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Buttermilk Ice Cream

Hands-on time 15 mins
Total time 3 hrs
Yield Makes about 1 qt.
Cream cheese and tangy buttermilk give this master recipe its creamy texture and eliminate the need to cook a traditional custard base. Stir in fresh fruit, chopped candy bars, crushed cookies, or spices. Try it in cookie sandwiches or irresistible pies.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

How to Make It

  1. Process all ingredients in a blender 30 seconds or until very smooth. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  2. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.)

  3. Serve immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, and freeze up to 1 week.

  4. *Vanilla extract may be substituted.

  5. Avocado-Key Lime Pie Ice Cream: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 1 1/2 medium-size ripe avocados, chopped; 1 tsp. Key lime zest; and 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice with cream cheese in Step Stir 3/4 cup coarsely crumbled graham crackers into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. THE COOKIE: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies, soft-baked from your bakery, for towering ice-cream cookie sandwiches. Wrap the finished treats individually (and tightly) in plastic wrap, and keep on hand in the freezer for parties or snacks.

  6. Lemon Meringue Ice Cream: Prepare recipe as directed. Whisk together 6 Tbsp. lemon curd, 2 Tbsp. sour cream, 2 tsp. lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Swirl lemon mixture and 6 crushed meringue cookies into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. THE COOKIE: Gingersnaps, soft-baked from your bakery, for towering ice-cream cookie sandwiches. Wrap the finished treats individually (and tightly) in plastic wrap, and keep on hand in the freezer for parties or snacks.

  7. Blueberry-Cheesecake Ice Cream: Prepare recipe as directed, adding 1/4 tsp. almond extract to cream cheese mixture in Step Mash together 1 cup fresh blueberries, 3 Tbsp. blueberry preserves, and 2 tsp. lemon zest. Stir mixture into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. THE COOKIE: Snickerdoodles, soft-baked from your bakery, for towering ice-cream cookie sandwiches. Wrap the finished treats individually (and tightly) in plastic wrap, and keep on hand in the freezer for parties or snacks.

  8. Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream: Prepare recipe as directed. Stir together 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup strawberry preserves, and 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil. Stir strawberry mixture and 3/4 cup crushed pretzel sticks into prepared ice cream. Freeze 1 hour before serving. THE COOKIE: Sugar cookies, soft-baked from your bakery, for towering ice-cream cookie sandwiches. Wrap the finished treats individually (and tightly) in plastic wrap, and keep on hand in the freezer for parties or snacks.