When you make ice cream from scratch, nothing can match its taste just out of the ice cream maker, but when stored in your freezer, it can become hard and difficult to scoop. There are some easy modifications you can make to your recipe to prevent your homemade ice cream from turning into a block of ice crystals.
Add 1 oz. alcohol to your ice cream recipe and prepare in an ice cream maker as usual. The alcohol will lower the freezing point of the ice cream and prevent large ice crystals from forming. This step will also work well with sorbets and sherbets. The alcohol will not freeze out, however, so this modification is not suitable for children or those with alcohol sensitivities.
Replace the milk or half-and-half in your ice cream recipe with heavy whipping cream. By using more fat in your ice cream mix, you will keep the ice cream softer and creamier than if you had made an ice milk or sorbet.
Chill the ice cream ingredients thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before you put them into the ice cream maker. The colder the ingredients are before you put them into the machine, the better. Since the ingredients will not have as far to go to get from chilled to frozen as they would from room temperature to frozen, the chance of large ice crystals forming in the ice cream hard is reduced.
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Let your ice cream sit on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes before serving to soften it up and to let some of the larger ice crystals melt. This will help to enhance its creaminess in your mouth.