Skip the Frozen Section and Make Your Own Ice Cream This Summer

It’s summer, and summer means ice cream, plain and simple. If you disagree, I’m inclined to believe that you’ve never experienced a sweltering summer, or perhaps even joy, and I’d recommend you reevaluate your principles and get a King Cone, stat.

Of course, I love the classics as much as anyone else, and you can bet I have an emergency stash of Haagen Dazs in my freezer. But I, like many others, had fallen into the trap of believing that the dessert is simply one of the things that one buys, rather than makes, like pasta or cheese.

It was just last summer that I discovered the magic of making your own ice cream. Sure, you can pick up a giant tub of chocolate chip cookie dough for a party, get a scoop of mint chocolate chip on a hot summer’s day, or eat an entire pint of Phish Food in bed on a Friday night, but making ice cream is gratifying in a way that buying it is not. It’s chemistry in action. You can bypass the traditional flavors in favor of something that’s totally your own. You can mix in everything you like and leave out all the stuff you don’t. It’s hard to screw up, and you don’t even need any special equipment (though an ice cream maker is nice). And perhaps best of all, you can pull it out of the freezer during the waning hours of a dinner party and casually announce that why yes, I did make this ice cream the other day. 

I’m still on the search for my perfect ice cream formula, but this one (minus the sesame seeds – the plain recipe seems not to exist online) from Lady Grey Ice Cream, featured in Sweet Paul magazine two summers ago, has been my go-to lately. I started this ice cream season with some subtle flavors – I used the sugar I’ve been keeping in a jar with used vanilla pods (you could just as easily add a teaspoon of vanilla extract), mixed in a shy two teaspoons of cardamom, and layered the churned ice cream with broken up shortbread cookies because my love for this shortbread recipe knows no bounds. And – spoiler alert – the shortbread is just as crumbly and buttery tucked into ice cream as it is straight from the baking sheet. It’s my new favorite thing.

So go out an get a carton of heavy cream, some milk and eggs and get wild. Caramel and olive oil? Sure. Chocolate truffle? Sign me up! Roasted strawberry and maple? Yes! The world is your oyster! Go forth and conquer, ice cream warrior! The summer’s not getting any cooler.