It may be harder to achieve the fudge ripples and caramel swirls of prepackaged ice creams, but homemade ice cream has its own set of advantages. Now, I’m not going to argue against the convenience factor of store bought ice cream, or the fact that many are of outstanding quality, but they can be pretty expensive, so one of the advantages of making it at home that you can get great quality ice cream on a regular basis (we all know that the lower quality stuff at stores is usually pretty inexpensive and, while it can do in a pinch, you usually get what you pay for). The other advantages are that it is completely customizable as far as flavorings and mix-ins go and it can be fun to make.
The only thing you really need to make homemade ice cream is an ice cream maker. I’ve been making homemade ice cream on a semi-regular basis almost as long as I can remember. My first ice cream maker was a hand-cranked, blue machine shaped like a penguin (no, it wasn’t linux powered) which doesn’t seem to be sold anymore. Instead, for a child, an ice cream ball is a good choice. It can be shaken or kicked around to process the cream base into ice cream fairly quickly. For the more grown up ice cream enthusiast, an electric machine is the way to go. I currently use a Cuisinart 1 1/2qt Automatic Ice Cream Maker for ice creams, frozen yogurts, etc. and have gotten great results with it. It requires the use of a prefrozen canister, but there are many machines that do not require one, like the Deni Compressor Ice Cream Maker.
Once you’ve got the machine, you just need time and a good recipe before you’re ready to churn: