At the first signs of spring, it can be easy to run to your grocery store and pick out a tub of mass produced ice cream from a freezer. What you get from the grocery store usually isn’t bad — but it’s also not very good. Even the premium brands can be gummy or watery or flaky (and really amazing ice cream shouldn’t be any of these things).
Stopping at your local ice cream shop is also a hit-or-miss endeavor. National chains have ice cream on par with the mediocre stuff you can get from the grocery store, and small mom and pop places might be serving up the exact stuff you buy by the tub. What they sell is cold, and that is often all you can say about it. Freshly made, small batch ice cream is difficult to find at an ice cream shop, and when you do find it you usually have to pay twice the price for it compared to other places.
Making ice cream at home is typically less expensive and far superior in quality and flavor than anything you can buy from a shop or in your grocery store. It’s also super easy to make up a batch if you have an automatic ice cream maker ($40) or an ice cream attachment ($65) for your stand mixer. If you have an ice cream maker that requires you to pack it in salt or crank it by hand, it’s time for an upgrade. Another benefit of making ice cream at home is that you tend to eat less of it in one sitting than you do the other stuff. I think this is because you want to make the ice cream last longer, and also because it is richer and fills you up faster.
In addition to having an ice cream maker that is simple to use, I also recommend having a few other items to help you through the ice cream making process:
- David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop ($12). His recipes are a wonderful place to start and become comfortable with making ice cream at home.
- A bookmark in your web browser to David’s ice cream recipes online.
- An air-tight ice cream storage container (with a lid) for your freezer. The last thing you want is for your amazing ice cream to get freezer burn.
- Quality cream. I buy the freshest cream I can from a local dairy when I make ice cream. If you don’t have a dairy close to you, get the best stuff you can from your grocery store. Talk to the person who stocks the shelves in the dairy department to get you the freshest of the fresh from the back coolers.
This week I’ll reveal a couple of my favorite ice cream recipes to get everyone geared up for summer. A few practice rounds now will make you ready for the ice cream rush in the coming months.