Best (and Easiest) Homemade Ice Cream Recipe


Thirty years or more ago, a typical weekend summer evening (especially Memorial Day weekend) might have included sitting on the porch cranking the ice cream churn, slowly adding salt to melt the ice.  If there was more than one kid in the family, each patiently waited to take their turn at the crank (until we realized that was too much work) and then went off to play again after a few minutes of attempted churning.

Let’s face it, our parents and grandparents had the patience to temper the eggs and to source the fresh milk from the farmer down the road that would ultimately produce that richly creamy, lightly vanilla-ed, elegant specimen of ice cream that we greedily gobbled down appreciatively because we didn’t understand the true value of the gift we had been given.

Today, we find ice cream at the ready in every big box store, grocery store, even corner gas station in the neighborhood.  But those commercial representations are barely a semblance of what we fondly remember as “old-fashioned homemade ice cream.”  We all have our ice cream favorites (crafters and flavors), but for me, my absolute favorites are those I can make at home.  They still require patience, but they also allow for a measure of creativity, even a bit of culinary flair if you will.  Today’s recipes are an example of this.

We depart from the typical recipe in three very significant ways.  The first way simplifies preparation, it still requires you to patiently wait, but takes A LOT less work.  The second takes development of the flavor profile in an entirely new direction!  The third way allows for the inclusion of alcohol in an ice cream recipe – and it freezes!  Whipped cream will allow for the infusion of alcohol (bourbon, brandy, flavored vodka’s – you name it)!  We even offer two recipes and four alternatives to showcase these variations.

First, we use no stabilizers and no emulsifiers.  That means that we use no eggs.  Eggs were originally used to serve as an emulsifier.  Emulsifiers are a group of compounds in ice cream that aid in developing the right fat structure and air distribution necessary for the smooth eating and good meltdown characteristics desired in ice cream.  But in the case of our recipe below, the eggs (and other typical emulsifiers like mono and di-glycerides as well as polysorbate 80) are unnecessary – yes you read that right, unnecessary to achieve the fat structure and air distribution that lend to the creamy mouth feel!

There is also no Guar gum (guar gum is also a synonym for carob bean gum), Xanthan gum, Locust Bean gum, Sodium Alginate or Carrageenan.  Why do we mention this?  Because, there is currently a great deal of scientific and medical discussion about the potential health risks associated with these compounds.  While they currently are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), their inclusion into this category has come under review.

Secondly, while vanilla ice cream is a classic, we thought we’d use the concept to offer a twist.  How?  By taking the concept in an entirely new direction!  Vanilla extract is a tincture.  A tincture is an extraction that happens by steeping herb, spices or floral components (in our case) in a high ABV liquor (78 proof or higher) such as vodka, scotch, whiskey or bourbon.  Bitters are blends of multiple tinctures that include – the bitter component of gentian, wormwood, quassia or dandelion.

With the recent gift of three different bitters blends from AZ Bitters Lab the wheels started spinning!  Substituting one of the bitters blends in place of the vanilla extract would certainly be different.  The idea of making our own espresso blend using another of the bitters blends immediate took hold.  (We’ve even come up with names for them – Ben & Jerry’s has nothing on us!)

Before we get in to the ice cream recipes, we are also reasonably certain that the Orange, Orange Sunshine and Sangrita bitters would make great sorbet.   And, with that in mind we’d love to see them as intermezzo’s somewhere like Binkley’s or Beckett’s or Citizen’s or Christopher’s or FnB or even Posh!

And so, we present two recipes for your personal enjoyment on the next warm summer night of your choosing.  The best part of all. . . no churning is needed!

FYI:  These recipes produce ice cream that has a much higher milk fat content than you might be used to.  Embrace it!  Enjoy it!

Caution:  Some AZ Bitters Lab products contain nut related ingredients.  If you have a nut allergy, proceed accordingly!

Recipe Alternatives:

1)  Omit peaches, substitute authentic vanilla extract in place of bitters for traditional vanilla ice cream.

2)  Make Bourbon Peach Ice Cream by substituting bourbon in place of vodka and in place of the Hopi Tea Bitters.

3)  Substitute granny smith apples (peeled of course) in place of peaches, rum (any Bacardi rum will do) instead of vodka and Applewood smoked sea salt for Fumée de sel.

4)  Omit peaches and substitute egg nog in place of half-and-half, as well as brandy instead of vodka.

5)  By now the pattern has become clear.  Make your own adjustments, create your own favorite ice cream!

Monsoon Peach Ice Cream
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 6-8

simple easy homemade ice cream with bitters & booze (if you like)
  • 2 peaches
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk – 14 oz. (or you can make your own!)
  • 2 tsp. Hopi Tea Bitters (courtesy AZ Bitters Lab)
  • ½ cup vodka

  1. Halve peaches, place into large bowl or Pyrex, pour vodka over peaches then grill (this will help draw out the sweetness & caramelize some of the sugars) after grilling, dice into ½” pieces.
  2. Place heavy whipping cream and bitters in bowl and mix on high until stiff peaks form.
  3. Mix sweetened condensed milk & half and half together in bowl, then mix into whipped cream. Whipped cream will break then homogenize into rich, frothy, creamy mixture.
  4. Peaches can be folded in once you have induced as much air into the mixture as possible. The amount of air you whip into the mixture will determine how light or dense the result will be. We recommend maximum air induction!
  5. Freeze for 6-8 hours and serve with Fumée de Sel or Applewood Smoked Sea Salt on top. (we actually prefer Sel Gris de Guérande)
  6. Kick it up a notch and serve a scoop of ice cream in a grilled peach half!