Now that summer is in full swing, we are definitely eating more than our fair share of frozen treats! While we love popsicles, during the hottest days of July, there is just nothing that cuts the heat better than a sweet, creamy bowl of ice cream. After buying an ice cream maker a few summers ago, I found myself concocting ever more exotic flavors of ice cream. From Blackberry Maple to Coconut Chocolate, I discovered several new flavors that have become family favorites. However, even as I’ve tried out many kinds of ice cream, we still enjoy a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream. Ice cream sundaes almost require the blank canvas of vanilla ice cream before being topped with sprinkles, cherries or hot fudge sauce (or all three!).
In the book Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie, the patrons of Sam’s Sundaes ice cream shop demand new, strange flavors of ice cream. While mouse prefers blue cheese flavored ice cream, cow wants a flavor infused with grass. But when gorilla asks for a sundae made from vanilla ice cream, everyone realizes that sometimes the simplest flavors are the best. This book celebrates simple pleasures while also demonstrating the fun in sharing our favorite things with others. This is one of those rare children’s books that both adults and children find humorous and the vibrant illustrations add to the feeling of fun and whimsy.
What better way to follow up this delightful read than with a bowl of homemade Frozen Vanilla Custard topped with the easiest ever recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce? While making ice cream at home does take some time, it is a pretty simple process that is very fun for kids. I remember watching my dad make ice cream every summer and the excitement in seeing the milky mixture slowly thicken into ice cream. It is possible to make a decent vanilla ice cream without adding egg yolks and cooking it on the stove, but I think the addition of yolks make it so much more rich and satisfying. Flavoring the ice cream with a vanilla bean, rather than vanilla extract, also adds extra richness that can’t be beat. There’s nothing quite like a good bowl of homemade frozen custard and if you haven’t tried it before, maybe this is your summer!
Makes 1 quart
3 cups whole milk
2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean
8 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
- If you do not already have the bowl of your ice cream maker frozen, place it in the freezer now to chill. In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the paste inside into the pot, stirring to combine. Add the outer pod of the vanilla bean and begin to heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Cook the milk mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the milk just begins to simmer.
- While the milk and sugar cook, separate the 8 yolks from the whites and place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Add the extra 1 Tablespoon sugar and the salt to the yolks, whisking them until the yolks are broken and the sugar and salt are well-combined.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and the milk mixture just begins to simmer, pour half of the milk and sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the yolks from cooking. Return the yolk mixture to the rest of the milk in the pot and continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the milk mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a heat-proof bowl and cover the surface of the custard with a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Once the custard is chilled, process it in an ice cream maker according the manufacturers directions. This usually means churning the ice cream for about 30 minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of soft-serve. You can eat the ice cream like soft serve, or scoop it into a container and freeze for several hours until it is firm.
Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Stir the chocolate chips and cream together in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds, stir the mixture and microwave for another 30 minutes. Let the mixture sit for a minute or so and then whisk it vigorously to combine the melted chocolate and cream until a smooth fudge sauce forms. If there are still little lumps of un-melted chocolate, microwave for another few seconds to completely melt them.