chop the nuts before steeping in the milk. You can also follow it up with nut oil or mix in some chopped nuts later.
• Any kind of tea that you drink with milk can make a delicious flavoring for ice cream including peppermint, chamomile, black tea, and verbena.
• Other possible options for steeping in the warm milk are liquors like whisky, brandy or rum.
The mix-in is added to the ice cream after it comes out of the freezing machine and the ice cream is still soft and malleable. Chocolate sauce, peanut butter, fruit jams or preserves, nuts, and fruits can be folded into the ice cream for texture, flavor, and presentation. Be aware that fresh fruits can turn into ice chunks when frozen and will affect the soft texture of the ice cream. Other ingredients that can be mixed in with the ice cream are peanut butter, chopped candies, chocolate chunks, marshmallow bits, caramel sauce, fruit sauce, toasted coconut, pretzels, and crumbled cookies.