Friday, February 4, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Ice Cream

It was a big day for ice cream in the Leaf household. First, we made snow ice cream in the afternoon. At night, we had the treat of making real, homemade s'mores ice cream with my new toy - the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. Fancy, huh? I have wanted one of these for a while, but could never justify spending the money on it. This one was on such a good sale and I had birthday money (which I never spend on myself) and figured the whole family would benefit from this purchase. One can never have too much ice cream.

Zachy helped crush the graham crackers.
After all 3 kids took a turn.
1/2 c cocoa powder, sifted (We used 1/4 c and it was great.)
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
pinch salt
2/3 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c marshmallow cream (e.g. Fluff)
2 full graham cracker sheets, crushed
2 oz milk chocolate (1/3 c chips), melted and reserved at room temperature

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, and salt. Add the milk, and using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight. 
2. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, gradually add the marshmallow cream, 1 spoonful at a time. Once mixed, add the crushed graham crackers and melted chocolate one at a time through the top and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an air-tight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Here we go.

Dry ingredients.

Mixing like a pro.

Dissolved in the milk.

Adding the cream.

Jake was ready to drink it up.

Sealing it up tight.

Icy bath.

The anticipation is killing me!

Ok, I admit, I was a little too adventurous for my first time. We should have made a plain ol' flavor without any mix-ins in order to get to know the machine. I followed the directions and let it mix for 12 minutes before putting in the marshmallow cream. Fail. It was already mixed to death and would not swirl the cream or chocolate. Instead, we had a big mass of each with little bits throughout. Let me tell you though, that did not stop us from devouring it! It was super-duper delicious (as Jacob would say.) As you can see, I didn't even take the time to place a big scoop in one of our pretty ice cream bowls for a picture. You are stuck looking at the glob in the bowl. You don't know what you're missing.

The machine at work.

S'mores ice cream
The machine itself is so easy to use. You pour the ingredients in and turn it on. It's no wonder that it's the number 1 rated  budget ice cream maker on the market. Another pro is that it's quick. You can make fresh ice cream in less than 30 minutes. I keep most of the ingredients on hand, so it's convenient as well. It has a safety mechanism that shuts the motor down if it overheats (in case you're not standing there watching through the transparent lid, like us.) 

A con is that the bowl must be completely frozen (20-24 hours) before using. We will just make a permanent home for it in the back of the freezer. That way it's ready any time we need it. Also, it makes only 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of ice cream. That amount is currently fine for our family. Once the kids get older or have company over, we can purchase a second freezer bowl. The motor is louder than I expected, but not enough to bother me.

Overall, it's a great machine that makes delicious treats. I am so glad that I finally purchased one. I know we will put it to good use. Tonight's flavor: strawberry.
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