Growing up gave me the best memories of homemade ice cream. Every once in a while, my dad would let me help make a batch of homemade ice cream. We would combine all of the ingredients – real eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla – and pour the mixture into some kind of frozen metal bucket contraption with a small churning paddle. I never really understood how the thing worked; I just knew it took way, way too long. But the end result was always more than worth the wait. Creamy, sugar-y, pure vanilla heaven.
As if that wasn’t enough, my Aunt Joanne would sometimes make this unearthly vanilla goodness in an old-fashioned ice cream machine. Brain freeze or not, I could wolf down a bowl of that and be back for seconds before anyone else knew what hit them.
Between the two of them, my dad and Aunt Joanne ruined store-bought ice cream for me forever. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll indulge every now and then. But none of it lives up to my expectations. Part of the problem is that the vanilla varieties aren’t good enough. But the other problem is that I can never find peppermint ice cream – my favorite choice after homemade – anywhere.
Last Christmas, right before moving back to Purdue for my final semester, I had an insatiable craving for homemade ice cream. And I knew it had to be peppermint. We hadn’t ever made homemade ice cream with peppermint before, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard. The only hard part again, was the waiting.
Clark and I don’t have a fancy ice cream maker, but we’re pretty resourceful in the kitchen. Our first ice cream recipe was successful, so we changed the ingredients around and ended up with peppermint ice cream gold. I opted for dairy-free because I know that my stomach appreciates the gesture. Miraculously, none of the creaminess was lost. Coconut is such a perfect substitute for dairy. If you need help figuring out the coconut-opening process, this video should do the trick. And if you need a recommendation on healthier peppermint candy, visit The Natural Candy store.
Sure, it may be cold outside. But I think this ice cream goes right along with the spirit of the season. Enjoy with homemade gingerbread cookies and warm flannel pajamas.