There are lots of great ice creams out there, but, as is the case with so many foods, there is something a little extra special about making your own ice cream at home. The disadvantage of making your own ice cream is that it tends to take longer than running out to the store to buy some. Many ice cream bases start with a mixture of cooked cream and/or eggs that needs to be cooled down in the fridge for several hours before being poured into an ice cream maker (unless you have a very expensive ice cream machine at your disposal). Fortunately, there are some ways to skirt that long chilling time and one is to make an ice cream base that starts out cold.
A perfect ingredient to start out with is sweetened condensed milk. Thick and sweet, the milk blends in with cream easily and many ice creams that use it require no cooking whatsoever. For instance, right on the Eagle Brand website you can find a recipe for vanilla ice cream that has only three ingredients (check out their suggestions for making the recipe without an ice cream maker if you don’t have one!) and needs no prep time.
As much as I like Eagle Brand’s 3- ingredient vanilla ice cream, it’s not practical for me to make it at home. My 1.5-qt. Cuisinart ice cream maker simply isn’t big enough to hold all of the base mixture! So I ended up playing with that original recipe until I got an equally easy recipe with great flavor that actually fits into my ice cream maker. I use sweetened condensed milk, half n’ half, milk and add in a little bit of sour cream to make the ice cream a bit less sweet. I use 2 full tablespoons of vanilla extract, which I will always substitute for vanilla bean paste when I have it on hand because I love the way that those vanilla bean flecks look in the finished product.
Speaking of which, this ice cream is light and refreshing, with a creamy texture that isn’t too heavy because it doesn’t use heavy cream. It is sweet, but not overly so, and has a good vanilla flavor to it. After churning, you’ll want it to firm up in the freezer for an hour or two before serving.
Update: Looking for a no-churn recipe that you don’t need an ice cream maker for? Check out my No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream!
Quick Vanilla Ice Cream
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cup half n’ half
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
Combine sweetened condensed milk and sour cream in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in half n’ half (or light cream), milk and vanilla extract until well blended. Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers’ directions.
Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for about 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
Makes about 1.5 quarts ice cream