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Recipe for homemade ice cream and waffle cones
Ice cream

It is hot today. Okay, maybe you folks out in the Midwest, the East Coast, the Southwest and the Southeast wouldn't think so. But we live in the Bay Area. A nice summer day is in the mid-70's; a hot day hits 80. Today it was closer 90. That's hot enough for me to make ice cream!

I bought whole milk and heavy whipping cream when grocery shopping earlier this week. I was counting on the weatherman's predictions coming true and the Bay Area heating up this weekend. And heat up it did!

I came home this afternoon and threw together a quick batch of vanilla ice cream. My parents gave us the ice cream maker they never use, so making ice cream is a simple job for me. I just mix together the cream, sugar an vanilla, throw it all in the ice cream maker and 15 minutes later it's done!

I've experimented with a couple really tasty flavors - banana, brown sugar, strawberry. But usually I stick with vanilla ice cream because it's so versitile. There is always something I've baked around the house - peanut butter blondies, chocolate chip cookies, rhubarb cobber - and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream tops each of those off perfectly.

I'm sitting here eating my nice crisp salad, freshly picked from the garden. I'm drinking a nice, cold glass of buttermilk. And I'm waiting for that first spoonful of creamy, refreshing vanilla ice cream.

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Creaming time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Serves: Just about fills a half gallon ice cream container
One day early: Freeze your ice cream maker bowl

Ingredients

4 cups milk *
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. vanilla
2 cups half & half or heavy cream
1 tsp. guar gum (optional) **

* Whole milk and low fat milk both work. The higher the fat content, the creamier the ice cream. I usually use low fat milk and half & half, but sometimes I'll splurge and use whole milk with heavy whipping cream in order to get a thick, rich, creamy ice cream. That's what I'm doing today.

** Guar gum is a natural, powdery substancy, similar in consistency to flour, that comes from guar beans. I use it to thicken the ice cream, but it's not necessary. Guar gum is often used in gluten-free baking and is available at health food stores, and probably Whole Foods. If you do use guar gum in your ice cream - a little goes a long way. One teaspoon per batch is plenty. If you don't use guar gum in your ice cream, remember - the higher the fat content, the creamier the ice cream.

Steps

1. One day before making your ice cream, freeze your ice cream maker bowl.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, cream and vanilla.

3. In a small bowl, Whisk together sugar and the guar gum.

I mix the guar gum into the sugar to prevent the guar gum from clumping in the milk mixure. The guar gum acts as a thickener in cold liquids. If guar gum is added directly to the milk mixture and it doesn't get mixed in quickly and evenly enough, it will clump. I've found that mixing the guar gum into the sugar prevents this the clumping.

4. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

5. Pour the milk mixture into your ice cream mixer bowl. Turn on and let mix for 15 minutes, or until mixture becomes a soft-serve consistency.

If you want to add extra treats, add them about 3 minutes before the ice cream is done. Some additions I've tried are caramel sauce, nuts and fruit. Cookie dough, peanut butter, chocolate chips and marshmallows would all be great additions.

6. Pour ice cream into your storage container and freeze for two hours.

7. Enjoy!!




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