This installment is most relevant to those of you who’ve chosen to use the KitchenAid attachment. I’m not exactly sure how the standalone ice cream makers work, except that science is involved.
The KitchenAid attachment comes with four pieces. First, the bowl — plastic, double-walled, with a chemical in between the walls that I believe is also in freezer packs. Never put this in the dishwasher. Also, if you see blue fluid leaking from anywhere, that means the seal is broken and unfortunately you’ll have to replace the entire bowl. Second, a plastic white circle that is the adapter seating for some stand mixer bases. Third, the dasher — which you put in the middle of the bowl. Fourth, the adapter for the top of the mixer, so that the dasher can turn with the motor of the stand mixer.
In my mind, there are two main types of ice cream bases — those that use egg yolks, and those that don’t (which are based solely in milk and cream). I use the egg yolk version most often. It creates the typical mouth feel we associate with ice cream. Unctuous without greasiness, it’s that smooth sensation you remember whenever you hear the phrase “cookies and cream.”
The downside of yolk-based ice cream is that the flavors you add won’t come through as cleanly as they would with just a milk/cream base. I actually don’t think this is a problem. If you use fresh ingredients for flavoring — spices, nuts, and everything else — I don’t think this is much of an issue. I find dairy-only bases to be too icy and harsh for proper mouthfeel. They lack the proper viscosity.
Making ice cream is not very complicated, and luckily most of the necessary equipment will already be in a well-stocked kitchen.
The exception to that, of course, is the ice cream maker. There are two main options to go with that I know of. The first, which I have no experience with, is the stand-alone ice cream maker. This is a single use device that literally just makes ice cream. They list at about $100 to $150. Cooks Illustrated likes the Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. That means it’s probably pretty good, given how rigorous they are with their testing.
Like all right-hearted people who eat dairy and eggs, you probably like ice cream. So do I. It’s the classic kids dessert — we all screamed for it, remember?
Unlike cookies, cakes, pies, and breads, ice cream is one of those things that requires a fair amount of capital investment to make at home. But I’m a snob when it comes to most things, and spending money on pints with too many obscure chemical ingredients was becoming a pain. Plus, if you make it yourself, you get to choose your own flavors. And people are incredibly impressed.