Less than 2 weeks ago, I had an unexpected root canal. I was a dental work newbie, so it took me by surprise. I’d never had a cavity, no orthodontia. My sole experience was with wisdom teeth removal. But after it was over, several friends who are more dentally savvy than I am told me, “You need ice cream!”
Well, really. Who doesn’t?
And since by last week we’d hit 97° in Central Texas, it was clear what the subject of this week’s post was meant to be. So today I present to you a recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream: smooth (very important, since my temporary crown is now in place), delicious, and the easiest ice cream I make. No cooking of custard required. Lest you think vanilla sounds too tame, I’m also sharing my equally easy recipe for Chocolate Shell topping. Spoon it on, let it harden, and you have what amounts to a rich and wonderful ice cream bar in a bowl, no stick necessary.
Here’s the Cuisinart ice cream maker I have. One of their more basic models, it’s super easy to use and makes ice cream in about 25 minutes, requiring no ice or salt. I keep its removable cream can stored in the back of my freezer so that I’m always prepared for ice cream emergencies. (Beats the heck out of root canal emergencies.)
VANILLA ICE CREAM
In a large mixing bowl, put:
1 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 c. half-and-half
1 ½ tsp. good vanilla extract (I like Nielsen-Massey)
Beat ingredients together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. A hand mixer is fine for the job. Then add:
2 c. heavy cream
Stir all together until thoroughly blended and pour into the cream can of your ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer to a suitable container and finish hardening the ice cream in the freezer. Makes about 1 ½ quarts. Now you’re ready for the:
CHOCOLATE SHELL TOPPING
In a glass (or other microwave-safe) bowl, put:
12 oz. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, chopped
1 c. coconut oil (Spectrum is widely available, and it’s good)
Microwave in about 20-second bursts, checking and stirring in between, until the chocolate has liquefied into the coconut oil. Stir together thoroughly, and that’s it! Now just spoon some over your dish of ice cream. If you like rather a lot of Chocolate Shell (as I do), it’s a good idea to put the dish of ice cream in the freezer for a couple of minutes so the topping will harden more quickly.
• If you’re thinking of lowering the fat content, I have one (inadvertent) experience to offer: Once I accidentally bought “fat-free” Half & Half and then used it to make ice cream before I caught the mistake. It wasn’t terrible. We all ate it without complaining. However, it wasn’t quite the consistency or taste I aim for. Fat-free Half & Half strikes me as a weird, egregious oxymoron, and a possible crime against nature besides. I’m much more careful to read the label now. But I grudgingly have to admit that it wasn’t bad.
• If you aren’t a chocolate fan, or if you don’t have any dental work to be careful with, this vanilla is also wonderful with crisp cookies like Tuiles or Molasses Crisps, and perfect on an ice cream cone.
• If your kitchen isn’t too hot, you can store your Chocolate Shell at room temp. Otherwise, I’d refrigerate it. It will harden in the fridge, but a few quick spins in the microwave will liquefy it again.
• You can make the Chocolate Shell in whatever portion size you like. Halve it, or even double or triple it. It will keep a long time in the refrigerator.
• Don’t be put off by how the chocolate and the coconut oil look before they’re all properly stirred together. The first time you make it, you might think it looks pretty disgusting (I did!), but I promise it turns out really well in the end.
• I think the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is wonderful here, producing a rich ice cream bar flavor. But feel free to try any kind of chocolate, milk or dark or anything in-between.
Back in August of 2017 (23 posts ago!), I wrote a post sharing two more of my very easy and very delicious homemade ice cream recipes: Coffee Cinnamon and Chocolate Pecan Brickle. If you haven’t tried those yet, you can find the recipes here. In that post I said, “In the future I’ll share a cheat I use to make a “cooked custard” ice cream without actually cooking anything.” And I will, specifically the Pistachio Ice Cream that makes Glen’s eyes roll back in his head. But that will have to wait until this dental work is all behind me and I can eat nuts again. That’s at least three weeks away, so . . . sorry, Glen.
In the meantime, I’m thinking my recipe for Vichyssoise might be just the ticket.