Simplest Ice Cream

I first saw this ice cream  at the CU Wizards show.  The physics instructor took a bowl of half and half, added some sugar, and then blasted it with liquid nitrogen to freeze it, stirring intermittently.

It tasted amazing! (for a science lab experiment).  So good, in fact, that I tried making it with my 6th graders last year, using dry ice as the coolant.  It’s harder to get liquid nitrogen than it is to get dry ice . . .
In each case, there was a slight aftertaste — nitrogen?  carbon? oxygen? so I hauled the basic recipe back to the kitchen.
I’ve made ice cream in the blue ice cream ball (I bought it at LLBean in Maine many years ago)  — you just roll it around between friends until it solidifies. The coolant inside is rock salt, ice and water.
I’ve also made ice cream by pouring it into a shallow pan and freezing it, stirring it every hour or so until it hardens.
Easiest, though, is this little electric ice cream maker.  It’s a Cuisinart that I got at Costco several years ago. You can make sophisticated custard ice creams in this, with loads of special ingredients, or you can make something much simpler.
Pour 3 cups of half and half into the frozen canister (usually stored in the freeze so I can make ice cream at a moment’s notice.  Also so it doesn’t get dusty in the garage . . .). Then add 1 tablespoon vanilla.
And 1/2 cup of sugar into the ice cream container. You could add any sweetener — honey, agave, erythritol —
Turn on mixer, stirring until ice cream starts to hold its shape. A plastic scraper automatically scrapes the chilled mixture from the sides of the cold container.
Finish freezing ice cream in freezer.
The open top lets you add ingredients as the ice cream starts to freeze.  Chocolate chips, frozen fruit, jams, jellies, coffee . . . anything is possible.  My favorite — simple vanilla.
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