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I’m dating myself when I ask, “Do you remember the days when we made ice cream by kicking a can around?”
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We didn’t have an ice-cream maker growing up, but that never stopped us from making homemade ice cream. If you’re not familiar with this old-school summertime treat, let me fill you in on our family tradition.
To make it, we needed two cans, both with lids: A large can, normally a three-pound Nabob coffee can; and a smaller can, like an Ovaltine can. Both cans were needed because we had to fit the smaller can inside the larger one, with a little bit of space between the two cans’ walls.
Inside the smaller can, my mom would add equal amounts of milk and heavy cream, a little sugar and a little vanilla. She would stir this mixture up with a wooden spoon until the sugar was mostly dissolved. She’d then cover the can with the lid and secure it with duct tape.
Once fully secured, she’d position the smaller can into the larger can and fill the space between the cans with crushed ice and rock salt. She’d seal the top of the larger can with more duct tape, and my brother and I would take the can out into the yard and kick it around for about 30 minutes. On warm days, my mom would have to refill the ice and salt. Those 30 minutes always felt so long! Despite the less than perfect ice cream, we couldn’t wait to dig in. To our young palates, this ice cream was the yummiest thing.
I still don’t own an ice-cream maker. I keep vowing to purchase one, but when I can make homemade ice cream without an ice-cream maker it’s a little hard to justify spending that sort of money. My no-churn ice-cream skills have improved since our kick-the-can ice-cream days.
Did you know that ice cream can be made easily with a stand mixer or even an electric hand mixer? All you need is heavy cream, condensed milk and whatever flavourings your heart desires. You’ll need about five minutes to whip up the mixture and another eight hours of freezing time. It does require a little more patience, but there’s no kicking involved.
For a creamier ice cream, I recommend stirring the mixture every three hours or so to break up the ice crystals. Note that this extra stirring is not required. It’s only if you’re very particular about having a super creamy texture. I’ve made no churn ice cream both ways. I will use the stir method if making a single flavoured ice cream. I do not recommend the stirring method if you’re making a swirled or layered ice cream.
Here are two of my favourite, no-churn recipes. The cookies and cream ice cream is easy and straight forward, requiring only three ingredients: Heavy cream, condensed milk and Oreo cookies. Since it’s a single flavour, using the stirring method to create a creamier ice cream works. However, I do not recommend stirring the Spumoni ice cream as you’ll want to maintain its separate, distinct flavours.
3-INGREDIENT NO-CHURN COOKIES & CREAM ICE CREAM
Cookies & cream ice cream combines vanilla ice cream with chunks of crunchy, chocolatey Oreo cookie bits, creating an all-time favourite dessert.
2 cups (480ml) heavy cream
2/3 can (200ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 270g box Oreo cookies
Place Oreo cookies into a heavy-duty zipper bag. Using a rolling pin, crush up the Oreo cookies, filling intact, into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
In a stand mixer outfitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form.
With the machine still running, drizzle the sweetened condensed milk in a single stream over the whipped cream. Continue whisking until soft peaks form once again.
Add the crushed Oreo cookies, and using a rubber spatula, fold the cookies into the cream mixture until well combined.
Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
For a smoother, creamier and denser ice cream, remove the container from the freezer after 3 hours. Using a rubber spatula, stir and break up the icy chunks. Return the container to the freezer and freeze for another 3 hours. Repeat process. Return the container to the freezer to chill for another 2 hours. Remove container from the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes before scooping and serving. Enjoy!
NO-CHURN SPUMONI ICE CREAM
Spumoni is a classic Italian ice cream consisting of 3 delicious flavours and pieces of fruit and nuts. This recipe, however, takes it up a notch by packing the flavours with chunks of maraschino cherries, chocolate-covered pistachios and bite-size pieces of good, dark chocolate. You’ll be hard pressed to keep your serving to only 1 bowl.
3 cups (720ml) heavy cream
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
Cherry Ice Cream:
1/2 cup (80g) chopped maraschino cherries
1 tsp (5ml) almond extract
1 drop pink food colouring (optional)
Pistachio Ice Cream:
1/2 cup (50g) chocolate-covered pistachio or regular pistachio, roughly chopped
1 tsp (5ml) pistachio syrup
1 drop green food colouring (optional)
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
2 tbsp (15g) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (85g) good dark chocolate, chopped into bite-size pieces.
In a stand mixer, whisk heavy cream until the soft peak stage.
With the machine still running, drizzle the condensed milk over the whipped cream. Continue whipping until the mixture is combined and the cream forms soft peaks.
Divide the mixture into 3 different bowls of equal portions.
In the first bowl, add the maraschino cherries, almond extract and pink food colouring, if using. With a rubber spatula, fold mixture until combined. Set aside.
In the second bowl, add the chocolate-covered pistachio, pistachio syrup and green food colouring, if using. With another clean spatula, fold the mixture until combined. Set aside.
In the last bowl, add the vanilla extract and cocoa powder. With a clean spatula, mix well until no streaks of cocoa powder is visible. Fold the chopped chocolate into the chocolate mixture. Set aside.
In a freezer-safe container, dollop the different ice-cream flavours on top of each other. Level off the top of the ice cream with a clean spatula. Place the container in the freezer and freeze for 8 hours or until solid.
To serve, remove container from the freezer and leave it on the counter to thaw for 10-20 minutes prior to serving. Alternatively, place the container in the refrigerator for 30-35 minutes to allow it to soften. Serve as usual. Enjoy!
Karen Gordon is a food blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com, on Instagram at @karen.t.ology, and on Pinterest @karentologyblog.