HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Got my ice cream maker...............what should I make first?!


Thanks to everybody for the ice cream maker tips this weekend. I just got my ice cream maker. I decided on the cuisinart one as that's what was available.

Any suggestions for a good recipe to start with? I've had my mind stuck on making lavender ice cream but have no idea how. Also, are there any particular ingredients that are best? I.e. whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream, etc?

I'm soooooo excited to start using this machine. As soon as I came home, I stuck the bowl in the freezer. :)



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've been using mine heavily this summer and here's my impression:

    1. There are two basic types of ice cream (I'm not talking about sherbets, sorbets, granitas etc.) One is flavored frozen cream, sometimes called "Philadelphia style;" the other is flavored frozen custard, sometimes called "French style." Both are good but I like the texture of the custard type better; I have a theory that the cooked egg proteins form a lattice that inhibits ice crystal growth, but I may just have watched too many Alton Brown shows.

    2. The custard formula I've used is:

    1 cup whole milk
    1/3 cup sugar
    4 egg yolks
    1 3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream

    Measure the cream into a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. In a saucepan, heat the milk and sugar, stirring to dissolve, until little bubbles just begin to form around the edge. Drizzle this slowly into the yolks, stirring constantly; return the egg-milk mixture to the pan and heat gently until it "coats the spoon." (Roughly 170° F.) Pour this custard into the cream and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least four hours, preferably overnight.

    I've combined this with raspberry or blackberry puree (just ran the berries through a food mill with the fine disk to keep out the seeds)--about one-half as much fruit as custard--and poured it into the Cuisinart machine which I then run for a half hour. The result will still be pretty soft; pack it into a container and freeze it for several hours, and there you are. If the berry puree needs sweetening, use simple syrup (sugar boiled in water so it becomes a solution.)

    It's really important to have the custard and the fruit puree really cold before you put them in the machine, and to have the bowl of the machine frozen solid--if you can hear the refrigerant sloshing, it's not cold enough.

    Finally: I just got Emily Luchetti's ice cream recipe book from the Jessica's Biscuit web site, 40% off list price. I've eaten dessert at restaurants where she worked and she really knows what she's talking about.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rootlesscosmo

      The directions above are great... one thing. When you are doing a custard-based recipe, I'd really use a thermometer if you can. When I got my first ice cream maker a long time ago, I tried a custard-based recipe. I used the "coat the back of the spoon" method for trying to see if it was done. The whole thing was eggy. So I didn't do another custard version for a few years. Finally, I tried it again, using a good thermometer. It was wonderful. The key is to make sure that egg custard (after it's been tempered) never gets over 175. To this day, I don't know if I'd know the exact time to turn the heat off - even with the spoon method. However, with a thermometer its almost foolproof. Make sure to strain it after you are done through a fine seive.

      Also, when you first heat the milk and cream (sans egg) - heat it to about 180. It kills the enzymes or proteins or whatever it is that inhibits the lovely creaminess. Then you temper in the eggs (adding some hot liquid to whisked eggs, then adding the eggs back into the rest) bring it to 175, remove it and strain it.

      If you do want to go the non-egg route, alton brown's vanilla bean recipe is very good, very creamy and very vanilla-y:

      Enjoy playing with your ice cream maker. Just remember... even the screw ups still make great eating.

    2. Here is the recipe i like from Gourmet 2003.

      I just modified it last week, to make mango gelato. I like this one because it does not have eggs, and the fat content is relatively low. It is also really easy, if you are used to making pudding.

      Peace, Jill

      There are no eggs in this recipe — it's the cornstarch that gives the gelato a smooth, silky texture. Fine-quality chocolate provides its rich flavor.

