Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ice Cream Makers & Ice Cream Cookbooks

It's been weeks since I've participated in Weekend Cooking, but not because it hasn't been on my agenda. I have a bunch of cooking posts swirling around in my head, but unfortunately just as many distractions interfering with my good intentions. Take this ice cream post, for example. Would you believe I've been planning this post since June?! I have. I wanted to post it the first weekend in July to ring in National Ice Cream Month [July], and then I thought for sure I'd have it scheduled to post while I was away vacation and now here we are practically mid August, I'm back from vacation and NOW I'm finally getting it up. In the end, I'm actually not that bothered that I didn't get this up in time for National Ice Cream Month because if you ask me, every month is ice cream month!!!

In case you haven't already picked up on this little fact about me, ice cream [and gelato, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, etc.] is my favorite food. I could eat it every day all year long, even if it's bitter cold outside. I know I'm not alone. However, the high fat and sugar content of ice cream and most other frozen treats don't really fit in my daily diet. Instead it should be a once in a while treat. Yeah.. I'm still working on that. Anyway, because I struggle with that idea of ice cream being a 'once in a while treat,' I'm always on the look out for the perfect lower fat, lower sugar, but still satisfying ice cream that I can eat more often than 'an occasional treat.' I've even invested in home ice cream makers so I can fiddle with recipes, ingredients and flavors on my own. I don't really save money making my own ice cream, but there is benefit of being in control of the quality of ingredients [all natural products, organic when possible], as well as the wonderful reward of making something from scratch.

In this post, I'll talk about two different types of ice cream makers that I've used over the years as well as four different ice cream cookbooks that sit on my shelf. Throughout the remaining short weeks left of summer, I plan to actually make some homemade ice cream and share some of those recipes with you. I hope I inspire you to join the fun and make some homemade ice cream yourself! See the end of this post for information about a cooking challenge called "Operation Use My Ice Cream Maker!"

Ice Cream Makers:

I've had two different kinds of home ice cream makers over the years, both automatic electric models, but slightly different in the method of freezing the ice cream.

My first ice cream maker was an Oster Ice Cream Maker [picture to come tomorrow], which is no longer available for purchase, but is similar in design and function to the Hamilton Beach model and others like it, sold on amazon here. It has an electric motor base which turns the container of ice cream mixture that sits within a larger container that is layered with ice and salt to freeze the ice cream as it is being churned. It typically takes 20-30 minutes for the mixture to be of soft serve consistency. [Note: Ice creams that I made with my Oster machine always turned out softer than ice cream parlor soft serve. The Cuisinart [see below] produces firmer soft serve closer to ice cream parlor consistency.] The inner container is then taken out of the ice and put into the freezer for 4 hours or longer to firm up, which is also called ripen in the ice cream making world. You need to have plenty of ice and salt on hand before you make ice cream with this type of ice cream maker. The ice and salt does make this process a little messy and my Oster machine was pretty noisy.

Cuisinart 1 1/2 Quart Ice Cream Maker
My second ice cream maker is the Cuisinart 1 1/2 Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker and this is my favorite. It's super easy and not as messy as the Oster with all that ice and salt. This also happens to be the ice cream maker that Jeni Britton Bauer, author of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, uses to develop the recipes in her cookbook, which I own [see below]. This ice cream maker also has a electric motor base, but the freezing method is slightly different. The ice cream bowl for this ice cream maker has special liquid built into wall of the bowl that when kept in the freezer, gets cold enough to freeze the ice cream mixture into ice cream during the churning process. Simply spoon out the ice cream into a freezer safe container when it has reached soft serve consistency, which is about 20-25 minutes, and transfer to the freezer for ripening. For this ice cream maker, you need to have space in your freezer to store the bowl. At least several hours before you want to make ice cream, but I just keep it in there all the time, just in case! Storage space in your freezer for the bowl is the only downside to this ice cream maker. Otherwise, this ice cream maker is easy to use, relatively quiet and produces consistent and pleasing results every time. This is the model that I recommend to friends all the time. I have a friend who has the newer Cuisinart 2 Quart model and she also loves it.

Ice Cream Cookbooks:

Ice Creams & Sorbets
Williams Sonoma Kitchen Library
General Editor, Chuck Williams
Recipes by Sarah Tenaglia
Photography by Allan Roseberg
Published in 1996 [Time Life Books]

This was the first ice cream cookbook I purchased and was really one of the very few cookbooks dedicated to ice creams and frozen desserts in bookstores at the time. The ice cream recipes are very rich, calling for a lot of egg yolks and heavy cream. I made the Coconut Ice Cream once. It was so sickeningly rich that one spoonful was more than enough decadence for one day and I honestly don't think we ever finished the batch. There are some gelato recipes that sound good, though, like Banana Gelato and Double Espresso Gelato, so maybe I'll try those someday.

Ice Cream
by Shona Crawford Poole
Photography by William Lingwood
Published in 2001 [revised edition] by Conran Octopus Limited a part of Octopus Publishing Group

I picked up this ice cream cookbook a few years later when I was looking for ice cream recipes that were lighter than the ice creams in the Williams Sonoma cookbook. Recipes that didn't rely so heavily on egg yolks in the base and maybe used a combination of cream and milk in the base. I was also looking for some recipes with exotic or unusual ice cream flavors. This cookbook has several recipes that fit the bill. Recipes such as Saffron & Mace Ice Cream, Mango Ice Cream and Rose Petal Ice Cream.

