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Jan 12, 2008 08:33 AM

Lightening homemade ice cream

I received an ice cream maker for Christmas and i'm loving it. I just made David Leibovitz's Salted Butter Caramel Ice cream ( , and it's *to die for.* My entire household is trying to eat healthier in the new year, however, and I don't want to sabotage everyone's diets with constant quarts of irresistible, fat-laden ice cream.

Does anyone have any tips on the best way to lighten up homemade ice cream? I was thinking of experimenting with 2% milk, half and half, and cutting down sugar. I don't want to make fat-free, chemical-laden stuff, but rather a balanced ice cream that preserves as much of the original flavor and texture of the original recipe as possible, while cutting down on fat and calories.

I'm also planning to experiment with frozen yogurts and sorbets, so any tips on those would be welcome also!

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  1. You might want to try to go with reduced-fat instead of low-fat at first. I've made a reduced fat mint cookie ice cream that has received very positive reviews! Instead of the 2 cups of half-and-half, I used 2 cups of whole milk or 2 cups of 2% milk (I've made it more than once). The recipe also called for 1 cup of heavy cream, which I subbed with 1 cup of half-and-half. I added some crushed Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies too. Sorbets, of course, deal with the fat problem. There is nothing like a mango sorbet made with mangoes at the peak of ripeness! I don't have The Perfect Scoop (perhaps with my Xmas Borders gift card), but I've used the mango sorbet recipe in Bruce Weinstein;s The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, which I'm pleased with (both the sorbet and the book!) A chocolate sorbet can be quite decadent, too.

    I understand about not wanting to have quarts upon quarts of rich ice cream around. Ice cream is a danger food for me--if it's in the house, it's calling my name. Loudly! I only make it if I have company coming over (I'm single, so I'd better have someone to share it with!) Anyway, I did make some orange ice cream this morning for tonight's dinner party.

    Enjoy your ice cream maker! I love mine, too. In fact, my parents visited me the other year (we live 600 miles apart) and I served homemade lemon ice cream (per Mom's request) for the first evening's dessert. My dad loved it so much, he got on amazon that night and ordered an ice cream maker for himself!

    3 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      thanks, nofun - i think i'm going to try the orange cream-sicle ice cream recipe from the perfect scoop with lowfat substitutions this week. i'll let you know how it turns out!

      1. re: mandela

        Please let us all know how it turns out. And if it's good, could you post the recipe? I'd be very interested!

        1. re: nofunlatte

          Will do - I'm going to try it this week!

    2. I just use whole milk, brown sugar, and fruit or lime juice.

      1. Fat free half and half makes THE best textured ice cream. Seriously. I even prefer the texture to that of the whole milk and cream mix. You lose absolutely nothing in flavor or mouth feel. Honestly feels like you're eating full fat ice cream. Just sub the fat free half n half for the full amount of milk and cream. And then report back!

        There are many ice cream threads on the board from several years back if you want more ideas, too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: krissywats

          thanks for the tip! i don't see that at the store too often, but next time i do i'll give it a try and report back.

          1. re: krissywats

            ohhhhh.. thanks krissywats, you just made my day!

          2. One of the innovative Spanish chefs has a recipe for a instant 'ice cream' - in food processor combine yogurt, sugar, and frozen fruit. Check on Food and Wine, and either Chef Adria or Andres.

            2 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              found it!


              i might try this with fage 2% and honey - based on the greek yogurt and honey pairing.


              1. re: paulj

                I think this recipe has been around for a long time. In fact, I have it in an old Weight Watcher's Cookbook. The results are terrific. They key is the frozen fruit.

                A non-fat variation is to use frozen strawberries, non-fat dry milk powder, water and sugar. Whir together in the food processor. Serve immediately. Delicious.

              2. Try using gelato recipes, which are often made with milk, or with a very high proportion of the flavoring agent in relation to the cream. For example, Marcella Hazan's recipe for strawberry gelato contains 1/2 pound fresh strawberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cream.