The promise of warm spring days is right around the corner, and it’s almost time to break out the ice cream maker again. There are endless variations of ice cream that you can make, but all of my favorites involve using egg yolks.
Yes, you can make ice cream without any egg, like in our recipe for cinnamon honey ice cream, but the egg helps to keep ice crystals from forming in the dessert and keeps it creamy smooth. It also gives you the silky mouth feel that you simply can’t get without egg yolk.
I’m going to share with you the best base recipe I know. You can change this up a million different ways to make any number of ice cream flavors, and I’ll offer a few of my favorite variations as well.
You can add different extract flavors, chopped nuts, fruit purees, and so on. Make up your own crazy combinations! Just don’t let the idea of making the egg base frighten you off. It really will give you the best homemade ice cream.
Once your base has reached the desired thickness, add two vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise with the seeds scraped out, and throw the split beans and their seeds into the mixture. Allow this to steep for 30 minutes before straining.
Salted Caramel Version
In a medium pot over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup sugar with 3 tablespoons water, swirling the mixture frequently, until sugar turns a deep golden brown in color. Continue making the regular ice cream base in the same pot, using 1/2 cup sugar instead of the 2/3 cup the recipe calls for.
Make sure the caramel and cream mixture is completely smooth before adding your egg yolks. Then, continue with the basic recipe as described above. At the end of the churning process, sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt, and let it churn for another couple of minutes.
In a medium saucepan, toast 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut until it’s golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pot, toast up another cup of shredded unsweetened coconut until golden brown.
Proceed with the base recipe in the same pot, but replace one of the cups of cream with a cup of coconut milk. Let the custard steep off the heat for 1 hour before straining out the shredded coconut and other solids. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of coconut that you first toasted to the base during the last 2 minutes of churning.
Make the chocolate base by bringing 3/4 cup cream and 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to a simmer in a saucepan. Chop up a bar of semisweet baking chocolate and put 1 cup of the chopped chocolate in a separate heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot cocoa mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts, and the mixture is smooth.
Make the ice cream base using 1 1/2 cups milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and no cream. Then, stir the chocolate mixture into the cooked base along with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then strain and chill.
Chocolate Hazelnut Version
Make the base with 2 cups milk, 1 cup cream, and only 1/4 cup sugar. Once the base has been cooked and strained, stir 1 cup of a chocolate hazelnut spread into the mixture, and stir well to fully incorporate. Chill and proceed as stated above.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor combo? Tell us in the comments!
About Ashley Martell
Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.