Weekend Project: Break Out the Ice Cream Maker!

Happy May, everyone! Can we declare the ice cream season officially open? Even if you've been making ice cream all year long, you've got to admit that there's something special about that first batch of homemade ice cream eaten outside on a sunny afternoon. What will you make for your first batch?

To Get You Started

If you're thinking about investing in your own ice cream maker, check out our reviews of Cuisinarts top products: the basic Automatic Ice Cream Maker and the commercial-style ICE-50bc Supreme. But don't worry, you can still make many kinds of ice cream without the fancy equipment. We've had a lot of success making simple flavors using the old camp-fire coffee can technique and also simply using sealed plastic bags.

We prefer using a simple custard base for our ice creams, though you can also try a pudding-like base with cornstarch instead of eggs. Once you're happy with your base recipe, then comes the fun part! You can infuse herbs and spices into the milk base, add frozen berries or other munchies to the churned ice cream, or even swirl in caramel, chocolate, or jam!

Basic Recipe for Custard Ice Cream
Technique for Ice Cream Base with Corn Starch
Ideas for Creating Your Own Ice Cream Flavor

Oh, You Want Some Recipes?

Thanks to our Best Licks ice cream contest last summer and the year before, we've got quite an archive of ice cream recipes to tempt and inspire you! Our winning recipes last year were Chocolate Gelato with Salted Caramel Pecans, Creamy Espresso Crunch, and Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt with Pistachio Biscotti Bits. Check out our full list of recipes for even more flavors and ideas!

If you're in the mood for something simple, there's always the classic flavors vanilla and chocolate. Sometimes that's really all we need to hit the spot.

Do you think you'll break out the ice cream maker this weekend? What flavors are you craving?

Related: DIY Mochi Ice Cream Balls

(Image: Flickr member iLoveButter licensed under Creative Commons)

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