The secret to silky smooth homemade ice cream: “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams”

“Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” is artfully
designed and easy to read. And no, I’m not a paid
sponsor, just a big fan.

Raise your hands, homemade ice cream lovers… How many of you have concocted luscious ice cream flavors, only to have the consistency turn icy, chunky, or flaky after freezing? How many of you, like me, thought: Okay, I’ll up the heavy cream quotient, only to generate dessert that leaves a filmy, icky residue behind? Frustrated, I’ve turned away from the Cuisinart and back to Dreyer’s. Well, no longer.

It seems I’ve figured out the key to damn fabulous homemade ice cream: The book “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

Author Jen Britton Bauer, an ice cream maker from Columbus, Ohio, pretty much blew my mind with her secrets to small batch ice cream success. She outlines some of the science behind ice cream and discusses what molecular reactions contribute to consistency problems. And what’s awesome– She wrote the book for home production in mind. That means accessible language and small quantities.

Most of her artisanal recipes (of which there are more than 100 in the book, broken up by season) feature a base concoction that involves some measure of cream cheese, whole milk, heavy cream, corn syrup and a corn starch slurry. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Corn syrup in my ice cream?? Well, it’s just a couple tablespoons of non-high fructose stuff, which, when combined with the corn starch slurry and cream cheese, account for the silkiest, smoothest, most delicious ice cream ever to come from my kitchen. (Also, she does offer substitutions for the corn-related items such as tapioca powder or syrup.)

So far I’ve tried the Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (shared below) and The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World which both received rave reviews in this house. It surprises me not at all that the book is a New York Times best seller and a James Beard Cookbook Award winner.

Skeptical? Try this recipe today. And then get the book. You won’t be disappointed! (Again, not a paid sponsor. Just a fan!)

Vanilla ice cream and fudgy Nutella brownies. That’s happiness.

Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted only the tiniest bit from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

– 2 cups whole milk, divided
– 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
– 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) regular cream cheese, room temperature
– 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
– 1.5 cups heavy cream
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
– 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped/reserved

1. In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons milk with cornstarch to make a slurry.
2. In a medium bowl, wisk cream cheese and salt until smooth. (I found that the cream cheese will get stuck in the whisk. Don’t worry about that at this point.)
3. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla seeds and bean in a medium sized pot. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat (taking care not to let it boil over, like some people). Cook for four minutes.
4. Remove pot from heat. Re-stir the cornstarch slurry so it’s smooth and then gradually whisk into the cream mixture.
5. Bring cream mixture back to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook for about a minute until slightly thickened.
6. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. (Make sure to get all the cream cheese bits whisked out perfectly smooth now.)
7. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes while you fill a large bowl with ice and water, heavy on the ice.
8. Pour mixture into a gallon ziplock, seal tightly, and then place ziplock into the ice bath. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
9. When properly chilled, remove vanilla bean and pour ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin about 20-25 minutes.
10. Pack ice cream into a storage container, pressing a sheet of parchment directly against the surface of the ice cream. Seal with an airtight lid and freeze until firm, about four hours.
11. Enjoy! (This ice cream pairs tremendously well with these fudgy Nutella brownies, just FYI.)


Other sweet things

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