      Active time: 20 min Start to finish: 5 hr (includes chilling and freezing)

      3 cups whole milk
      1/4 cup sugar
      3 tablespoons cornstarch
      Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
      7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
      Special equipment: an ice cream maker

      Bring 2 1/4 cups milk just to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. While milk is heating, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and 1/4 cup (cold) milk in a bowl until smooth, then whisk into boiling milk and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Boil, whisking frequently, 3 minutes (mixture will be very thick). Remove from heat.
      Bring remaining 1/2 cup (cold) milk just to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Pour hot milk over chocolate in a bowl and let stand until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Stir into cornstarch-milk mixture and force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool slightly, stirring frequently to prevent a skin from forming, then cover surface with wax paper and chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.

      Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze until hardened, about 3 hours. Let soften 5 minutes before serving.

      Cooks' note:
      • Gelato keeps 1 week.

      Makes about 1 qt.
      September 2003

      5 Replies
      1. re: jill kibler

        "Cooks' note:
        • Gelato keeps 1 week."

        Not around MY house, it doesn't!


        1. re: jill kibler

          How did you modify it for the mango flavoured gelato? Do you think that this could be made plain with just the lavender boiled in the milk for a lavender flavoured gelato?

          Thanks for the recipe.


          1. re: gtrekker2003

            I had two incredibly ripe mangoes, so I chuked them, put them in the blender with the 1/4 cup milk that was supposed to go on the chocolate, and made a beautiful mango cream, then I added it to the custard just as the recipe suggests. You could also add cubed mangoe at the end of the chruning. I hurried along the cooling by placing the bowl with the custard and mango mixture into a bowl of ice and stirring frequently until it was cool. then right into the churn.

            I made basil gelato by infusing the milkwith the flavor of the basil by adding the basil to the warm milk in the first part of the recipe. i bet it would work with the lavendertoo. I am not sure how much lavender you would add, but it might be good if you strained the milk lavender before making the custard. peace, jill

            1. re: jill kibler

              Hi again, Jill!

              Sorry to ask again.I'm not clear on when to add the mangoes. I imagine you don't boil the mango in the milk, right?

              Is this the part where you add the mango:
              "Bring remaining 1/2 cup (cold) milk just to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Pour hot milk over chocolate in a bowl and let stand until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute, then whisk until smooth."

              Regarding the basil gelato......by 'infusing', do you mean you just boil the basil in the milk in the first part of the recipe? When do you remove it? And is this just normal basil that one uses for a pesto?

              Cheers again!


              1. re: gtrekker2003

                Sorry from me...I was not clear. I added the mango milk mixture to the custard just as the recipe tells you to add the chocolate. you don't want to boil the mango mixture.

                By infuse, I meant to heat the milk with the basil, yep. It is normal pest basil, and you can remove it when you are done, or not. up to you. someone else suggested adding the basil, or lavender, to the milk and let it sit in the fridge overnight, for better results. I will try this, becasue I am going to make green tea gelato today.

                We were discussion lavender chocolate gelato at my table last night, mmmmmm. sounds yummy too.

                peace, jill

        2. We tend to use our ice cream maker more for sorbet more than ice cream, especially during the summer when I don't want to heat anything on the stove. The recipe from The Dessert Bible is outstanding, and you can make it with peaches, pineapples, strawberries, you name it.

          We also love Alton Brown's recipe for banana ice cream. It gets grainy a little faster than some ice creams, but it usually doesn't last that long around our house, so it hasn't been a problem.

          1. To make a simple lavender ice cream, just throw a handful of lavender in milk. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat, cover and let steep in the milk. Strain, then use in any of the recipes above. Lavender ice cream is really great, I especially love it with homemade shortbread (which you can also make as lavender shortbread). Enjoy your ice cream maker!

            2 Replies
            1. re: grubn

              Keep in mind when you go out picking lavender from the garden that some varieties are high in camphor which will NOT taste good!

              1. re: grubn

                if you can remember to do it ahead of time, you can also put your lavender (or any tea or herb) in your milk and put it in the fridge overnight. i think it tends to coax more flavor in this gentle way!

