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4 secrets to the best homemade ice cream (without the heavy cream)

By Hilary Meyer, July 20, 2012 - 9:46am

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4 secrets to the best homemade ice cream (without the heavy cream)

I love making ice cream at home, but have to say it’s been a real wake-up call. Somehow mixing egg yolks with more heavy cream than I would ever fathom using in any other circumstance makes me acutely aware of how much fat and calories are in each tasty bite. So instead of packing away my ice cream maker for good, I’ve decided to start making lighter ice cream at home. There are a few tricks to making it taste good, including an unexpected secret ingredient that makes it taste almost as rich as the full-fat stuff. Here are my tips for making great lighter ice cream at home:

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1. Use gelatin: If you want your lighter ice cream to mimic premium ice cream, you need a rich, soft mouthfeel that doesn’t come from heavy cream. That’s where the gelatin comes in. It’s a flavorless, tasteless ingredient that adds a silky texture without adding fat and calories, and it helps prevent large ice crystals from forming—a common problem when you’re trying to make light ice cream

2. Buy an ice cream maker: If only it were as easy as throwing the ingredients into the freezer and walking away! Lighter ice cream or not, you need an ice cream maker to make ice cream. The mechanical motion helps keep the freezing even and the texture smooth, not icy. They range in price from around $30 right on up to over $250. Follow the instructions that come with your maker for the best results.

3. Use sweetened condensed milk: Texture is the most important thing when it comes to enjoying lighter ice cream. Because it is lower in fat, it can be a little thin and icy. Another helper in this department is nonfat or low-fat sweetened condensed milk. It adds sweetness, but also a richer flavor and texture that you wouldn’t get by just adding sugar or another sweetener on its own.

4. Boost flavor with buttermilk: Want to give your lighter ice cream a flavor boost? Try making it with buttermilk. Naturally low in fat, it behaves like milk, but tastes like yogurt. Substitute buttermilk for milk in any recipe that could use some extra tang.

Do you have any tricks to lighten up your favorite ice cream? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Hilary Meyer, Food Blog, Dessert, Recipe Makeover

Hilary Meyer
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

Hilary asks: Do you have any tricks to lighten up your favorite ice cream?

Tell us what you think:

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