It's hot, and your kids want ice cream or some other frozen treat. Sound familiar? However, with peanut allergies and treat nut allergies in your life, finding "safe" ice cream isn't always easy.
The solution for many of us: make our own ice cream! It isn't as difficult as it sounds, especially with the easy-to-use and reasonably-priced electric ice cream makers available at any stores that sell kitchen gear.
Besides food allergy safety, there are so many side benefits to making your own ice cream. You choose all of the ingredients and can tailor most recipes to suit your tastes or your family's allergy needs. Most ice cream recipes call for simple, wholesome ingredients so your homemade ice cream will be tasty and healthier. If you want to add some allergy-friendly candies to your ice cream, try Surf Sweets
or Vermont Nut Free Chocolate
"Skippers" (M&M - like candies).
I highly recommend an electric ice cream maker. My Cuisinart ice cream maker (retails about $50--it was a birthday gift years ago) churns the ice cream in about 20 minutes (with additional time in the freezer to get the right consistency). A blender comes in handy, too, for purees, etc.
Don't feel like ice cream or you can't have dairy? You can also make dairy-free sorbets, granitas and even dairy-free ice cream in an electric ice cream maker or use a metal pan to make a granita. Use your imagination and have fun -- and make sure your kids lend a hand. In fact, it's a great summer project for bored kids.
I've included three recipes. Get ready for ice cream heaven!
Nut-Free, Egg-Free Vanilla Ice
Break out the ice cream machine for this great
basic vanilla ice cream recipe! Also known as "Philadelphia" ice cream, this
traditional recipe does not contain eggs. Because of this, this ice cream tends
to stay a little bit "soft serve" but it is delicious.
1 vanilla bean or
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (McCormick brand is what I usually use--Nielsen
Massey is also great.)
4 cups heavy cream or heavy creamy mixed with
half-and-half for a lighter flavor
3/4 cup white sugar, preferably
If using a vanilla bean, split in half and scrape
out the seeds. (Keep the pod to make vanilla sugar, basically a vanilla bean
placed inside a closed container of sugar for about a week. Wonderful in
everything from cakes and cookies to coffee drinks.)
ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Churn in an ice cream maker
according to manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately or freeze about 2
hours for a firmer consistency. For optimum flavor, allow to soften slightly in
the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
Nut-Free Lemon Italian Ice (Granita)
1 cup sugar (use superfine if possible)
4 large lemons
1. In 2-quart saucepan combine sugar and water;
heat to boiling over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat
to medium and cook 5 minutes. Set saucepan in bowl of ice water to
2. Meanwhile, from lemons grate 2 teaspoons peel and squeeze 3/4
2. Stir lemon peel and juice into sugar syrup; pour into
9-inch square metal baking pan. Cover, freeze for 2 hours and then scrape to
break up the ice crystals. Freeze again at least 3 hours or overnight. To serve,
let soften slightly and use a metal spoon to scoop up the ice shards. Transfer
scoops of "ice" to dessert dishes and enjoy!
You can vary this recipe--substitute your favorite summer fruits, such as watermelon. Puree about 1 cup of the fruit and use it in place of the lemon. Or make an adult version of granita using instant espresso powder instead of fruit juice. Delicious.
Nut-Free Blue Moon Ice Cream
Blue Moon ice cream is a Midwestern favorite and its basic components are a vanilla ice cream base, blue food coloring and mini marshmallows (the "moons"). Usually, some type of nut extract is added, so I came up with the idea of using orange extract instead. It gives the ice cream a hint of a "Dreamsicle" flavor. If your kids don't like orange, use vanilla instead but be sure to try the orange at least once. It's my youngest daughter's favorite!
The addition of cream cheese may seem odd but the cream cheese adds amazing consistency and creaminess without being too tangy. Cream cheese ice cream is the basis for another of my favorite holiday ice creams: Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Ice Cream
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (pref. full fat), softened
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange extract (I use McCormick's brand for both)
1/2 cup mini marshmallows (or more if you like more) I use Kraft brand.
Several drops of regular blue or "neon blue" food coloring (it should be about the color of a robin's egg, but go "bluer" if you like) Again, I use McCormick brand.
Combine cream cheese, milk, sugar and salt in blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, add extracts and chill until very cold.
Place mixture in electric ice cream maker. About 10 minutes into churning, add the marshmallows. Churn an additional 10-15 minutes or according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer to harden (about 2 hours; could be more). Before serving, let soften for at least 5 minutes.
Note: For any brands mentioned above, please consider your own allergy needs and check with companies if you have any questions.