We All Scream for Ice Cream

I am omnivorous ice cream-wise, finding virtue in all of these frozen treats, but we were spending far too much time and money on nightly jaunts to local parlors.

My family is obsessed with ice cream.
We have warring factions. My husband prefers Capogiro Gelato Artisans and The Franklin Fountain. My son likes milkshakes from Häagen-Dazs and Rita’s custard. My daughter is partial to Big Gay Ice Cream.
We recently sampled the new trendy Thai ice cream rolls at both Sweet Charlie’s and Ice Max; they’re quite good, if a bit gimmicky.
I am omnivorous ice cream-wise, finding virtue in all of these frozen treats, but we were spending far too much time and money on nightly jaunts to local parlors.
So I did some research, experimenting with recipes and techniques. By combining a number of methods and formulas, I have found a way to make my own soft-serve. It is simple, delicious and requires no special equipment beyond a mixer.
One important lesson I learned was to ignore the instruction to freeze the finished product for a minimum of 12 hours after blending. This messed with the texture, which was heavenly when just mixed but got harder and a bit granular after the lengthy freezing. For that reason, I recommend blending it immediately before serving.
We’ve had this twice in the last fortnight — once for an ice cream buffet after a Fourth of July picnic and another time at a casual dinner party. It was met with raves both times.
The ice cream itself is plenty delicious, but you can dress it up with a selection of sauces, fresh fruit, whipped cream, nuts, candy or my personal favorite of crumbled pretzels.
Soft-Serve Ice Cream
Serves 6 generously
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups top-quality vanilla ice cream, softened for about 10 minutes
Whip the cream to form soft peaks, then add the sugar and vanilla. Beat in the softened ice cream and serve immediately.
Chocolate Sauce
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 cup half-and-half
Place the chips in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat the half-and-half in a small saucepan until just shy of boiling; teeny bubbles will appear around the edges. Pour the heated half-and-half over the chips and cover it with the pot lid or foil; let it sit for about five minutes.
Whisk the mixture together until it’s smooth. Drizzle it over the ice cream, as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and heat them gently when ready to use.
Caramel Sauce
1½ cups sugar
½ cup water
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
Pour the sugar and water into a medium-sized saucepan. Do not stir. Heat to medium, swirl the pan to blend, then boil it for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture caramelizes into a golden-brown color.
Watch it carefully, as the mixture transforms from sugar water to golden lusciousness to tar in seconds flat.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream. It will bubble up and become a sticky goo. Keep stirring, and place back on very low heat if needed to melt the sugar crystals. When the mixture is totally smooth, add the salt and butter.
Berry Sauce
1 cup fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries)
1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste, depending upon the sweetness of the berries)
1 tablespoon water or liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or limoncello)
Puree all the ingredients in a blender. Taste and add more sugar and liquid, if needed, for flavor and texture. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.


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