Half & Half Ice Cream

icecreamToday is the last day of National Ice Cream Month, and to celebrate, here’s our “go to” ice cream recipe.

Shortly after we we first got married, we got our first ice cream maker; along with it, we got our first ice cream recipe book, which we still have. It’s called “Modern Ice Cream Recipes” by Earl Goldman. One of the recipes contained therein has served us in good stead for all these many years. It’s simple and tasty and less expensive than other recipes. This basic vanilla recipe is built on half & half rather than cream. Aside from the price, one of the big advantages is that almost all modern whipping cream contains additives such as carageenan, guar gum, locust bean gum, and/or polysorbate, while half & half is still just milk and cream with no nonsense.

The book gives measurements depending on whether you want a “large” or “small” quart or gallon. For the sake of expedience, I’m just going to give the recipe for a large quart.

3 cups half & half
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Heat 1-1/2 cups half & half until lukewarm. Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved.Stir in remaining half & half and chill thoroughly. Add vanilla and freeze.

During the freezing process, when the machine is operating, there will come a point when the mix begins to thicken; the motor will get louder and higher pitched as it begins to labor. That is when you want to add your mix-ins, then let the machine continue to mix until it stops turning.

This ice cream is light and flavorful, but if you want a richer texture, you can add an egg. Just lightly beat the egg and add it to the mix before you heat it.

You can easily substitute or add other ingredients if you like; we’ve added crushed Hershey bars, cookies, fresh strawberries and many other ingredients.

A few ideas:

Mint Chip: instead of a tablespoon of vanilla, use 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. mint extract, and add a package of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Thin Mint Cookie: eliminate salt from recipe (the cookies are salty). Crush a package of Girls Scout cookies and add to mix.

Fresh fruit: add strawberries or whatever other fruit you desire. Puree two small baskets of strawberries in a blender and add to mix.




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  1. Possibly stupid question, but what if you do not have an ice-cream maker? Do you know of a good work-around?

    • Jim on July 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Yes, indeed. Here are two:

    Coffee cans. Find a 3 lb can and a 1 lb can (with lids) and clean them thoroughly. Place the small can inside the big one. Pour your mix into the small can and put on the lid. Pack crushed ice and rock salt into the big can around the small one. (Put in a 2-3″ layer of ice, then sprinkle in about 3 Tbsp of rock salt, repeat until can is full.) Put on the lid. Lay the can on its side on the floor and roll it back and forth for about 20 minutes. (A couple of little kids come in real handy for this part.)

    Plastic bags. Find heavy-duty ziplock bags in the quart and gallon sizes. Same deal; put the mix in the small bag, stick it into the large bag and surround with crushed ice and rock salt. Zip up the bag and start tossing. Squeeze it, moosh it, flip it in the air, spin it and generally keep it moving for about 20 minutes or so.

    1. DUH! Yes, I have done bag method before and got VERY serviceable ice-cream. I did need to add gloves, though, as my hands were getting frosted over.

      Thanks so much for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Ashley on July 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    There’s also the freeze and stir method – pour your ice cream mixture into a container or baking pan. Stick it in the freezer and stir it every 30 minutes for 3 hours. You can use a hand-mixer if you have one.

    It’s more time-consuming but if you’re going to be around the house all day it’s an easy way to go that doesn’t involve shaking a bag/can.


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