Unfortunately, like may industrious cooking intentions... I never got around to making any of the recipes in this cookbook. Part of the reason is good intentions gone bad, and the other part is that the ingredients are in metric units, as it is a British published cookbook. This is a really lame excuse as the quantities can be easily converted, so really I have no excuse!

Sweet Scoops
by Shelly Kaldunski
Photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Published 2009 by Weldon Owen Publishing

My daughter gifted this cookbook to me a few Christmases ago. Does she know her momma, or what? Again, I can't believe I haven't made anything out of this cookbook yet. The recipes are largely straightforward from the classic to the modern, ice creams to gelatos to frozen yogurts, sherbets, sorbets, and granitas. There's even a chapter dedicated to making your own cones, cookies and toppings. There's an ice cream social waiting to pop out of this book. Avocado Ice Cream, Banana-Maple frozen yogurt and Melon Sorbet.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
by Jeni Bauer
[Most] Photography by Stacy Newgent
Published 2011 by Artisan, A Division of Workman Publishing Company

This is the most recent addition to my ice cream cookbook collection and my favorite so far. It's written by Jeni Bauer, owner of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio where Jeni has been making artisanal ice creams by hand for years. The cookbook, which won the James Beard Award for Best Baking and Dessert Book of 2011, contains recipes for 100 of Jeni's best gourmet ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbets plus recipes and instructions for other delicious ice cream creations such as specialty sundaes, macaroon ice cream sandwiches, homemade cones, Baked Alaska and other toppings, sauces and baked goods to use with the ice creams. Of the 100 recipes, I would like to taste them all. No kidding. I'm going to make one of the recipes ASAP if I could only decide which one to make first! I'm thinking Backyard Mint Ice Cream, Sweet Corn & Black Raspberry Ice Cream or The Buckeye State Ice Cream which is honeyed peanut ice cream with dark chocolate freckles.

Other recipes on my list are the Roasted Pistachio Ice Cream, Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream and the Baked Apple Sorbet. Another must-make on my list is the Gucci Muu Muu ... an exotic chocolate ice cream infused with curry and toasted coconut. And in the depths of winter when head cold season hits, I'll be sure to try the Influenza Rx Sorbet, made with lemon and orange juices, sugar, honey, ginger, pectin, cayenne and bourbon. Maybe not the most traditional flavors, but you have to admit they sound incredibly tempting and delicious.

Visit Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at their website
and at their blog

Operation Use My: Ice Cream Maker
For more ice cream fun, I'm joining the lovely Trish who blogs at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity and is hosting an "Operation Use My: Ice Cream Maker" challenge through the rest of the summer. I plan to put my ice cream maker to good use the rest of this summer and may even try my hand at experimenting with Jeni's basic recipe instructions to create my very own recipe.

Do you love ice cream, too? 

What's your favorite ice cream flavor(s)? Favorite topping?

Do you have an Ice Cream Maker? 

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Yum! I have the Cuisinart, too. I love it! I can't be quite as adventurous as you - my guys would totally mutiny. I have to stick to the basics, which for them? Chocolate, vanilla, coffee. I tried a mocha ice cream today which we're having for dessert later on. And I have a strawberry ice cream recipe that sounds delicious. If they don't like it, too bad for them.

    I also started experimenting with making my own chocolate sauce (and have a few others I want to try). It's so much healthier and no preservatives and other things I can't pronounce.

  2. Ice cream is one thing that I have never tried to make. I do like the sound of the less mess option though!

  3. I have the Cuisnart like yours. I owned one for my Kitchen Aid mixer but it never seemed to work the way I wanted it to. I rarely make ice cream because ... well, we'd eat it and it's fattening. I need to learn to make sorbets and frozen yogurts.

  4. Yay! Awesome introductory post, Christine! I've been thinking of buying an ice cream maker... but they are so expensive and I really wonder if it's worth it ^_^;

  5. I like ice cream, but I don't have anywhere close to the devotion you have. I actually prefer gelato, and my favorite flavors are blackberry cabernet and pineapple basil. No ice cream maker here, but maybe in the future? Thanks for sharing your recipe books & expertise!

  6. WOW!!!! You truly are devoted. I bow down to you.

    We had a nutritionist come speak to our office one day last week during lunch (as part of a wellness initiative) and she said that of course we can eat ice cream! Just make a perfect scoop and eat it savoringly and slowly. I probably eat ice cream in too big of quantities but I just can't seem to kick the habit. I made a blueberry yogurt ice cream yesterday (just blueberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and yogurt) and am about to go make a simple sweet cream. Will take ALL of it over to my mom's to share with everyone else. ;)

    Can't wait to see what you make! Thanks for joining me in the journey. ;)

  7. We have one like your old Oster. We rarely use it, though. The kids love ice cream, but I only want it a few times a year. But, when I do- I want coffee flavored. (Which is funny because I don't like to drink coffee.) I remember my Mom making fresh banana ice cream when I was growing up. I want to learn to make sorbet and maybe sherbet (love lime sherbet).
    Can't wait to read what you make!

  8. Thanks for this post, it was amazing.
    I think I might ask my dad for an ice-cream maker for my birthday :D
    I remember mom made us ice-cream once or twice when my sister and I were little but I remember it was a lot of work and she got mad when we asked her to do it.

    Anyway, great post :D

  9. I made ice cream in an old coffee can once. It didn't really work. I might try again in the future.

  10. What an informative post! I am not a big ice cream eater, so I have never tried to make my own. The guy eats it occasionally, but that's about it... I always figured it was a good thing to not get addicted to. :)

  11. This is awesome. Thank you for this great information since I've been trying to figure out which one to get. :D


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