“You have to tell your kids ‘no’ about so many things, say ‘yes’ whenever you can.”
This little tidbit was passed on to me by my sweet mother-in-law on our last visit. She said that when she was raising her littles, it helped her re-think how she approached her kids small requests. You can’t always say “yes” to everything, obviously, but saying “yes” when you can is a way to make small, everyday moments special.
That was the case late last week when my three-year-old asked if we could make ice cream. About a month or so ago I threw together some ice cream for fun, and the idea has popped back into his head now and then since. I have a small ice cream maker that we picked up at a yard sale last year that runs surprisingly quietly and isn’t a massive intrusion on my kitchen counter, so it’s not like I have to go out and buy ice, set up the maker on the porch, and muck about with all that mess. It made it easier to just smile and say, “Okay. Let’s do it.”
It also helps that I recently learned how to make egg-free, no-cook ice cream. It’s not quite as creamy and smooth as a traditional custard-based ice cream, but it tastes good and satisfies the yen.
The simple base for the ice cream is:
- 2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
That’s it. Add extracts, candy, cookies, nuts, etc. and you’re good to go! So it’s easy to experiment with flavors. You can throw it together, dump it in your maker per its instructions, and go to town. I don’t even chill the mix first. It provided a sweet, easy way to connect with my kids and teach them a little something about kitchen magic.
Previously I made a Mint Cookies ‘n’ Creme ice cream that turned out pretty fantastic, in my humble opinion; I will share the recipe in another post after I get the chance to do a little tweaking. But this time I wanted to do something a little richer, with a more “grown up” flavor. I poked through my pantry and pulled out brown sugar, maple extract, and pecans. Aww, yiss…
It. Was. Delicious. And, as I said before, it’s so easy!! (You know, depending on your ice cream maker’s particular needs, but making the ice cream liquid itself is simple as can be!)
So, ready to get started? Here we go!
Maple Praline Ice Cream
- 2 C Heavy Whipping Cream (I used half-and-half, on hand, but HWC is ideal)
- 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/4 C Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Maple Flavor (more as desired)
- 1/3 C Chopped Pecans (more as desired; toast them if you’re feeling fancy)
- Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Taste and alter proportions as needed. 1/3 C of Chopped Pecans is a reasonable amount of nuts, but if you like a very nutty ice cream, you may increase to 1/2 C.
- Set mixture aside (chill as desired, or per ice cream machine instructions) and set up your ice cream maker per manual instructions.
- Pour in ice cream and chill per maker instructions.
- When the ice cream maker stops, transfer the ice cream to a container (I simply used a glass loaf pan) and seal (I used saran wrap), then transfer to freezer or deep freeze and allow to cure for 2-3 hours.
When it comes out of the maker it might be overly soft (or that might just be an artifact of my personal ice cream machine). Putting it in the freezer will help it toughen up a bit, but having been through the churning process will ensure that it doesn’t get rock hard in the freezer. It really does have a nice texture to it.
And if you’re jonesing for a particular flavor of ice cream remember that simple base (cream and sweetened condensed milk), and add in about two teaspoons of extract or flavor, then candy, nuts, cookies, and so forth, and see what you come up with. If you have a favorite flavor combo, share in the comments below! Happy ice-creaming!!
Thanks for reading!