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Celebrate July 4th with homemade ice cream


These 4th of July recipes are the perfect way to treat your taste buds this summer:

(CBS News) I love summer.

All things happy come with warm weather and sunshine: dresses, flip-flops, beaches, frozen drinks, ice cream...all ingredients for a perfect day.

Every summer, without fail, I get this urge to buy an ice cream machine. I mean, how awesome would it be to make homemade ice cream for the Fourth of July? That's right, so awesome.

Video: Homemade ice cream for the Fourth of July

Problem is, I'd have to practically move out of my small NYC apartment to make room for it. Maybe use it as a night table?

But I'd almost consider it this year, given the fantastic recipe for vanilla ice cream I learned in class.

And, turns out that knowing a simple recipe for vanilla ice cream really opens the doors to a limitless variety of flavors. All you have to do is add 'a little of this and a little of that' to your heavy cream, and let it steep before you strain and churn:

  • Mint (muddled mint leaves and/or mint extract)
  • Coffee (coffee beans)
  • Chocolate (cocoa powder and/or melted chocolate)
  • Pistachio (ground pistachios and almond extract)
  • Caramel (caramel sauce)

So many options, so little time!

Since it'd be a waste to let this recipe go unused, I'm passing it on to you lucky ducks who have the space for such a rewarding piece of culinary equipment.

For those of you like me, with no ice cream machine, fret not. This recipe also makes a great vanilla sauce for desserts: think a warm brownie with vanilla sauce... or cake, or cookies, or donuts. Yum.

Watch the video above to learn how to make the base for vanilla ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream (Creme Anglaise)
Adapted from The International Culinary Center

  • 2 cups milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt

1. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, the vanilla bean and the seeds, and cook until bubbles appear around the rim, about 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture becomes a pale yellow color. Temper your eggs in the bowl with half of the hot heavy cream mixture, and pour into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sauce has thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes (the sauce should cover your spoon, and you should be able to draw a line through the sauce with your finger).

4. Immediately strain the sauce into a bowl over ice to stop the cooking. When cool, add to your ice cream machine, following manufacturer's instructions for best results. OR: Serve as a vanilla dipping sauce.

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