Delicious bowl of strawberry ice cream. Homemade cooking

With school starting back sometime soon, whether it’s in-person or virtually, it’s time to enjoy these last few days of summer. Amid the school clothes and supplies shopping, now is a great time to enjoy some last-minute campouts, weekend road trips and late nights soaking up every bit of summer that’s left. My favorite way to do that is by making some homemade ice cream.

Hot summer days are easiest to cool off from with a few scoops of fresh, homemade ice cream. And, when paired with the unique topping ideas shared a few weeks ago, these ideas would be a perfect conclusion to these crazy summer months.

Here are my favorite ideas. For more, visit our Cheap Summer Fun board on Pinterest.

No ice cream machine? No problem

Don’t worry if you don’t have an ice cream machine, there are dozens of recipes for simple, no-machine-needed recipes for delicious, creamy ice cream. You can make everything from Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Brownie, Key Lime Pie, Dulce de Leche, Maple Bacon Crunch and even Banana Cream Pie.

Start with this Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. In a bowl, combine 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 cups half-and-half, 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Transfer mix into a cold pan and return to the freezer for 30 minutes. Take the pan out and mix the ice cream using a hand mixer. Return to the freezer and repeat the process every 30 minutes. Repeat four more times.

Chocolatey favorites

Chocolate is always a tasty remedy when life gets particularly rough. That’s especially true during a pandemic, right? There’s nothing better than when you can combine the healing qualities of chocolate with a batch of homemade ice cream. If you love a rich, chocolatey ice cream, start with a base of chocolate and then add in your favorite chocolate treats like Kit Kat, chocolate chips, brownies, Oreos and more.

Try this base recipe: Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer. In a bowl, whip 3 egg yolks and gradually add in 1/2 cup of the liquid to temper. Combine mixtures and cook until thick. Cool and stir in 2 cups heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add to ice cream maker and follow directions.

Kid-friendly recipes

Have your kids been itching for a fun summer science project or something to do in the kitchen? Now’s a great time to introduce them to the fun of making their own ice cream and just how the science of salted ice works to freeze a cream mixture into a delicious dessert. With only five ingredients and some fun elbow grease, your kids can make ice cream magic.

Pour 1 cup half and half in a small Ziploc bag and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar. Seal the bag. In a larger bag, add in 1/4 teaspoon salt and enough ice to fill the bag. Place the small bag into the larger bag and add more ice on top and seal. Next, let those little chefs take over. Have them shake the bag for at least 6 minutes. Remove the small bag, rinse it under cold water and open to ice cream.

— Jennifer Durrant

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