National Ice Cream Day: Three ways to indulge without guilt

Ice CreamThe idea of a cold, tasty ice cream cone on a hot summer day is one that I find tantalizing. While popsicles and frozen yogurt are certainly popular treats during this season, there’s just something about ice cream that appeals to me above all else.

Most of the experiences that I’ve had with ice cream have been rather unhealthy, and I often find myself wishing that I could figure out a way to enjoy the dessert without the negative effects of the sugar overload. With National Ice Cream Day coming up on July 19, I wanted to make my dream of healthy ice cream come true. In my quest to find the healthy silver lining, I uncovered some recipes for healthy homemade ice creams. Here are some of the ones I found:

Vanilla

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon water

3 cups low-fat milk, divided

3 large egg yolks

1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk

1 vanilla bean

Directions

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.

Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape the seeds into the milk and add the pod. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

Chocolate

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon water

3 cups low-fat milk, divided

3 large egg yolks

1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate

Directions

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.

Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Add cocoa and chocolate to the milk. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

Cherry and White Walnut Chunk

Ingredients

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1 tablespoon water

3 cups low-fat milk, divided

3 large egg yolks

1 14-ounce can nonfat sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup fresh or frozen chopped cherries

1/2 cup white chocolate chunks

Directions

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you make the base for the ice cream.

Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into a large saucepan. Add cocoa and chocolate to the milk. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat until steaming. Whisk egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking until blended. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the back of the spoon is lightly coated, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not bring to a boil or the custard will curdle.

Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean large bowl. Add the softened gelatin and whisk until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Whisk the ice cream mixture and pour into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add cherries and white chocolate chunks to the ice cream maker. If necessary, place the ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

Ice cream doesn’t need to be something with negative connotations – like many other foods, you can choose how healthy (or unhealthy) it’s going to be. The next time you want to indulge, think about what you’re using to fuel your body and consider taking the time to make it yourself instead. That way, you can control what you’re taking in and make sure you’re not exceeding whatever health boundaries you’ve set for yourself.

Do you prefer homemade or store-bought ice cream? What do you like about each?

Photo credit sea turtle

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