This story is part of Home TipsCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Don’t underestimate the power of your food processor. Amid the summer heat, this kitchen gadget can help you stay cool by churning out delicious homemade ice cream—no really ice machine necessary.
Let’s face it: an ice cream maker is a one-trick pony. And given the limited space in our kitchens, machines for the dessert genre aren’t always a top priority. Some of the more ice cream obsessed among us (Hm) think it should be the most important kitchen utensil, but most people will love finding other uses for gadgets you already have in your closets. A food processor is versatile, but we can think of no finer use for your trusty machine than making homemade ice cream.
Any food processor with at least an eight-cup capacity will do the job; CNET rated the Cuisinart FP-8SVP as the cheapest food processor of the ones we’ve tried and it will certainly work for mixing your ice cream base.
Real ice cream, not “nice cream”
You can find tons of “ice cream” recipes made in an ice cream based food processor frozen Bananas instead of the classic cream, egg, and sugar base (often called Nice Cream in reference to their healthy vegan status and perhaps also their ease of preparation). It’s really very good, but sometimes we want the real thing. Sweet-cold-creamy obsessive Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, shares a quick and easy way to make traditional ice cream at home without an ice cream maker.
You can use Bauer’s basic recipe for vanilla ice cream as a starting point: omit the vanilla bean and make the base through step two, then follow the steps she outlines here:
How to make ice cream in your food processor
1. Follow the basic recipe you want to make the pudding from. Don’t add any mix-ins yet, just cream, eggs, and sugar—and whatever ingredients are there just for flavor (see note below for more info).
2. Pour the pudding into a Ziploc bag and squeeze out every last bit of air. Seal tightly and lay flat in the freezer. Let freeze completely.
3. Crumble the frozen pudding into your food processor and process until completely smooth. At this point, you can stir in any mixtures or additional flavors you’d like.
4. Scrape the ice into your storage container (which can be a reusable ice cream carton or just a regular loaf tin) and place back in the freezer. That’s it!
The texture of this food processor ice cream is a bit finer, a bit like gelato. But you can turn it into any flavor you like and stir in all sorts of mix-ins, from chopped peanut butter cups to fresh berries.
note: If you want more flavor, you can let things like fresh mint, coarsely ground espresso beans, or whole cinnamon sticks steep in the cream for a few hours or overnight before straining and starting the recipe above. You can also mix in vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and other flavorings, but you don’t want any admixtures going in until the base has been frozen and flashed—otherwise they’ll be completely powdered.
The importance of air
Why can’t you just make the pudding, freeze it and eat it right away? Stirring air into your ice as you freeze it is important if you want to avoid large ice crystals and end up with a sad, solid block. You want something creamy and delicious that coats your tongue—not icy, crunchy ice cream. But if you stir your ice cream after The pudding’s frozen, that’s the next best thing.
If you don’t already have a food processor, you probably want one right now, right? It’s definitely more versatile than an ice cream maker.
Don’t just stop at vanilla
There are hundreds of ice cream recipes online that you can try using this food processor method. Just remember to follow the steps above and avoid solid interference during the initial mixing. Something tells us this is going to be the best summer ever.
And when you do We have the counter property for an ice machine tested Ninjas Creami ice cream machine and gave it a big thumbs up.
If you’re looking for more delicious dishes to try this summer, check out our alternative Dirty Shirley Recipesour guide to making whipped lemonade and this fun way of making a Chocolate cake in five minutes.
More kitchen tips and hacks to read
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