The finished ice cream is rich and smooth. Topped with sprinkles it makes the perfect “instant” treat.

Michele makes….ice cream

It’s summer in the Santa Clarita Valley. It’s hot. What can you do with the family that’s fun and gives you a sweet, cool treat as a reward? One of the simple joys of summer is ice cream. A great family activity is making homemade ice cream with your kids. Experimenting with flavors and ice cream recipes is one of my favorite summer past times.

Making ice cream

There are a few ways to make ice cream. Most ice cream recipes can be “churned” in just about any ice cream maker you purchase. Your choice of ice cream maker can be inexpensive or high end. Hand crank, electric crank, freezer bowl or ice cream compressor, spend as much, or as little, as you want. There’s just nothing that compares to homemade ice cream.

You can even make ice cream in a bag. This is a great exercise for children. It’s a fun activity that rewards your child with a treat they made themselves.

[Abner: This has step by step images and captions. Doesn’t have to be next to the recipe.]

Way-Too-Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup half-and-half

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups ice

1/3 cup kosher salt

Toppings of your choice (chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberries or chocolate chips).

In a small plastic bag that you can seal (like a Ziplock bag), combine half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. Squeeze the air out of the bag and make sure it is completely sealed shut.

Into a large gallon-size resealable bag, combine the ice and salt. Place the small bag inside the bigger bag and shake vigorously for eight to 10 minutes. You are finished when the ice cream has firmed up.

Scrape the ice cream out of the bag, cover with toppings and enjoy.

Tip To give your kids a chance to experiment, offer them a choice of extracts (to use in moderation, no more than 1/2 tsp. to start). Try peppermint, orange, lemon, maple, rose water or other flavors.

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream

This basic recipe works with just about any home ice cream maker and serves six.

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a saucepan and add sugar and salt. Warm the mixture over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add remaining cream, milk and vanilla extract. Stir until combined and place into refrigerator to chill (about an hour).

When ready to churn, whisk mixture briskly then pour into your ice cream maker. Churn with mix-ins (see list below) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and place in the freezer until ready to serve.

Make it Better

Take Basic Vanilla Ice Cream and add in all sorts of goodies to turn your ice cream from delicious to incredible. Use 2 cups of your favorite mix-ins. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker as to the use of mix-ins.

These can include:

Brownie chunks

Toffee bits

Cookie dough

Swirls of salted caramel sauce

Reese’s Pieces

Chopped up candy bars

Gummy bears

M&Ms

Berries

Fruit

Old Fashioned Butter Brickle Ice Cream

My mother’s favorite ice cream was Butter Brickle. She always had a quart of Darigold Butter Brickle Ice Cream in the freezer. As a little girl I loved it, too. Then, one day, Butter Brickle disappeared from the grocery store freezer.

I was confused. It must just be a temporary absence, right?

Decades have passed. No Butter Brickle ice cream to be found. Yes, there is “toffee this” and “salted caramel” that, but none of it is real Butter Brickle. I have searched high and low for the Darigold ice cream recipe to no avail.

Butter Brickle was the registered trademark of a toffee ice cream flavoring and of a candy bar produced by Fenn Bros. Ice Cream and Candy Company from Sioux Falls, S.D. The ice cream was first sold in the 1920s at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. In the 1970s, the trademark and formula were sold to Heath Bar then acquired by The Hershey Company in 1996.

This is a two-part recipe. A butter toffee sauce to give the ice cream that butterscotch flavor and the ice cream recipe itself.

The “butter brickle” bits I remember were more butterscotch than toffee, but this is a recipe still in refinement. For now, toffee bits will suffice.

Old Fashioned Butter Brickle Ice Cream

Butter Brickle Sauce:

1 tbsp. butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

Butter Brickle Ice Cream:

2 cups half and half

3 tbsp. butter

1 cup brown sugar

4 tbsp. toffee sauce

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup toffee bits

1/2 tsp. salt

Sauce:

Add butter, brown sugar, cream and salt in saucepan and stir until butter melts. Simmer over medium-low heat without stirring for three minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Cool.

Ice Cream:

Add butter, brown sugar and half and half over medium heat until butter and sugar combine. Add the sauce and vanilla and mix. Chill minimum of 4 hours; preferably overnight.

Add heavy cream and process in ice cream machine. Add the toffee bits at the end just to mix them in. Freeze a minimum of four hours before serving.

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