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Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick and Easy Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

In under 10 minutes, you could be serving your family some delicious and natural homemade ice cream with very little clean-up! You don't even need an ice cream maker to whip up this yummy frozen treat. Making this homemade ice cream in a bag is a fun way for adults and kids alike to cool off on a hot summer evening. Try this activity at your next cookout, family reunion or birthday party. Make up the ice cream mixture ahead of time, store in the fridge until needed and then let the kids shake, shake, shake! They can enjoy this ice cream right out of the bag as a "soft serve" or put the bags of ice cream in the freezer for a few hours to make it more "scoopable."

Let's get started! Here is what you need to make one very large serving (or two smaller ones) of delicious, homemade vanilla ice cream--in under 10 minutes.

For rich, creamy ice cream you will pour 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream and 1/4 c. milk into a pint or sandwich size, zippered plastic bag. If you want more of an "ice milk" type ice cream, you could use 1/2 c. cream and 1/2 c. milk (or 1 c. half & half). Add up to 3 T. of pure maple syrup or other sweetener of choice to the bag with the cream and milk. We can eat ours with 2 T. but you may want to add 3 T. if you are used to store-bought treats. Pour 1/2 t. of pure vanilla extract in and then seal it up. 
*Directions, including those for other flavors, are listed below.

HELPFUL TIP: Double bag the liquid mixture into another sandwich size, plastic bag. This will prevent any possible leaking and keep the inside ice cream bag free from salt. Feel free to keep the outside sandwich bag to reuse the next time you make homemade ice cream...which of course, you will be doing regularly once you taste how yummy it is!

Fill a gallon size, zippered freezer bag halfway full of ice cubes and add 1/2 c. of kosher or rock salt. Table salt will work, but not as well as a coarse grain salt. Add the double bagged ice cream mixture and seal the larger bag well. I did two in one gallon size bag, but I would just do one from now on. I don't feel like they froze as well as they would have individually.  

Head outdoors and start shaking! Jackson complained his was "too heavy to shake", so he rolled it, tossed it to Daddy and even threw it down the slide. Now you understand the need to double bag the liquid! Ha ha! It will be extremely cold and could be wrapped in a towel and secured with rubber bands, but that would definitely take some of the fun out of this activity!

Shake the ice cream bags for at least 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to harden up. Add more ice and continue shaking if temperatures are extremely hot and your ice melts too quickly. When the ice cream has set, remove from the ice bag and take out of the double bag (if you doubled them up). Add yummy toppings like sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, nuts, sliced strawberries or other fruit, etc. and eat straight out of the bag with a spoon. If you prefer your ice cream a bit harder (like store-bought ice cream), place bag into the freezer for 1-2 hours and then scoop ice cream from the bag into a bowl or cone. Click HERE for a homemade ice cream cone recipe.

FRUGAL TIP: Providing that your outer gallon size bag doesn't have any holes, you could save both the larger bag and the outside sandwich bag for the next time you make ice cream. Just dump out the ice and salt and let air dry. I'm pretty cheap (er...frugal!) so this is totally something that I do! Feel free to throw out all 3 of the bags if that is more your style. I don't keep the one the ice cream was in because I'm too lazy to wash it out, but the other ones are fine to reuse.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream in a Bag
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream**
1/4 c. milk
2-3 T. pure maple syrup or sugar (to taste)
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Ice cubes
1/2 c. coarse salt (ice cream rock salt or kosher salt will work best, but table salt can also be used)

**Feel free to do 1/2 c. whipping cream & 1/2 c. milk if you prefer a less creamy ice cream. Alternatively you could use 1 c. of half & half or for a non-dairy version--substitute 1 c. of coconut milk.)

Combine cream, milk, syrup (or sugar) and vanilla in a pint size or sandwich size plastic bag and seal tightly.  Double bag in another sandwich bag and seal tightly. Fill a gallon size plastic bag halfway full with ice cubes and add 1/2 c. salt. Place double bagged ice cream mixture inside and seal tightly. Shake well for 5-10 minutes, adding additional ice if the temperatures are very high and the ice is melting before the ice cream solidifies. Remove ice cream from outer bag when it no longer feels liquidy, add any desired toppings and eat straight from the bag for a "soft serve" style ice cream. Place bag of ice cream into the freezer for 1-2 hours for a "scoopable" ice cream that could be served in a bowl or cone. Check out this recipe from Family Fun Magazine for homemade ice cream cones.


For chocolate ice cream: Whisk together 2 T. cocoa, 3 T. pure maple syrup or sugar, 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract and 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl until it looks like chocolate syrup and is well combined. Add 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream, pour into plastic bag and proceed as directed above. 

For strawberry, pineapple, peach or banana ice cream: Add 1/3 c. crushed or finely diced fruit to the ingredients listed for the vanilla ice cream and proceed as directed above.

For coffee ice cream: Add 1/4 c. double strength, cooled coffee in place of the 1/4 c. milk. Pour into bag and proceed as directed above.

For mint chocolate chip ice cream: Add 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract, 1/4--1/2 t. mint extract (depending on how minty you like it), 2-3 T. pure maple syrup or sugar, 1 drop of green food coloring (if you must--not needed though), 1/4 c. milk and 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream to plastic bag. Proceed as directed above and add 2-3 T. mini chocolate chips immediately after ice cream freezes.

For cookies and cream ice cream: Make vanilla ice cream as directed above and add 2 crushed chocolate sandwich cookies immediately after ice cream freezes.

For butter pecan ice cream: Combine 2 t. butter and 2-3 T. sucanat or brown sugar in a small glass bowl and microwave until hot and bubbly. Cool slightly. Pour 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract, 1/4 c. milk and 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream into plastic bag. Add butter and sugar mixture, seal bag and squeeze to combine. Proceed as directed above, adding 2-3 T. chopped, toasted pecans immediately after ice cream freezes.

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