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Homemade Ice Cream: Not All It’s Shook Up to Be 

Originally published Jun 04, 2013 at beijingkids Magazine.


Today, I decided it was a perfect day to try a homemade ice cream recipe that I’ve seen floating around online. When I was about eight years old, my teacher at the time had us make ice cream using the plastic bag method. She mixed milk, sugar, and flavoring in one quart sized bag, and then put that bag into one with a few trays of ice and rock salt in the bottom. By some miracle, after shaking it for ten minutes, it turned into creamy delicious ice cream. It can be done, but my attempt rendered a less than ideal confection. I tried the freezer bag method, and another to try to make the ultimate summer treat. My advice is to lower your expectations drastically. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to make sweet, sweet, mush.

A Recipe for Milky Disappointment in 10 Easy Steps
Yields 1 disgruntled intern


  • 1 cup of milk

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Extra flavoring or mix-ins – I added a spoonful of Nutella and crushed-up chocolate

  • 4-6 tablespoons of salt

  • 2 trays of ice cubes

  • Quart sized freezer bags

  • Gallon sized freezer bags

1. Begin by pouring the milk, sugar, vanilla and extras into a quart sized bag. Guess on the measurements, since you can’t find proper teaspoons anywhere. Figure that the tiny bag of milk is approximately a cup, after briefly trying to convert the metric units to customary units.

2. Break apart the ice cubes from the trays in the sink. Realize that the gallon bags have disappeared. Improvise with a shopping bag. Fill said shopping bag with ice and salt. Place bag of milk into shopping bag full of ice and tie it off.

3. Shake the bag for about 10 minutes. When your fingers get cold, wrap the bag in a towel. Shake it like a Metro Station song. Be transported to 2008 pop song nostalgia as you shake it. Ponder the deeper meaning of life.

4. The shopping bag will probably leak. Ignore the drips of water. Keep shaking the bag for another five minutes.

5. Desperately look to see if the milk has turned into ice cream. Hide your disappointment when you see that it hasn’t.

6. Adopt a new method! Untie the bags and pour the ice into a large bowl. Add more ice and salt. Pour the milk solution into a smaller bowl. Fit the bowls inside one another.

7. Whisk the milk. Wish that you had an electric mixer. Continue whisking for fifteen minutes.

8. Get frustrated and toss the bowls into the freezer. Eat the rest of your chocolate bar to calm your doleful heart. Check on it in 40 minutes.

9. When you see that the milk is now a slightly solid mushy mess, pluck up the courage to try the clumps. Immediately regret your decision. When the bags were leaking, some salt escaped into the milk. Everything is ruined.

10. Throw away the mixture and buy some Haagen-Dazs. If you are really determined to make ice cream at home, invest in a proper ice cream maker, or freeze some bananas and cream the banana chunks in a blender with peanut butter.

Note: My mother says that milk with a very high fat content works best for making ice cream. Her recipe calls for rich whipping cream, so take that how you will.

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