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Easy Ways to Jazz Up Plain-Jane Ice Cream

By Carolyn Malcoun, August 7, 2014 - 11:26am

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When it comes to ice cream, I’m what you might call a “goodie miner”—I dig out all of the chunks of yumminess and eat them first—so the more “stuff” in my ice cream, the better. Since I often feel that ice cream makers don’t add quite as many treats as I’d like, I’ve been known to take it upon myself to get the right ratio at home. I just buy some plain light ice cream, let it soften up for a few minutes, then stir in my own combination of nuts, fruit, chocolate or whatever suits my fancy that day. If this idea piques your fancy, here are some serving-size guidelines to follow, as well as a few of my favorite combinations to get you started.

Feeling inspired? Start with our homemade chocolate and vanilla ice cream recipes.

Tips for Adding Ice Cream Stir-Ins:
  • Chop nuts, chocolate or fruit to about the size of a pea.
  • Cool toasted ingredients completely before adding them to the ice cream.
  • If you’re using store-bought ice cream, let it soften for a few minutes to make it easier to add the stir-ins. (Tip: To soften ice cream quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.) You may also want to freeze the ice cream after adding the stir-ins to firm it up a bit before serving.
  • If you’re making your own ice cream, check your ice cream maker’s instructions when it comes to judging the volume of your stir-ins. In general, we recommend 1 cup of stir-ins per quart of ice cream. Add them during the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Stir-In Combination #1: Walnut & Chocolate Cookie
Add 3/4 cup chopped chocolate sandwich (or wafer) cookies & 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts.

Stir-In Combination #2: Strawberry & Chocolate
Add 3/4 cup fresh or frozen chopped strawberries & 1/4 cup cocoa nibs or mini chocolate chips.

Stir-In Combination #3: Cherry & White Chocolate
Add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen chopped cherries & 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks.

Stir-In Combination #4: Blueberry & Cinnamon
Add 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries & 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Stir-In Combination #5: Coconut & Almond
Add 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes & 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds.

What are your favorite stir-in combinations to add to ice cream? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog, Dessert

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, young daughter and dog.

Carolyn asks: What are your favorite stir-in combinations to add to ice cream?

Tell us what you think:

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