Monday, February 28, 2011

Homemade O'Neil Ice Cream

This past weekend we had a combined family birthday celebration, so I pulled out the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer and got whisking.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few local ice cream shops around here that I absolutely love.  But there's really nothing like good homemade ice cream.  It's so light and refreshing.  Last year, I made a vanilla fudge swirl with chocolate covered pretzel bits, and it has since become family legend.  We call this flavor O'Neil after my great grandmother who taught my grandmother and, in turn, a whole host of us, that you should always eat ice cream with pretzels.  The salty and sweet together is delicious!

I decided to make that again, but this time I hit a few snags and it didn't quite live up to the last batch.

Despite my snags, making ice cream is actually pretty easy.  I have a Ben and Jerry's ice cream cookbook and they have a few base recipes that you add ingredients to to make different flavors.  The base is eggs, sugar, milk, and heavy cream (check out the book for the exact measurements).  If you're making chocolate ice cream, you add in the chocolate before you put the mixture into the ice cream maker.  Most other ingredients get added halfway through the process or not until you take the ice cream out of the maker. 

Here is my beautifully whisked base.

My other grandmother gave me her set of Pyrex mixing bowls when she and my grandfather downsized into a smaller place.  Isn't the design on the bowls so comforting?

Here's a smaller bowl with the reverse colors.  They're so festive!

Since I was just adding fudge and pretzels, I put the base right into the ice cream maker.  All I have to do is click the attachment onto my standmixer and put the mixer on the lowest setting.  It takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes for the base to set into a soft serve consistency.

Once the ice cream looks like soft serve, you scoop it all out and put it in a freezer-safe container.  Doesn't it look yummy?

I keep the plastic ice cream containers from our local shop, so they're the perfect size!

Now we come to my first snag.  I forgot that when you are making a fudge swirl, you have to heat up the fudge slightly before swirling it into the ice cream.  Whoops!  My unheated fudge just mixed with the base, making a slightly fudgey base.  It's a good thing my family loves chocolate!  To make a fudge swirl, you scoop up some of the heated fudge on a spool and then simply swirl the spoon through the ice cream.  The fudge will come off of the spoon slowly and leave a trail in the ice cream.  It's that easy! 

My second snag was that I forgot that you should do the swirl last, after you have added in the other ingredients.  When I added the pretzels and mixed them into the ice cream, I messed up my swirls.  My only defense for this carelessness is that it was late on Friday night and I was exhausted from the day and week.  I ended up having to repeat the swirl step, so the ice cream was a lot more chocolatey than I had wanted.  It still tasted yummy though!

My third snag, which we didn't realize until we ate the ice cream the next day, was that the pretzels got soggy after being added to the ice cream.  The original batch that I made had chocolate covered pretzels and the chocolate acts as a barrier to keep the pretzel crunchy.  Next time I'll use the chocolate covered pretzels again.  And make sure to add the ingredients in the correct order!


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