              2. Unless you're already good at making cooked custards, I would say to make a fruity sorbet or cooking-free recipe first just to get the hang of using the machine. The easiest ice cream in my repotoire is banana. Make a milkshake with two bananas and a little milk, then add sweetened condensed milk until the mixture tastes just too sweet to be pleasant. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to prevent browning, chill the mixture if necessary (not necessary if everything is cold), and churn in ice cream machine. It's a soft, scoopable, refreshing ice cream. And if you add a shot of rum, the texture will stay perfect for days in the freezer.

                1. Make this Ben & Jerry recipe your first. It's yummy. It's easy; no cooking. It freezes up to a lovely texture. It's also versatile. Add anything you can think of to it. I add a pinch of salt and a bit of vanilla — less for fruit, more if the cream is the star.

                  Sweet Cream Base #1

                  • 2 large eggs
                  • 3/4 cup sugar
                  • 2 cups heavy cream
                  • 1 cup milk

                  Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

                  Makes 1 quart

                  You can split that up to use it as a base for different flavors. And you can double it and keep it in the fridge to pour off as much as you want to freeze at any particular moment.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: rainey

                    Thanks, Rainey!

                    Does the mixture have to be refrigerated overnight before added to the machine? I imagine this is a standard thing one has to do, is that correct?

                    Also, could I maybe soak the lavender in the milk overnight before making the mixture for a lavender flavoured ice cream?

                    Also, does the milk have to be whole milk or would 2% milk do?

                    Thanks so much. This sounds like a good easy first option!


                    1. re: gtrekker2003

                      It's a good idea but not absolutely necessary since everything is already cool to room temp. Any cooked custard definitely needs to be thoroughly cooled.

                      By all means steep an aromatic in the milk. Or speed that process up by warming the milk with the aromatic in it. But be sure to cool it again.

                      I think there's a good bit of latitude in the milk/cream ratio and you can easily adjust by compensating for 2% milk with a little more of the cream. But keep in mind that if you go overboard on the butterfat you get an unctuous mouthfeel and if you go overboard on the milk you lose some of the creaminess to ice which can be minimized by working in a maximum amount of air.

                      This really is a great starter recipe because you can do so much with it and it's wonderfully flavorful with great texture on its own.

                      1. re: gtrekker2003

                        PS Where are you getting your edible lavender. I've found it at Penzey's but shipping brings a couple ounces up to $13. I've also found a California ranch that sells it but their minimum order is $30.

                        1. re: rainey

                          Eatwell Farm at the Saturday Ferry Building market almost always has fresh lavender.

                          1. re: rootlesscosmo

                            Thanks but that sounds kinda NYC. I'm in LA.

                            1. re: rootlesscosmo

                              The system won't let me reply to rainey so I'm replying here. The Ferry Building is in SF, not NY.

                              In LA, I've seen lavendar lately at the Santa Monica farmers' market. Just ask the vendor if it's been treated in any way. I'd be shocked if it were, since the two vendors I saw were a potted herbs vendor and a cut herbs (for cooking) vendor. Trader Joe's also has some lavendar in the floral department.

                              1. re: rootlesscosmo

                                Just to clarify--Eatwell always has dried lavender suitable for cooking. Fresh lavender is only available for a very short time, which has just come and gone for this year.

                          1. I'd go with something fruity to take advantage of what's in season right now. I posted a recipe for strawberry ice a few months ago. Peach sounds good too. There's lots of stone fruit at the farmer's markets now.

                            Good luck with whatever recipe you use. Once you make homemade ice cream, everything else tastes, well, commercial...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rednails

                              I meant to say "strawberry ice cream" not strawberry ice...

                            2. I have a great recipe for plum raspberry ice cream I just came up with a few weeks ago. If anyone feels like going through the process of making it let me know & I'll post it.

                              1. I've just found the Sonoma Syrup Co.


                                who make a lavender-infused simple syrup. I haven't tried any of their products but this could be an answer to the lavender ice cream question.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rootlesscosmo

                                  fyi, i've seen some of their syrups and vanilla extracts at tjmaxx . . .