Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Ridiculously fun summertime, family activity...making homemade ice cream. Several Christmases ago we purchased ice cream making balls for 2 families that were on our list. L.L. Bean sells ice cream making balls in a variety of bright colors, in their camping gear. I wanted to purchase one for our family, but at $49.99 plus shipping, I couldn't justify the expense. Recently, I came across a barely used hot pink,  "Happy Camper", ice cream making ball at the thrift store for 4 bucks! Talk about a steal. LOVE thrift shopping!
We are spending our vacation at home sharing quality time with husband's 12 year old son, from a previous marriage. This was the perfect vehicle for creating gobs of fun, as well as scrumptious ice cream, inexpensively, in the comfort of our own home! YAY!

We decided to start out simple, with a basic vanilla ice cream, to go with our freshly baked apple crisp for dessert. First step was to fill the one end with ice cubes and rock salt. We live in Germany, and do not have much freezer space...so sadly, we filled it up about halfway. Next, we were instructed to fill the innermost compartment on the opposite end, with tasty ingredients listed in the recipe book, such as cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.

U.S. Forces Dairy Products...the only  heavy cream the Military Commissary sells...cracks me up.

Beforehand, I measured out some of the ingredients for 3 year old to pour in to the ball himself. Then I taught 12 year old how to properly measure out liquid ingredients, as well as dry ingredients with measuring cups and spoons. He has taken a real interest in cooking this summer, so this was a fantastic way to involve him in the process. A.M., our 3 year old, was giddy with enthusiasm, shouting, "making ice cream, we're making ice cream", all the while...except that he pronounces it "I Cream", which makes it even cuter.

On to the shaking! The recipe required us to, "have a ball", for 15 minutes. Shaking, rolling, tossing, running, etc, then to open up the ice cream chamber to check the progress, and push the already frozen ice cream that clung to the sides, down into the center, with a wooden spoon....check. Dump out any water and reload with fresh ice and a wee bit more ice cream salt. Yeah, well more ice was going to be a little bit of a problem, being that we had used up all of our measly 2 trays of ice cubes. Hubby and I both thought at the same time to substitute broken up popsicles. Frankly, I was thrilled to do that, because the dang popsicles have been taking up prime real estate in the freezer, and toddler obsesses about them on a daily basis, wanting them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A.M. aggravated that we are using "his" popsicles as ice cubes.

Now for 15 more minutes of craziness with the ball. We spent the majority of the time chasing each other in laps around the couch. This is a nightly event that happens after bath, before bed. Everyone gets involved, including the baby, (who is no longer a baby, but a waddling toddler), and the dog, who playfully nips at your heels or your bum to let you know you are not running fast enough for her standards! It always comes as a shock when she bites one of us, but it doesn't hurt too much, and we usually have a good laugh over it.

Please excuse the missing drawer knob, and laundry on the table.  Things like that drive me bonkers.

Hubby will tell you that he had to do all of the work himself. In reality, he hogged the ball. He claims that no one was being active enough. I would finally get a chance with the ball, and then, one of the kids would steal it from me. The kids would get a little lazy with it after awhile, then Daddy would take over again.

At the end of the 30 active minutes, we were delighted to crack open the ball, and discover homemade vanilla ice cream, the consistency of soft serve.  We spooned it onto our apple crisp, took one bite, and were sold. It was divine, and fun, and simple.

S.B., (12 year old), asked if we could make ice cream every night. We took this as a huge compliment, as he is a tough critic.

Next up...cherry ice cream with hunks of fresh, sweet, black cherries, and Kirsch, (a German cherry liqueur that goes into many desserts). Did you know it is illegal in Germany to call a dessert Black Forest Cake if it has no kirsch in it? Crazy Germans have rules for everything! We will not scrounge for ice this time. Instead, we will buy a bag, so we have more than enough!

Don't fret if you do not have access to one of these fancy-schmancy ice cream making balls. You can achieve the same delicious results with 2 coffee cans, or even 2 ziplock  bags!  Your kids will think you are not only the smartest, but the coolest if you include this in your repertoire of fun! Happy shaking!


  1. I loved this article!! Adorable, fun, creative..... makes me want to go out, grab 3 wonderful children, an awesome husband (I already have the dogs)and an ice cream ball. Somehow though it doesn't seem as if I would have as much fun as your pictures depict your family did. Love you lots!

  2. I love the picture of A.M. staring at the popsicles before they were being sacrificed.