Chilled mixtures of fruit juices, milk, and honey were the early forerunners of our modern ice creams. Long ago kings and pharaohs had snow brought from nearby mountains to make frozen desserts. Centuries later Marco Polo brought a prized recipe for a chilled milk dessert from China to Venice, Italy.
The popularity of these desserts soon spread from Italy to France and England, and were then taken to America by the English colonists.
In the mid-1800s an American housewife added gears and a crank to a tub to make the first hand-cranked freezer. The wholesale manufacture of ice cream soon followed this invention.
Today we can buy or make ice cream in a variety of flavors, textures, and shapes. It’s the go-with-anything food. Ice cream can be served with nuts, fruits, juices, sauces, and even crushed candy. It can be used in all kinds of drinks and desserts. It’s even good as an appetizer, such as with diced fruit and lime soda.
For hot summer days, here are a delicious ice cream recipe with flavor variations, some quick sundae sauce suggestions, and two favorite ice cream desserts.
Basic Ice Cream Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups chilled whipping cream
Refrigerator method of freezing: Mix sugar, salt, milk, and egg yolks in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until bubbles appear around edge of mixture in pan. Cool at room temperature. Stir in vanilla. Pour into refrigerator tray. Freeze until mushy and partially frozen, 30 minutes to 1 hour. In chilled bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Spoon partially frozen mixture into another chilled bowl; beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into 2 refrigerator trays; freeze 3 hours or until firm, stirring often during first hour. Cover with waxed paper to prevent crystals from forming.
Crank-type method of freezing: Mix sugar, salt, milk, and egg yolks in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until bubbles appear around edge of mixture in pan. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla and whipping cream. Pour into freezer can; put dasher in place. Cover can and adjust crank. Place can in freezer tub. Fill tub one-third full of ice, and add remaining ice alternately with layers of 1 part rock salt to 6 parts ice. Turn crank until it turns with difficulty. Draw off water. Remove lid and take out dasher. Pack mixture down. Replace lid. Repack in ice and rock salt. Let ripen several hours.
Fresh Fruit Ice Cream: Decrease vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Mash fresh fruit to measure 2 cups. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with fruit. After adding cream, stir in fruit mixture.
Chocolate Ice Cream: Decrease vanilla to 1 teaspoon and increase sugar to 1 cup. Stir 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted, into hot mixture in saucepan.
Peppermint Ice Cream: Decrease vanilla to 1 teaspoon. After adding cream, stir in 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy. Add a few drops red food coloring.
1/2 pound (28) caramels
1/2 cup hot water
Heat caramels and water in top of double boiler, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted and sauce is smooth. Makes about 1 cup.
Minted Pineapple Sauce
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
2 drops green food coloring
Combine ingredients; blend well. Chill. Makes 1 1/2 cups sauce.
Brown Sugar Chocolate Sauce
6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate pieces over low heat. Stir in brown sugar, milk, and margarine and cook till sauce is thick. Cool slightly and add vanilla. Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.
Ice Cream Bars on a Stick
4 to 6 wooden sticks
1 pint brick vanilla ice cream
1 5-oz. bar milk chocolate
1/4 cup melted shortening
1/2 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, walnuts, or pecans)
Cut ice cream in 4 or 6 equal pieces by splitting down the middle and dividing. Insert wooden stick in each section. Freeze hard. Melt chocolate and shortening over hot water; mix well. Cool till just warm. Spread one side of ice cream square with chocolate mixture; dip in nuts immediately. Repeat with remaining sides.
Frozen Fruit Sundaes
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 cup drained fruit cocktail
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
Mix fruit cocktail with ice cream. Spoon into cupcake papers. Place on tray in freezer. Melt chocolate over low heat in saucepan. Dribble thin layer of melted chocolate over each ice cream cupcake. Return to freezer for 2 hours before serving. Makes 12 sundaes.