Making Ice Cream At Home

Hey! Isn’t this a winemaking blog?

I don’t know about you, but in my little corner of the world it’s been hot. And while all this heat has Western Washington grape growers looking forward to their best year in a long time, it has me forgetting all about making wine and trying to remember where my old ice cream maker is.

A little like winemaking

You can still buy the old style ice cream makers, even hand cranked ones, but the newer counter-top appliances are a better choice for most people. With those it really can be as simple as mixing four or five ingredients together, pouring it into the machine and turning it on. As with winemaking, there are more advanced recipes that require more work but promise richer ice cream. And for really great ice cream, you need to use really great ingredients like fresh cream, good fruit picked at peak ripeness and used right away. That sounds a bit like winemaking too, but as long as we’re talking about ice cream and winemaking, what about incorporating alcohol into our ice cream?

Not available at any price

It’s not just a tasty combination that makes this so tempting, it’s that you won’t find it on store shelves at all. So can we just add brandy to an ice cream recipe and pour it into our ice cream maker? Not quite. Alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water, so adding to ice cream is a bit like adding anti freeze. You’ll just end up with cold, slushy not-ice cream.

The trick is to stabilize the alcohol with gelatin. It’ll still be softer than ordinary ice cream, but it will be ice cream! You might try adding 1 packet of gelatin and 1-1.5 cups of beer/wine/spirits. But modifying ice cream recipes can be a double edged sword: you might make something much better than the original, but you might not. Problems can be as simple as the new larger volume might not fit in your ice cream maker. Or maybe the ice cream will not be sweet enough (because the amount of sugar is proportionally lower). Or not creamy enough (reduced proportion of milk fat). Or … that’s why it might be best to start with proven recipes. Jenise Addison and Valerie Lum have done the work for you in their Ice Cream Happy Hour: 50 Boozy Treats That You Spike and Freeze at Home. It includes 50 recipes, and is definitely worth a look. Chocolate Guinness ice cream, anyone?

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1 thought on “Making Ice Cream At Home

  1. Erroll Post author

    Megan McArdle has her own twist on homemade ice cream:

    You can adapt an ice cream base to almost any ingredients you imagine; you just reduce the sugar a bit.

    Read the whole thing, including her recipe for Avocado Wasabi Ice Cream. She talks about alcohol in ice cream too, and recommends cooking the alcohol out. Jenise Valerie’s gelatin method sounds better to me, though.

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