- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Ice cream is one of the sweetest treats for most people almost anytime, but its cool pleasure is even more welcome in warmer weather.

Preparing homemade ice cream doesn’t sound like a hard job for the cook, not something about which to sigh, “But someone’s got to do it.” To make even thinking about it easier, and perhaps to persuade you it’s worthwhile, check out one or two specialized cookbooks — they make mouthwatering reading.

“Ice Cream” (Simon & Schuster), with recipes and text by Mary Goodbody, is among the most recent cookbooks in the Williams-Sonoma Collection series.

This one has the series’ uniform size and style: It is straightforward, well-designed and generously illustrated with full-page color photos. The recipes are grouped in chapters that include the classics; fresh fruit flavors; coffee, tea and nuts; “elegant,” and “indulgent” ice creams, and ice cream dishes. The introduction extols homemade ice cream and its use of simple, fresh ingredients to make divine confections; the recipes include both old favorites and new flavors. At the back of the book is a summary of ice cream basics and a glossary.

Peppermint ice cream

“This ice cream does not harden as much as some of the other recipes in this book because of the high sugar content from the candies, which inhibits hard freezing. It is to be enjoyed as a soft ice cream.”

3 cups (24 fluid ounces) heavy cream

1 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

About 36 hard peppermint candies (6 ounces)

In a bowl, stir the cream and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to blend. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.

In a food processor, grind the peppermint candies by pulsing 2 or 3 times. Some of the candies will be more finely ground than others; small chunks of candy will add texture and interest to the final ice cream.

Pour the cream mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly frozen and the consistency of thick whipped cream, add the ground peppermint candies. Churn or stir just until mixed. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.

“125 Best Ice Cream Recipes” (Robert Rose) by Canadian food writers Marilyn Linton and Tanya Linton points out that making your own ice cream at home means you know your ingredients are wholesome. The writers also emphasize that you can indulge your own tastes, or meet special dietary needs from the variety of recipes available.

The sky’s the limit as far as flavors go, they say, citing their recipe for roasted garlic ice cream, and their healthy tomato basil ice. But plenty of classic sweet flavors such as butter pecan and chocolate are included, and some are shown in full-page color photos. An introduction gives basic information to get you started.

“The Scoop” (Villard) by Lori Longbotham is subtitled, “How to Change Store-Bought Ice Cream Into Fabulous Desserts.”

Miss Longbotham, a former Gourmet magazine food editor, advances a provocative notion: “Nowadays, store-bought ice cream is almost always better than homemade.” Whether it’s classic coupes, banana splits or an easy baked Alaska, Miss Longbotham has worked out many ways to assemble a wide range of desserts, based on ice cream.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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