light vanilla bean ice cream

i was recently asked what my favorite dessert is.  i’m sure based on the recipes that i post on my blog, you would guess cupcakes are my favorite.  surprisingly you would be wrong (say what?!?!).  as much as i love cupcakes (and i love them a lot), my favorite is actually ice cream.  i think i get this from my grandma who since i can remember always has ice cream in her freezer, from fat boy sandwiches to praline and cream ice cream, she had all different kinds.  she loves ice cream just as much i do… probably even more.

since i got an ice cream maker, i’ve enjoyed making different kinds of ice cream.  i’ve made strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and more.  but making my own ice cream allowed me to see just how much fat and sugar goes into making it.  although these rich and creamy ice cream recipes were quite delicious, i wanted to see if i could make a lighter version so i could feel just a little less guilty about indulging in my favorite dessert.

i was so excited when i found this recipe in cooking light (one of my favorite cooking magazines).  they figured out how to make creamy ice cream that isn’t high in fat.  yes!  the trick is to use a little bit of light corn syrup and low-fat evaporated milk.  because the evaporated milk doesn’t have the high water content that low-fat or skim milk does, this ice cream doesn’t end up icy like many low-fat ice creams do.

(i only just saw that i didn’t get low-fat evaporated milk.  oops!)

but i have to admit, when i first tasted the finished ice cream i didn’t really like it.  the evaporated milk taste was prominent which i wasn’t quite expecting (though i don’t know why since clearly there is evaporated milk in the ice cream, silly me).  but after i ate a few more bites, i stopped noticing it.  instead the vanilla flavor stood out and i was shocked how creamy it was considering there is no cream in this ice cream.  amazing!  also, chris added some chocolate chips and later a chocolate peanut butter sauce to his ice cream which made it extra special.

i can’t wait to use this as a base recipe for other kinds of ice cream – i’m thinking maybe light strawberry ice cream or how about raspberry?  ooo so many possibilities.  i can’t wait!

like other ice cream bases, you start by combining the half and half, evaporated milk, some of the sugar, and corn syrup,

and vanilla beans and the pod

in a medium saucepan and warm it until it reaches 180 degrees F.

i love using my handy dandy thermometer.

then remove it from the heat, cover it, and let the milk mixture sit for 10 minutes.

in the meantime, mix the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar in a medium bowl.

now slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture.  whisk constantly to ensure the eggs do not scramble.

there you go…

now pour the base into the saucepan and return it to the stove.  heat until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.

pour the base through a mesh sieve

and then discard the vanilla pod and little bits of vanilla and egg (yuck).

cover the base with plastic wrap.  be sure the plastic wrap touches the top of the mixture to ensure a layer of film doesn’t form on top.

refrigerate the ice cream base for at least 6 hours or overnight.  last part – freeze the ice cream base according to your ice cream machines instructions.

look!  it’s ice cream!

transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container…

and freeze until firm.

now it’s ready to eat! scrumdiddlyumptious!

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hot fudge sauce

this past weekend, i had a few friends over for an ice cream party.  as you all know, i recently got an ice cream machine and usually it’s only chris and me eating the ice cream that i make.  so i was excited for the opportunity to make some ice cream for our friends too.

i made vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream, and peach ice cream.

i wanted to set it up similar to a fro-yo toppings bar with a bunch of different toppings from fresh fruit, nuts, and oreos to m&ms, peanut butter cups, and heath bars.

i also made some homemade hot fudge sauce and vanilla bean caramel sauce.

it was so much fun trying out the different toppings with the different kinds of ice cream.  it’s a great idea for a party because everyone can customize their ice cream to their own tastes.  hopefully everyone had fun and enjoyed the ice cream!

okay so more about the the hot fudge sauce…  i had no idea it was so easy to make your own homemade hot fudge sauce.  all you need to do combine cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, cream, dark brown sugar, corn syrup, and a little salt in a medium saucepan.

heat and stir the mixture until it’s all combine and smooth, then cook it for 5 minutes.

now take the saucepan off the heat and add the butter, more bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla.

mix, mix, mix and then once it’s smooth, it’s ready.

allow the hot fudge sauce to cool for about 20-30 minutes before using.  then enjoy over ice cream, brownies, cookies, really everything goes well with hot fudge sauce right?  hahaha.

please visit brown eyed baker for the recipe.

chocolate ice cream

did you know that july is national ice cream month?  i had no idea until i saw this fun fact on a few other food blogs.  well it’s perfect timing, because i just made a batch of chocolate ice cream.  in celebration of national ice cream month, i highly suggest making some of this chocolate ice cream too!

just a heads up – this is the most rich, chocolatey ice cream i ever had.  you can really only have 1 scoop and you are left completely satisfied.  i don’t actually like chocolate ice cream – i’d totally pick some vanilla ice cream instead (crazy i know) but it was actually really good.  still i’ll leave the rest for chris because i know it’s his favorite.  maybe i’ll make some of this cake batter ice cream for myself instead.  🙂

here are some of the other ice cream recipes i’ve tried:

okay, back to the chocolate ice cream, to start warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder.  bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 30 seconds.

