The appeal of homemade ice cream is that you can eat it as soon as it is done churning in your ice cream maker. You don’t necessarily expect it to be better than the ice cream you’d get at a local ice cream shop, but if you don’t, you should definitely raise your expectations for homemade ice cream. It is definitely possible to turn out batches of artisan-quality ice cream at home – especially if you are using a book like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home to start you out. The cookbook contains recipes from the Ohio-based ice cream shop Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which has been specializing in top-quality ice creams made with top-quality, locally sourced ingredients, and shares these recipes so that you can make them in your own kitchen.
You’re not going to get the usual flavor suspects in this cookbook. While you will find a vanilla bean ice cream recipe, the rest of the book includes tempting and unusual flavors such as Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Red Cherries and the Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. There is something for everyone – and plenty of flavors that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with when you decide to try them. The recipes are all accompanied by a brief description of the flavor, the ingredients or how the recipe was originally conceived. The ingredients are clearly listed and the directions are very easy to follow. There is a small “tasting notes” section on each recipe page where you can write in your thoughts about each flavor as you make it, which is helpful for future reference and inviting if you don’t usually write in your cookbooks (or forget to after making changes to a recipe!).
You will need an ice cream maker to make these recipes if you want to ensure that you get the best results. The ice creams will be ready to eat right out of the machine, but unlike many homemade ice creams, these freeze into easily-scooped forms that really make them seem like you bought them at a local artisanal ice cream shop and brought them home. Jeni clearly tries to seek out locally made ingredients, and for the best results you may want to consider heading down to your local farmers’ market to source fresh fruits, high quality cheeses and other ingredients – and you might want to consider sharing a taste or two of your finished product in return.