It’s almost summertime and the livin’s easy. Temperatures are about to creep up, which means it’s time to cool down with a cone of ice cream.
It’s America’s favorite dessert, with over 85% of households consuming ice cream. But things are changing.
A big chill is coming over ice cream manufacturers that load their products up with preservatives and artificial ingredients. Families are now satisfying their sweet tooth with smaller batches, quality ingredients, and unique flavor combinations.
One way to stay “free-from” GMOs is by investing in your own ice cream machine. In addition to being fun for the whole family, homemade ice cream keeps out unwanted additives, leaving only the sweet taste of sugar and cream.
So here’s the scoop on 10 frozen desserts that you can easily make at home.
1. Fresh Churned Ice Cream
There’s a reason why ice cream is a billion dollar industry ($6.5 billion in sales per year to be exact). It makes kids happy, it’s enjoyable in any season, and it can even take the edge off a bad breakup.
While vanilla remains to be the favorite flavor, ice cream “mix-ins” are all the rage right now. Stir these ingredients into your freshly made cream for a delicious treat.
- Fresh berries
- Candies such as chocolate chips, M&Ms, and Reeses
- Walnuts, pecans, pistachios
- Shaved coconut
- Peanut butter or almond butter
- Oreos, cookie dough or cookie butter
- Maple syrup
Unique ice cream flavors are also popping up in frozen dairy aisles all over the country and can easily be copied using your own ice cream machine. Don’t knock it till you try it, but bacon, green tea, and lavender are a few flavors that are exciting people’s taste buds.
A lighter and fruitier alternative to its creamy cousin, sorbet is refreshing and packed with flavor. Passion fruit, peach, raspberry and other tropical ingredients are most popular.
Sorbet is often preferred as a less-indulgent dessert since it doesn’t have added sugars, only those that naturally occur in fruit. This also makes it quite popular among vegans and those with non-dairy diet restrictions.
Rose sorbet, also called Frose, makes a stunning debut every summer, showing up at pool parties, waterside restaurants, and rooftop bars. All you need is your favorite bottle of rose, water, sugar and a bit of lemon.
A shaved ice machine can also be used to make adult-friendly drinks. Simply add wine to your shaved ice or a bit of tequila, sour mix, and lime.
Also refreshingly fruity, but it contains small amounts of dairy to make it slightly creamy. Flavor profiles are often citrus, using fresh juice from lemons, limes, and oranges.
If you plan to throw a pool party or backyard barbeque this summer, use your ice cream machine to whip up a fruit punch sherbet. Fill a large bowl with the punch, and add in sherbet scoops for a delicious treat to beat the summer heat.
4. Frozen Yogurt
This healthier alternative has gained much popularity over the past few years. From Pinkberry to Sweet Frog, frozen yogurt shops continue to pop up all over the country. They offer fun flavors and a wide variety of toppings from gummy bears to cheesecake chunks.
Make your own using whole milk or a less fattening 2%. For extra protein, try vanilla flavored Greek yogurt and sweeten naturally with fresh fruit, applesauce or almond butter.
Frozen yogurt is also a great way to trick your kids into adding more protein and calcium into their diets.
5. Ice Cream Sandwiches
Serve these up at a birthday party or for dessert one night. To save time, prep the ice cream beforehand and store in your freezer until needed.
Whip up a batch of traditional dark chocolate cookies, or homemade chocolate chip cookies for a crispier texture. Grahm crackers, donuts or waffles can also take the place of cookies.
Get creative by rolling your sandwiches in toppings such as fruity pebbles, walnuts, or peppermint.
When it comes to cookie size, you can even think outside the circle and make a giant ice cream sandwich cookie cake.
A favorite after dinner treat that’s found on the dessert menu of any authentic Italian restaurant. Affogato combines a few scoops of frozen cream with a steaming shot of espresso.
While most restaurants usually serve vanilla ice cream, you can switch things up with other flavors such as toffee, chocolate, or peppermint.
This combination of coffee and dessert has just the right pick me up while satisfying your craving for something sweet.
7. Spiked Milkshakes
Adults like milkshakes too, especially when you add a shot of liquor in. Spiked milkshakes gained a lot of popularity among the Sunday brunch crowd, as a sweet alternative to mimosas and marys.
Enjoying one is a meal in itself, but packs a nice punch. Bourbon, whiskey, rum or vodka does the trick, but here are a few pairing recommendations:
- Bourbon and hot fudge
- Mint liquor and chocolate chips
- Peach liquor and cinnamon
- Rum and cream of coconut
- Fruit Loop vodka and blackberries
- Spiced rum and bananas
- Salted caramel vodka and caramel
- Whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream
- Marshmallow vodka and sprinkles
- S’mores vodka and graham crackers
While gettin’ boozy is for adults only, you can make non-alcoholic versions of these recipes for the kids.
8. Ice Cream Floats
This old-fashioned treat is reminiscent of a mom and pop diner, complete with soda fountains, checkered floors, and bright vinyl booths.
Typically made by adding soda or syrup, this drink can also be made with a fruit puree floater. Try watermelon, cherry or strawberry for a refreshing twist.
Root beer, cream soda, and traditional Coke or Pepsi may be the most classic, but you can switch things up with cherry Coke, Orange Crush, or Mountain Dew.
Ginger beer will give your soda a spicy flair, or you can always go with the real thing and add a bit of Guinness to make a frothy stout.
Flavored club sodas such as La Croix or Pelligrino pack less sugar, while still adding a hint of fruit.
9. Dairy-Free Alternatives
Veganism has had quite an impact on the frozen dessert industry, creating a demand for dairy-free options that substitute coconut milk, almond milk, and flavored soy milk.
When making your own, full-fat coconut milk works best and can be naturally sweetened with agave syrup or honey. You can also make your own almond or cashew milk using nuts, sea salt, filtered water and a sweetener of your choice.
These less indulgent alternatives are especially popular for those with special dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance.
10. Holiday Themed Treats
Frozen desserts aren’t just for summertime, so no need to put that ice cream machine away once the weather gets cold.
Incorporate fall favorite ingredients into standard vanilla ice cream for an apple crisp or pumpkin pie flavor.
Homemade ice cream can get into the holiday spirit with a bit of peppermint or eggnog. Create a peppermint chocolate swirl with crushed candy canes and decadent hot fudge. Or pour in eggnog, spiced rum, and nutmeg.
Which Ice Cream Machine Is Best?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for freshly churned ice cream.
With such a demand, small companies can charge a pretty penny for a pint of ice cream. Making homemade frozen desserts in your own ice cream machine will save you money in the long run.
There are many models on the market, with different hardness settings and freezing functions. So read up on ice cream machine reviews to ensure you pick the best machine for your needs.
So do your research and dig in.