My first ever trip to Baskin‒Robbins, the 31 flavors ice cream shop, was when I was in fifth grade. I went with my friend Elizabeth. The long glass cases filled with a kaleidoscope of colorful ice creams and pretty cakes caused uncontainable excitement to bubble up in me. My universe suddenly expanded! Jamoca Almond Fudge, Cookies and Cream, Butter Pecan, Nutty Coconut, Peanut Butter Chocolate. Caramel Turtle Truffle! I had to narrow my selection down to only three flavors. I can’t now recall the other two but I do remember one was Pink Bubble Gum and after the ice cream was gone I had a big sticky wad of bubble gum to chew on.
You can easily make your kitchen into your very own Baskin‒Robbins ice cream shop. In my last column, I wrote about my epiphany when I discovered that an ice cream machine was not necessary to make ice cream. Simply make the mixture and pour it into a pretty container a couple of inches deep. Before getting ready to eat, let the ice cream thaw a bit, then it will easily scoop out. So far, my favorite homemade flavors are peppermint (peppermint candy plus peppermint extract), Heath Toffee, and Oreo cookie. The following recipe can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.
Homemade Ice Cream
¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
¼ tsp salt
3 cups milk
2 beaten eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan. Stir in milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly using a whisk. Let it cool some, then add the eggs and stir very fast because you do not want to have scrambled eggs in your ice cream. Add the cream and vanilla. Remember, if you add candy or cookies that sweetens the ice cream so you may want to add less sugar. Adding an extract can bump up the flavor, so for example, if you make peppermint ice cream, you can add some peppermint extract. Instead of giving you measurements, I suggest that you add a teaspoon or two of the extract and taste the ice cream. Imitation vanilla is surprisingly good and costs a fraction of the real extract. I always add vanilla to the base no matter the flavor I decide on.
I looked up my friend Elizabeth and discovered she has spent her entire adult life working with primates in Africa. If I ever meet up with her again, I’d love to go to Baskin‒Robbins and hear the amazing stories she must have to tell. And enjoy a bubble gum ice cream cone, one scoop. Along with one scoop of the new modern flavor Oreo n’ Cold Brew.