Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DIY: Frugal Frozen Fare

Since we began this frugal journey 14 months ago, one thing that we (or should I say, my BOYS) have wanted is a way to make our own frozen desserts. Sometime last summer, Costco had an ice cream maker for sale. We saw it, ooh and aah'd over it, but didn't buy it. Was it a good model? Was it a good price? Would we use it? Would it be cheaper to make our own than to buy it? These questions lingered as we left the store. I did the research, and the answers were yes, yes, yes, and yes! Well, we didn't get back to Costco for a few days.... and it was gone! There wasn't even a floor model left. Not deterred, my husband checked another Costco not far away, with the same result.

Oh, the disappointment! We hoped that maybe, Costco would carry one for the holidays. No such luck! We had given up. Then, just a few weeks ago, when shopping at Costco, there it was! Well, not the same machine, but something similar. No hesitation this time. It came home with us. We've had great fun experimenting with different recipes. We still have lots of recipes to try (sorbet anyone?) but I'd say this purchase is a hit. I love the fact that I can control the ingredient quality and there are no preservatives, colors, or ingredients I can't pronounce!

Here's the basic recipe (from the booklet that came with the ice cream maker), which makes simple yet fabulous ice cream! The boys like it right out of the machine (soft-serve, they call it). In the freezer for an hour or two, and the texture is more like regular ice cream.

2 cups cream - $1.62
1 cup milk - 15 cents
3/4 cup sugar - 16 cents
1 tsp vanilla - 5 cents

Total cost for 1.5qts: $1.98

Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, or with your mixer to incorporate more air. With the ice cream machine set up, turn it on before adding your mixture. (Note: freezing vessel needs to be frozen for 18 hours). Pour in the mixture, and let machine process for 30 minutes. Then, enjoy!

As you can see, the lion's share of the cost is from the cream. I bought cream at Target this past week, and it wasn't on sale. I'll be looking for either 1) a substitute for the cream, or 2) a better deal! We will be looking at making sorbet as we get more fresh summer fruits. For now, the boys are eager to try new flavors.

Do you have an ice cream maker? How do you use it? Any suggestions on where to buy the best ingredients?

1 comment:

  1. I have one, and I checked out a few books from the library and looked online for recipes. I often use a mix of half and half, cream, and milk to save calories and a little money. The result is an ice cream that doesn't get as hard, but we like it that way. Also sorbets and granitas are fun, and mostly water based. Have fun!!


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