Soft-serve ice cream satisfies a specific craving, but isn’t readily available at home unless you have a special kind of ice cream maker or a fancy dry-ice churning method. Get around this problem by converting a hard pack of ice cream into your own homemade soft serve. The results may not be immediate, but they are satisfying. The Truck Food Cookbook provides you an easy formula for making this treat — sprinkles and other toppings are on you.

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups hard pack ice cream, chocolate or vanilla, softened

Place the cream in a large metal bowl and whip with an electric mixer until it forms into soft peaks. Add in the sugar and vanilla until just combined — be careful not to over-whip or you’ll end up with broken whipped cream resembling soft butter.

Remove the mixer and fold in the softened ice cream with a rubber spatula. Stir delicately but thoroughly, and then move the mixture to a zip-top freezer bag. Put the bag in the freezer for about 4 hours, until semi firm.

Snip off one of the corners of the bag to squeeze the ice cream out in soft serve fashion.

Leaving ice cream out to soften for too long will make it soupy, but not into soft serve. The extra cream and freezing time create the texture you’re after.

Ice cream with mix-ins — such as cookies and cream or rocky road — won’t work with this method. Part of the allure of soft serve is its creamy, smooth texture; soft serve is designed to be topped, not blended with ingredients.