Have you picked up over the years how much I love ice cream? Ice cream is probably my favorite food indulgence, a delight that can be consumed at any time of day, in sickness or in health, and makes every bad day better.

For years, I’ve had a home ice cream maker, and sometimes I get on a roll and make variety after variety, and some years it only gets pulled out once a summer.

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But this summer, I stumbled on the “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” cookbook by Jeni Britton Bauer, of the ice cream company of the same name. Bauer is quite an entrepreneurial success story, and her introduction tells you a little bit about how she came from starting an ice cream stand in a public market in Columbus, Ohio, at age 22 to owning multiple stores and selling pints in grocery stores around the country (including in Wegman’s and Whole Foods in Maryland). But Bauer also writes about the science of ice cream, and why she uses the ingredients she does and how they function in making creamy, airy, ice-crystal-free ice cream.

Previously in my ice cream making, I’ve stayed away from recipes that use eggs to make the custard. Tempering the eggs with warm milk can be tricky, and I’ve had to dump a batch and start over again more than once. I’ve also stayed away from recipes that had cornstarch because that seemed like a gimmick, and I had noticed that commercial ice creams that use cornstarch don’t melt the same way as a simpler, purer, five-ingredient ice cream does. But Bauer uses cream cheese instead of eggs because she says it’s a better protein and binder in ice cream, and she does use cornstarch because it’s a thickener that also prevents ice crystallization. And when I tried her method, I thought the results were great and very pure tasting, and I plan to make these over and over again.

The first recipe that I tried was her Buckeye State variety, which is in homage to Ohio and those delicious confections, buckeye balls. The ice cream has peanut butter and honey and a dark chocolate, which Bauer recommends melting ahead of time, allowing to cool, and then pouring it into the almost finished ice cream and allowing it to harden in the ice cream. I skipped that step and chopped a dark chocolate bar into shavings and added it that way. This was an amazing ice cream — it had a great thickness to it and a really rich peanut butter flavor. My husband said it’s his new favorite.

Then I wanted to try one of her frozen yogurt recipes, which in my many years of having an ice cream maker, I have yet to try. I tried the lime cardamom variety, which uses almost equal parts yogurt and whole milk and then a little bit of cream and the cream cheese. The lime flavor comes from a lime syrup made with sweetened lime juice, and lime zest that you allow to cook in the milk and then cool in the mixture until you’re ready to freeze it. The tang of the yogurt with the tartness of the lime is so refreshing. This is totally a guilt-free morning ice cream. And even better, when the kids see me eating it and ask what I’m eating, I can honestly answer, “yogurt.”

I wanted to share one more recipe, for a goat cheese and roasted cherry ice cream that was in the book, but I just didn’t have enough space, so check that one out on our website.

If you want to see more about Bauer’s science on ice cream and more of her inventive and daring flavors, the book is available at the library, once I finally take it back.

Enjoy!

The Buckeye State ice cream

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

½ cup unsalted natural peanut butter

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or skip if using a saltier peanut butter)

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

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2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons honey

4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the total milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl or jar to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese, peanut butter and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice to make an ice bath.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and honey in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool until tepid but still fluid.

When the ice cream is thick and creamy and almost finished, drizzle the melted chocolate slowly through the opening in the top of the ice cream machine and allow it to solidify and break up in the ice cream for about 2 minutes.

Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Lime cardamom frozen yogurt

For the yogurt base:

1 quart plain low-fat yogurt

1 ½ cups whole milk

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

½ cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

Zest of 3 limes (reserved from the syrup)

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

For the lime syrup:

3 to 4 limes

3 tablespoons sugar

Advance prep: Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 ¼ cups of the strained yogurt, save the rest for another purpose.

For the syrup: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 3 limes in large strips; reserve. Halve the limes and squeeze enough juice to measure ½ cup. Combine the lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.

For the yogurt base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl or jar and make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water to prepare an ice bath.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and lime zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Add the 1 ¼ cups of strained yogurt, the lime syrup and the cardamom and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Remove the lime zest from the bag. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layer of the cherries and ending with a spoonful of cherries; do not mix. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

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Goat cheese ice cream with roasted red cherries

For the ice cream:

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

½ cup (about 4 ounces) fresh goat cheese

1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

For the cherries:

2 cups pitted fresh or frozen (not thawed) red or black cherries

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the cherries: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a 9-inch square baking dish, tossing to mix. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the juices are thickened and bubbly, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.

For the ice cream: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the total milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl or jar to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the goat cheese, cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice to make an ice bath.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layer of the cherries and ending with a spoonful of cherries; do not mix. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

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