DIY Ice Cream and Other Happy-Making Summer Treats

It’s all that much better when you make it yourself.

Of course, kids and grownups love ice cream, what’s not to love? But you can go to the grocery and pick out a prescribed flavor, and even if it doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it (and they often do) whatever you find in the freezer section cannot compare to homemade. That’s the real deal, right there.

Basic ingredients, a small batch machine and a little anticipatory thrill are really the keys to making great ice cream, and your family will not only enjoy it, they will take pride it in. Think about these unconventional and delicious combinations when you make your next summer treat. Oh, and we popped a few other yummy recommendations in there should your whole family need a break from the dairy.


Peanut Butter Banana. This recipe comes from the kitchen diva Jessica Seinfeld and it’s dairy free!

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Strawberry Basil. Sound strange? Imagine the tart sugar of the strawberry blending with a slightly grassier mint. Yum!

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1 lb. container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Eggnog Ice Cream. At this stage, you might be missing winter, well reminisce a little by making some spicy eggnog ice cream. We like Alton Brown’s version with one addition: get a fresh vanilla bean, slice it length-wise and scrape out the pod. You will not regret.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg


Blueberry Sorbet. If you want something less heavy with both fat and sugar, try this incredible blended sorbet that turns a heavenly color of dark purple. Make sure you dress the kids in white first, then have a tie-dye party!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water, preferably spring water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 pints (about 2 pounds or 6 cups) fresh-picked blueberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Note with this one, best to use a food processor, and you’ll want to dissolve the sugar and salt in the water first, before you blend the berries and lemon with the syrup.


Double Chocolate Grasshopper Ice Cream. You read that right. It’s like a frozen Junior Mint floating in a cloud of chocolate ice cream. Oh yeah and Girl scout cookies. Or you could also use Peppermint Patties or even Andres Thin Mints. So many possibilities!

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 28 Thin Mints/Grasshopper cookies, divided
  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Note on this one: Make your custard first with eggs, cream and sugar, then process with your chunky ingredients. This is any child’s dream come true.


If you balance out your indulgence with a ton of outdoor action, this is the way to have a special treat so that it really is special. Once you get the hang of making your own, you and your family can experiment with making all kinds of magnificent desserts to share at your gatherings. One more reason to have the friends and neighbors over!

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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