How To Make and Enjoy Ice Cream at Home

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Satisfied little child licks spoon with ice cream on cafe background

As a mom, you have to walk a fine line. You want to give your kids what they want, but often what they want is not the best thing for them. 

One of the things kids almost always want is ice cream. You can’t give your kids ice cream all the time, though. Not only is it not the healthiest snack, taking your kids to get ice cream can be expensive. While they are small purchases, they add up over time to make a significant expense.

Lucky for you, Minneapolis residents, Twin Cities Kids Club has a solution for you. Instead of going out for ice cream, next time, make it at home. Soon, your kitchen will be serving up the best ice cream in Minneapolis. 

Before you begin your ice cream-making adventure, let’s go over some of the science behind this delicious treat. If you know a little bit more about the how and why you will end up with better results. 

smiling pretty mom with her cute daughter sitting on living room sofa couch and eating ice cream enjoying happy moments together.

The Basic Components

Ice cream is a complex composition. It is food chemistry- it should be soft and solid at the same time. As it melts, it should retain that stable quality right until the very end. 

For successful ice cream, you need five basic components-

Ice Crystals

These crystals are created when the water in your ice cream base freezes. The graininess of your ice cream is a product of the size of these crystals. The larger the crystals, the more grainy the ice cream.

Your goal should be to achieve the smallest crystals possible. 

Fat

The fat in your base is where the richness in your final product comes from. It improves the density, provides the smoothness in texture, and it increases the flavor.

You can incorporate fat in many ways. A few of them include-

  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Nut butter or paste

Sweeteners

Sweeteners, you guessed it, add sweetness to your ice cream. Beyond that, though, sweeteners help to improve the body and texture of your ice cream. 

A sweeteners most essential contribution to your ice cream, though, is its ability to lower the freezing point of your base. Without the proper amount of sweeteners, your ice cream will freeze rock solid. 

In other words, making a low-fat or low-sugar ice cream will not only affect the flavor but could potentially jeopardize the stability of your ice cream. Low-fat or low-sugar ice cream is possible, but they are generally more challenging to make. 

Children In Kitchen At Home Eating Ice Cream Desserts They Have Made

Air

Just like you, your ice cream needs air to exist. By far the cheapest ingredient in your base, the air is also the most essential. To make that fluffy, ice cream consistency, you must whip tiny air cells into your ice cream base.

You may have heard the term over-run. It is the technical term used to describe the amount of air your ice cream contains. The more air cells, the lighter your ice cream. 

Other Solids

Now we are getting down to the good stuff. You can have both non-fat milk solids- proteins or mineral salts, or flavorings- fruit, nuts, cookie bits, etc. 

These solids are where most of your ice cream gets most of its flavor. Too many solids usually leads to a sand-like texture, and too few may make your ice cream too icy. You want to achieve the perfect balance. 

Commercial ice creams usually include some form of chemical emulsifiers, stabilizers, or both.

A popular emulsifier is Polysorbate 80, which is derived from sorbitol. As far as stabilizers go, you can use gelatin, agar-agar, or pectin. 

For home cooks, if you add eggs for fat content, they will double as your stabilizer. 

Now that we have covered some of the basics let’s move on to actually making ice cream.

Portrait of young blonde girl making ice cream

The Basic Steps

Preparing the Base

There are many ways to make ice cream. For foolproof ice cream, use this variation-

  • 60% water- includes the water found in milk and cream
  • 15% sugar
  • 10% non-fat milk content
  • 15% milk-fat content

Use this as a guideline; not every recipe falls into these exact specifications. Keep in mind that higher-quality ice creams tend to have more fat and less air, while inferior ice creams have more air and added stabilizers. 

Pasteurization

Pasteurization is just a fancy way of saying you should cook your base to a particular temperature. If you have eggs in your ice cream, you should definitely cook your base.

Your base needs to reach a temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off any potentially harmful bacteria. As you are heating your base, you should continually stir it to distribute the fat droplets throughout your base better.

Rest

You cannot churn your base into ice cream while it is still hot. Once your base has reached 185 degrees, you need to chill it and allow it to rest for at least 4 hours. It is best to wait at least 24 hours to allow the base to settle or mature. 

This maturing process is essential because it allows the fat particles to solidify partially. Once they have hardened, the fat droplets are then coated by the proteins. The resulting ice cream will have a smoother texture than one made with a non-aged ice cream base. 

Close up Little girl making Homemade Ice-Cream.

Freezing

Finally, you are ready to freeze your ice cream. If you have an ice cream machine, fire it up! If not, check out this fun method for making ice cream with nothing but a freezer and a plastic bag.

Hardening

Once your ice cream is frozen, it is perfectly fine to eat. However, it is only about half-frozen at this point, and you should allow it time in the freezer to gain more stability. The ideal temperature for ice holding cream is between 10 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A Few Fun Recipes

We have selected a few fun and healthy recipes to make with your kids. Give them a try today-

Father Making Ice Cream Sundaes With Children At Home

When you spend quality time with your kids, everyone benefits. What better way to spend time together than making and enjoying ice cream together?

If you are looking for the best places for an ice cream outing, check out our list of the best ice cream parlors in the Twin Cities. 

 Join the Twin Cities Kids Club today for exclusive deals and discounts in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. You can use them as many times as you want!

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