  

take the pot off the heat and stir in the chocolate.  i just used some semi-sweet chocolate chips.

mix until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.  then add the remaining 1 cup of cream.

  

pour the chocolate cream mixture into a medium bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over it.

now it’s time to make the custard.  in the same saucepan that you made the chocolate cream mixture, add the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt.  warm it up until the sugar dissolves.

meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  then once the milk is warmed, slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolks.   return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook until the custard is nice and thick.

  

now pour the custard through the mess strainer into the bowl of chocolate cream.

mix the custard and chocolate cream together.

finally, mix in a little vanilla extract and the ice cream base is ready to chill overnight.

  

once the ice cream base is ready, churn the ice cream following the instructions provided by your ice cream maker.

  

now it needs to freeze a bit to make it firmer and then it’s ready to eat!  yummy, chocolate-y goodness!

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lime and coconut ice cream

after making margarita cupcakes not too long ago, i had a few limes left over.  i wasn’t quite sure what to use them for until i remember that i had pinned a recipe from an absolutely amazing blog, two peas and their pod.  lime and coconut flavors go together wonderfully so i knew they would make the perfect combination in ice cream.

i made a few changes to the recipe though.  first i added the shredded coconut back to the ice cream base for some nice texture in the ice cream.  though chris said he would have preferred a nice and smooth ice cream.  so i guess just go with what you would like best.  also the original recipe called for coconut extract which i don’t love – it just doesn’t really taste like real coconut.  instead i used some coconut milk and that worked great.  oh and with the original recipe you actually make your own “coconut milk” by steeping some shredded coconut in milk.  instead, you could probably just use coconut milk from the can.  i think that’s what i’ll do next time i make a batch of this ice cream.

with these changes, this ice cream was super refreshing.  the lime flavor was definitely at the forefront but don’t worry you could still taste the coconut.  i think this would be a great treat for the summer and the lime and coconut combo has given me some ideas for a cupcake or even cookie flavor.  yum!

the lime and coconut ice cream starts with some coconut milk.  you can make your own coconut flavored milk by steeping some sweetened shredded coconut milk in some whole milk mixed with sugar and just a pinch of salt.  but i would suggest just using some coconut milk from the can (you can usually find this in the asian foods section of your local grocery store) to save yourself some time.

  

if you make your own coconut flavored milk, drain the milk into a measuring cup and return it to the saucepan.  if you want to include the shredded coconut in your ice cream, reserve it otherwise you can just throw it away.

warm the milk back up and then slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolks.  this allows the egg yolks to temper rather than scramble.  return the mixture back to the saucepan and cook until thickened.

meanwhile mix the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest together in a large bowl.

  

once the custard is nice and thick, strain the custard into the lime and milk mixture.

then add the coconut milk (or extract) and reserved shredded coconut.  mix and it’s ready to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  

finally, it’s time to churn the ice cream!  just follow your ice cream maker instructions and freeze until it’s solid.

yay lime and coconut ice cream!

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strawberry ice cream

so this is actually my second try at making strawberry ice cream and unfortunately it still isn’t quite right.  the first time, i chopped up the strawberries a bit too much in the food processor and they got weird and mushy in the ice cream.  not good.  so this time i made sure to keep the strawberries a bit more chunky, but then they didn’t mix into the ice cream base enough and it ended up just being vanilla ice cream with chopped strawberries.

still it was absolutely delicious – more like strawberries and cream ice cream instead of just regular ol’ strawberry ice cream.  plus there is plenty of time this summer to try out other strawberry ice cream recipes until i find the perfect one.  but next up will be lime coconut ice cream, which i’m really really excited for and then chocolate ice cream for chris.  i can’t wait!

so to make this strawberry ice cream, start by making the ice cream base.  it’s very very similar (actually nearly the same one) to the vanilla ice cream that i made last time, just without the vanilla bean.

once the ice cream based is completely cooled (i let mine refrigerate overnight), chop up a whole pound of strawberries.  you could also try to puree some of them to help the strawberries incorporate better into the ice cream base.

stir the chopped strawberries into the ice cream base.

now freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker instructions.

transfer the ice cream to a freezer proof container and freeze until the ice cream is nice and firm.  enjoy on a beautiful, warm, sunny day!

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