On hot summer nights, I sometimes flash back to my childhood. I can smell the charcoal briquets from the bbq. I can hear the sounds of a family gathering. I picture our late 70’s linoleum kitchen floor leading out to our backyard where I could find my Dad turning the crank on our old-fashioned ice cream maker. I was little, but I know that thing involved about a ton and a half of rock salt and a heck of a lot of muscle! You worked off that ice cream before you had your first bite!

Thank heavens for modern technology and the simplicity of today’s ice cream makers. My husband and I picked up a little 1/2 gallon Cuisinart ice cream maker a few years ago on an incredible sale, and we love it! The recent hot weather here in the NW has kept our family outside and made us long for a sweet frozen treat in the evenings. Today’s recipe is hands-down a MUST-HAVE recipe for summer, and I just couldn’t keep it to myself.

I got this recipe from my long-time friend Dan. He has long been known as the homemade ice cream master around our house. I have many a good memory involving warm summer nights and Dan’s homemade ice cream. He shared this recipe with my husband and I several years ago, and we’ve been making it ever since. This stuff knocks the store-bought stuff out of the park. It’s like eating a bowl full of Fourth of July with a bit of nostalgia topping and childhood sprinkles.

As an added bonus, this recipe is SO incredibly easy. There is no cooking, no worrying about getting scrambled eggs in your ice cream…(umm not that that has ever happened here….), and nothing you can possibly screw up. Plus, this is 100% all-natural. It’s the good stuff….and it’s terribly addictive and delicious.

This is also the PERFECT base for any flavor you’d like to make. Add a fresh fruit puree (my fave is a strawberry/mango blend), chocolate chips, or crushed Oreos (the BEST cookies and cream I’ve EVER had!). Open up your own personal mix-in shop and stir in any combination of flavors and toppings you can think of. Of course, the vanilla stands alone….It wouldn’t have become America’s best-seller if it wasn’t awesome all on its own, now would it? Are you ready for some of the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever had?

ice cream


2 1/2 cups half n’ half

2 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 cup sugar

1 T vanilla

1/8 t salt

To Prepare

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking until the sugar is incorporated, and no longer grainy. Pour into your ice cream maker and use your manufacturer’s instructions.

When your ice cream maker has finished, the ice cream will be similar to a soft-serve. If you prefer a “hard scoop” consistency (as pictured), simply place the ice cream in your freezer. It is wonderful either way. It should be noted that homemade ice cream melts quite a bit faster than store-bought ice cream, so it’s best to keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

This recipe is for a 1/2 gallon of ice cream.

*Note that fruit flavored ice creams work best when you use a fruit puree rather than fruit chunks or pieces, especially if you are going to freeze the ice cream, rather than serving it soft-serve style. The larger pieces tend to become pretty hard and tough to eat. Other types of mix-ins (marshmallows and M&M’s to name a few) also work best when served soft-serve, rather than hard-scoop.