homemade ice cream

The end of August is near and that means so is the end of “real” summer ( I only really think of summer as being from June-August). To be quite frank, I’ve had just about enough of the humidity and heat, so I’m ready for this season to be over and for Fall to begin. One thing I will miss, however?

The excuse to eat ice cream.

Of course, you can always eat ice cream in the cold weather, but it’s never as satisfying and – oddly enough – some of my favorite ice cream shops and trucks (Lula’s Sweet Apothecary and Coolhaus in New York and Chelsea Royal Diner in Vermont) also close up on ice cream’s “off-season”.

So, there’s only one thing left to do.

Make your own ice cream! There are plenty of recipes on the internet, but if you’re looking to take matters into your own hands, I’ve honed in on the five steps to make your very own homemade ice cream: The base, thickener, sweetener, flavor and (my favorite) the mix-ins. Take a look below and try your hand at experimenting with some crazy ice cream creations.

1. Base

If you’re dairy- free (and still made that Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t made vegan ice cream yet), this step is more important than not. While the base of most ice creams is dairy or milk, you can also use frozen bananas or fruits to create a sorbet-like creation. Otherwise, nut milks – like soy, almond and coconut – are popular. Don’t mind the dairy? Dairy milk and yogurt will do as a good starting point.

2. Thickener

Anything that will give ice cream a creamier texture can be put under this category. Options include xantham gum, condensed milk, heavy cream and/or eggs. This makes the consistency less “ice”-like and a lot richer.

3. Sweetener

Condensed milk can also fall under this category as it is very sweet, but honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar or any regular sugar option are common favorites. Taste test before churning or putting it in the freezer to make sure you’ve got your optimal level of sweetness. There’s nothing quite as underwhelming like bland ice cream!

4. Flavor

Vanilla, cocoa, and other extracts are what really put the flavor in your creation despite its straightforwardness and simple 1-ingredient step.

5. Mix-ins

This is where you can really get crazy. Chocolate chip cookies, candies, Oreos, caramel sauce, fudge sauce, sprinkles, peanut butter cups… you name it, it can go in. You can turn your simple chocolate ice cream into something incredible by just adding a peanut butter or caramel core, or make your vanilla ice cream something spectacular but adding in crushed up Oreos. The possibilities are endless. THINK BIG. It’s important to note that you should make the base first – especially if you’re using an ice cream maker – and the mix ins last.

So there you have it. Easier than expected, right? Now you can eat ice cream all year long without even having to leave your home. It’s really a dream come true.

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Would you try your hand at homemade ice cream? What flavor would you create?