I rediscovered my ice cream maker. And, since I had a bunch of ice cream buckets hanging around that we had saved (it's no use buying boxes of ice cream when you have 6 kids who eat it), I had plenty of space for experiments.
We've tried a lot of things. Peanut butter chocolate chip didn't work so well. Neither did malted milk chocolate chip. Mango was good but I should have used three times the amount of mango puree. Blackberry was too flimsy a flavor, and I tried to fix it by adding cream cheese but I added too much. So now it's sort of cheesecake flavored, but too strong. Mixed berry was super yummy. Raspberry was to die for.
But our favorite so far is strawberry. I make Philadelphia Style ice cream--no eggs--because it's faster and easier. To flavor it with fruit, I buy bags of frozen fruit (I guess the're for smoothies? They all have smoothie recipes on the back). One or even two bags of frozen fruit, pureed, is about right for 4 qts of ice cream.
The Strawberry Recipe that's the very best we happened on by accident--I forgot to add a few ingredients when I was mixing it up.
Here's what we use (my ice cream maker holds 4 quarts):
Strawberry Ice Cream
2 c heavy cream
2 c milk
4 c half and half (or to fill the ice cream bucket to the line)
2 c sugar
1 large container sweetened sliced strawberries, pureed. You could even use 2 if you wanted.
Mix all the ingredients and freeze according to your ice cream freezer instructions. The ingredients I left out were 1/2 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp vanilla. What it gave us was a very strawberries-and-cream flavor instead of a strawberry "ice cream" flavor. It was super super yummy. You could skip the milk and add cream instead, I suppose. I haven't tried that.
To make raspberry ice cream (a Utah thing, and so SO good), replace the strawberries with one or two bags of frozen raspberries, pureed. Likewise for mixed berry--1-2 bags of frozen mixed berries, pureed.
Last night's experiments were highly successful, too. We made cherry at Anda's request and chocolate chocolate chip. I didn't have recipes for either of these, so I just made them up:
Cherry Ice Cream
2 c heavy cream
3 c half and half
milk to fill bucket
1 bag frozen dark sweet cherries
1 bag frozen cherries and berries (but use only the cherries and blueberries--pick out the strawberries and blackberries)
1 can apple-cherry juice concentrate
1 3/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
Puree the cherries, blueberries, and juice concentrate with enough milk or half-and-half that the blender doesn't protest. Stir together with the rest of the ingredients. Freeze according to the instructions.
That was yummy. Then, without first cleaning the ice cream bucket or dasher of the cherry ice cream (which I had just dumped into a storebought ice cream bucket and put into the freezer), I made chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. I figured the hint of cherry in the chocolate chip ice cream would be yummy, if you noticed it at all. I was right--mostly unnoticeable.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
2 c heavy cream
5 c half and half (or to fill bucket)
1 c chocolate syrup (the kind you squirt on ice cream)
1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark chocolate syrup
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
In the blender, mix 2 1/2 c half and half with half of the chocolate syrup, the vanilla, and the sugar. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (30 seconds at a time until they stir smooth). I did a cup at a time. Then, while the blender is going (on low) pour the melted chocolate into the half-and-half mixture. Pour this mixture into the ice cream can. Then mix the rest of the half-and-half and the cream with the rest of the chocolate syrups (don't mix it too long, or it gets too frothy). Add this to the ice cream can and stir well. Then freeze according to the instructions. I let this go for a long time and then pulled the plug on the ice cream maker when chocolate ice cream started gushing out the top of the can. It never did set up enough to turn the ice cream maker off by itself like it was supposed to. It came out the consistency of a milkshake. I poured it into a bucket and froze it.
Then today we decided to have some chocolate ice cream--and discovered that it never did get as hard and stiff as homemade ice cream usually does. After a whole night in the freezer, it was still just barely stiffer than soft-serve ice cream consistency. That's kind of fun. It came out super super yummy--slightly dark chocolate flavored, which I much prefer, and with tiny flecks of chocolate (you can make them bigger--like flakes of chocolate instead of flecks of chocolate--by pouring the melted chocolate chips into the cream or half and half while it's being mixed with the whip attachment on the mixer instead of in the blender). It has kind of a truffle consistency, if you can describe ice cream that way.
Next time we might mix chopped candy bars or Andes Mints Chips into the chocolate ice cream. Mmmmmm. Or maybe some raspberry puree....