For a lot of us, the words “homemade ice cream” conjure up scenes of rock salt, lots of ice, and turning a heavy crank for what seems like hours. Thanks to modern technology, there are a lot of simple to use ice cream makers out there, but they tend to be expensive, and (if you’re like me) they present the challenge of finding room for yet another rarely used appliance in your kitchen cupboards. Luckily, a new ice cream making hack emerged about a decade ago that made homemade ice cream easier and more approachable for the average home cook: no churn ice cream.
The basic principle of these recipes is that pre-whipping the cream eliminates the need for churning by adding the much-needed air into the ice cream so it has the right texture when frozen. And it works! You can whip up a batch of ice cream in just minutes. I only wish there was a hack to eliminate the time it takes to freeze the ice cream, but science hasn’t cracked that one yet! In the meantime, you can make a batch in the morning or at noon and have it for dessert after dinner.
I know that recipe substitutions are just a fact of life. When I write up a recipe, I try include any possible substitutions that I’ve tried or feel confident will work. This is one of those recipes that has a real substitution issue: heavy whipping cream is vital to make this ice cream work. I find that people often call non-dairy whipped topping like Cool Whip “whipped cream.” It’s easy to understand why, because whipped topping is often used to top pie or hot chocolate or sundaes in the same way traditional whipping cream might be. Whipped topping will not work as a substitute for heavy cream in this recipe, however. You really do need the real thing. (But remind me later to post my no-fuss chocolate mousse recipe that uses whipped topping, it’s delicious!)
When I dish up a bowl of ice cream, I like to top it with my favorite syrups (caramel) and toppings (peanut butter cups, please!). One advantage of making your own ice cream is that you can mix your favorite toppings right into the ice cream. I have tried this a few times with varied results. I found that if I added in no more than half a cup of finely chopped peanut butter cups right as I finished folding the whipping cream into the chocolate mixture I got fairly good results. I would recommend trying the recipe once without mix-ins so you have an idea how it works before you try!