Cutting Costs, Improving the Experience

I love ice cream! It's my #1 downfall. Always has been. Always will be. Offer me ice cream and I melt before the ice cream does.

But every time I buy ice cream at an ice cream store or frozen yogurt at a yogurt shop (that are seemingly popping up on every corner these days), I leave baffled, swearing "I'll never spend $5 for a single scoop of ice cream or yogurt again!!" And it seems I am not alone in this as the cover story of last week's Dining section of The New York Times echoes my same sentiments.

Aptly titled "You Scream, I the Price of Ice Cream," the article discusses the burgeoning business of artisanal ice cream (ice cream stores and ice cream trucks) across the country charging exorbitant prices for "premium" ice cream. And delicious it is. I'll give it that much. But take a family of four to get ice cream and the tab can ring up at well over $25. For ice cream.

Thanks to my trusty $50 Cuisinart ice cream maker, I've been making homemade ice cream, sorbet and gelatos for years. And for way less than a single scoop of ice cream or the cost of a pint of the premium stuff in the grocery store.

The beauty of making your own ice cream means you get to choose the kind of milk you use, how much sugar (if any) goes into your ice cream, whether you use egg yolks or not, what fruit, nut or add-in you like. You get the idea. It's a custom blend made in the privacy of your own home at the right price.

Along with the feature story on ice cream last week, there was another piece written by Melissa Clark about making ice cream without eggs. Considering she tapped my favorite dessert-go-to-guy-extraordinaire David Lebovitz, I thought it a great opportunity to whip up some homemade strawberry ice cream, which is one of the four recipes the article features. Other recipes include Roasted Hazelnut Vanilla, Maple Spice and Bittersweet Chocolate.

Yes, I've still got a bag of these frozen red beauties I got from a farmer earlier in the summer (May 1 to be exact) and, yes, I am going to use heavy whipping cream for this. So hold on, ladies and's going to be decadent and delicious!

Honestly, I can't think of a better way to begin the countdown to the end of summer, can you??

Buen provecho!

This ice cream is so dreamy we had it right from the machine!!

Summer Berry Ice Cream
The Cowgirl Gourmet ( got this recipe directly from the August 4, 2010, issue of The New York Times (an article by Melissa Clark in the Dining section)

Print recipe

I can hardly believe how utterly divine this ice cream is...but the secret is the heavy cream. So, granted, this is not something you'll want to eat every day, but it is so spectacular that you'll look forward to making it again and even mark it down on your calendar. And do not omit the vodka, as that is what keeps the creamy consistency.

After tasting this strawberry ice cream, David was so excited he suggested we make peach ice cream next and I think a coffee ice cream would be sublime as well. Whatever you do, just live it up and go with the heavy cream's worth it! (Of course, if you can find real cream from grass-fed cows, the fat would at least be good for you...)

Makes about a quart

1 1/4 cup berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or a combination)
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons, as needed
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons vodka

In a bowl, mash berries with a fork or potato masher until just slightly chunky.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream to a simmer with 1/3 cup sugar and the salt. Taste berries and if they are very tart, add 2 Tablespoons sugar to the saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Transfer to a bowl, stir in vodka and place in refrigerator or in an ice bath to chill.

When cold, pour mixture into ice cream machine. Add berries and churn according to manufacturer's directions.

Transfer to a container and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving or place in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.

Softening the ice cream before serving brings out all the flavors, so it's well worth the wait.

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