I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! On Sunday, July 19 I’m going to enjoy a few scoops of ice cream because it’s National Ice Cream Day. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
On the 19th, I plan on having a few scoops (or maybe 10) in honor of this special event. This day is also a perfect opportunity to throw an ice cream party.
Photo by Kevin D Weeks/Courtesy Flickr
A family friend used to throw annual ice cream parties in Taos, New Mexico. She made gallons of homemade ice cream, which is about as good as it gets when you’re 12 years old, provided hot fudge and caramel sauce, and asked everyone else to bring a special topping. My family brought chocolate sprinkles but the more creative guests would bring spicebush berries, chopped fresh lavender blossoms, blackberries, strawberries and more. My favorite topping involved crushed biscochitos. Biscochitos are the state cookie in New Mexico and they’re made with anise seed, cinnamon and sugar.
If you want to make your own ice cream this month, try this classic recipe.
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
This basic recipe is rich but not overpowering. It makes a wonderful foundation for all of the herbal ice creams listed here, and you can also use it to develop your own ice cream creations, herbal or otherwise.
• 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan or double boiler over medium-low heat, stir and heat the cream, milk, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly. While whisking, pour 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl, then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon (don’t let the mixture boil; it could curdle) for about 8 minutes, or until it begins to thicken and coats the spoon. To test for doneness, dip a metal spoon into the mixture and run your finger across the back. The custard is done when your finger leaves a clear, clean trail. A candy thermometer should read 175° to 180°F.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Use the prepared base in one of the following recipes, or enjoy it frozen as is, garnished with edible flowers.
For more recipes, try Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream, Rose Ice Cream and Lavender Ice Cream.