Or adapt this easy no-churn recipe for any flavor you like
How often do you make ice cream at home? Until recently, our answer would have been “not very.”
Mostly, that was because we couldn’t get decent results with home ice cream makers. The smaller “pre-freeze” units (the ones where you need to freeze the bowl) only kinda sorta worked for us. The larger machines (the kind with built-in condensers) do a better job—or so we’ve heard. But our kitchen space is limited, so we’ve had to rule out that option. And no way are we going to bother with rock salt and hand cranks.
Which meant that for years, we just shrugged and bought Ben and Jerry’s.
No more, however. We’ve discovered a quick no-churn, no machine way to make ice cream that produces superior results. And it’s a lot cheaper than buying pints of Cherry Garcia® (our favorite flavor, for which this recipe is a credible alternative).
Anybody want to buy a used ice cream maker, cheap?
Recipe: No-Churn Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate
Not hankering for cherry ice cream? No worries. It’s easy to adapt this recipe to other flavors. So just think of this as a master recipe for no-churn ice cream. More in the Notes.
This recipe is cream-rich, so it isn’t diet food. But it’s so luscious, you’ll probably be satisfied with a smaller amount than you usually eat. It also uses sweetened condensed milk, which is just regular milk with much of the water removed and sweetener added. Milk and sugar are common ingredients in ice cream making, so using sweetened condensed milk is a quick way to mainline those ingredients into your ice cream base.
This recipe requires you to whip cream, which is easiest to do if you have a stand mixer. A hand mixer will work, but it takes longer. After you mix the ice cream, you’ll need to freeze it for several hours to develop proper consistency.
Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the sweets maker in our house, and this recipe is her creation. She adapted it from a basic recipe she found in 100+ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine, an e-book by Suzy Bowler (it’s a very entertaining cookbook, BTW).
This recipe takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time. Then you’ll need to let the mixture freeze for at least 3 or 4 hours (maybe more, depending on your freezer temperature).
The recipe yields about one quart, though it can easily be scaled up or down. Being us, we often double it.
- 1¼ cups pitted cherries (fresh or frozen; see Step 1 for tips on pitting cherries)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (see Notes)
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 to 4 ounces sweetened condensed milk (see Notes)
- Pit the cherries: Wash and dry the cherries and remove their stems. Use a cherry pitter to remove pits. (If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you can push the pits out with a pastry tip, a paper clip that’s been straightened, or a chop stick. Or so I’ve read—we have a cherry pitter, so I haven’t had to experiment.) Chop the pitted cherries into halves. Set aside.
- Chop the chocolate into small bits (a mini-food processor works well for this; see Notes). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the almond extract and continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks (i.e., ones that hold their shape when you lift out the whisk).
- Add the sweetened condensed milk (start with 3 ounces, then taste; if you’d like more sweetness, add another ounce; see Notes). Add the chopped cherries and the chopped chocolate. Gently fold the ingredients together until they are well mixed.
- Pour the mixture into a shallow one-quart container (see Notes) and cover tightly with a lid.
- Freeze the ice cream until it sets firmly (about 3 or 4 hours in our freezer, though your timing may vary).
- Scoop and enjoy.
- We like to use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate baking bars (60 percent cacao) for this recipe. But any good-quality bittersweet chocolate should work.
- How small should you chop the chocolate? That’s up to you, though we prefer small bits (maybe the size of sesame seeds). Anything larger can be hard to eat when frozen. We don’t recommend using chocolate chips, which are too big.
- Sweetened condensed milk tends to be very, well, sweet. We suggest that you start by adding 3 ounces, then taste the mixture. If you want more sweetness, fold in another ounce.
- In the US, sweetened condensed milk generally is sold in 14-ounce containers. So if you open a new can and have some left over after making this dish, just pour the remaining milk into an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for at least a week, and probably longer.
- You can freeze this ice cream in a container of any shape, though we find that shallow ones work best. They allow the mixture to freeze more quickly, which helps the ice cream maintain a smooth, creamy texture. Shallow plastic quart-sized containers work well.
- You can adapt this recipe to make just about any flavor ice cream you like. Start with 8 ounces of whipping cream and 3 to 4 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, then go where your imagination leads you. Some suggestions to get you started:
- For vanilla ice cream, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- For maple ice cream, add 4 ounces maple syrup.
- For walnut ice cream, add 1 cup chopped walnuts (or mix the nuts in with the aforementioned maple syrup for maple-walnut ice cream).
- For peanut butter ice cream: Add 6 ounces of peanut butter mixed with 3 ounces of powdered sugar (heat the peanut butter for a few seconds in the microwave if it’s too stiff to mix).
- For rum ice cream, add 1½ ounces rum.
- For rum-raisin ice cream—oh, never mind; you get the picture by now.
- Rum, brandy, or other spirits make delicious additions to ice cream. But adding alcohol slows down the freezing process (and usually results in ice cream with a texture resembling soft serve—not that there’s anything wrong with that).
- For another method of making no-churn ice cream, check out this post by Ala at Wallflour Girl.
Ice Cream Heads
“This is wonderful,” I said, taking a bite of ice cream. “You outdid yourself with this recipe.”
“Thanks,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “It’s fun to try out variations on it too.”
“Yeah, all those other flavors you’ve been making have been out of sight,” I said. “I loved the salted caramel one you made the other day.”
“Once you learn the basic technique, it’s easy to come up with different flavor combos,” said Mrs K R.
“Hey, you should try a new flavor every week,” I said, scooping up another bite. “Or maybe even two different flavors. Just for research purposes, you know.”
“Well, I could do that,” said Mrs K R. “But then I’ll have to come up with a recipe for Chubby Hubby®, won’t I?”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Homemade Meringues with Strawberry Sauce
Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust
Chocolate Fudge with Nutella
Walnut Roll Cake
No-Cook Fruit Fool
Grape Flaugnarde (Flan)
Or check out the index for more