I Scream, You Scream: Happy National Ice Cream Day!

2015 is the year I finally start taking advantage of bizarre, themed holidays. Today is National Ice Cream Day. Why? Who knows, but it’s the middle of July and it’s freaking hot, so who cares about origin stories?! Let’s melt some sugar-cream onto our faces!

This summer, before I decided to start building a freaking house, I had major intentions to become my own little at-home ice cream shop. I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream Machine Maker Thing in a very cute color (it helps) and have made all of… one batch of ice cream in it. That’s just sad. Pathetic. Just plain old unfortunate.

Making your own ice cream might sound really intimidating, but what I love most about it is how literally everyone can do it. People with allergies, those who are lactose intolerant, vegans, people who avoid refined sugars… there’s an ice cream recipe for absolutely everyone, and that’s pretty rad.

The first recipe I ever tried making was a chocolate almond milk ice cream that had a little bit of cayenne pepper in it. It called for Xanathan gum, a thickener which I’d never used before but have since found to be a must-have for gluten-free baking (as well as many dairy-free ice creams).

These Hamilton Beach ice cream machines ($29) are nearly identical to the Cuisinart model that I have – but it’s almost half the price. The colors are slightly less charming than others I’ve seen, but I’m never going to say no to a cherry red ice cream maker! These models have a bowl that you freeze for 8+ hours (or keep in the freezer for random acts of ice cream) and then, once your ice cream mixture has been added, a paddle is inserted which rotates while the mixture slowly freezes.

Pro tip?: The colder your mixture is before going into the ice cream maker, the better. When liquids go from warm to frozen, the ice crystals that are formed are large and jagged, making for a crunchier, icy ice cream. When liquids are as close to freezing as possible before actually being frozen, the resulting ice crystals are smaller, making for a very smooth and creamy texture. The smaller the ice crystals, the better! So chill your ice cream mixture before adding it to your machine, if possible.

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And then?

White Quart Ice Cream Container
Williams-Sonoma Quart Ice Cream Container, $15.99

I am about to get myself into trouble with ice cream storage containers. Is there enough room in my freezer? Am I making ice cream because I love ice cream or because I want to use containers? It’s all a blur.

These are fun for everyone because you don’t need an ice cream maker to use them. Heck yes you can make ice cream without a machine! The texture is different, but you can get just as creative with it! Bananas are a really popular ice cream base and make for excellent ice cream that requires no machinery and no dairy!

These reusable Tovolo ice cream containers (fairly sure that “ice cream container” label comes off…) hold a quart of ice cream – that’s more than enough for… a week? A few days? The last day of finals? They also provide a handy excuse to make several different flavors and keep your freezer stocked.

Recipes to try:

If you’re not in the mood to make your own, no judgement here! I just polished off a pint of caramel chocolate swirl all by myself. Use today as an excuse to pick up a pint of local ice cream from your area. Since I’m in Washington State, here are my favorites:

Best Washington State Local Creameries:

Enjoy your ice cream today!