Ice cream is always good in the summer.
But homemade ice cream? That’s memorable.
Anyone can buy a carton of ice cream, and Wichita has plenty of good places to do so. But only those with a sense of culinary adventure and a little time on their hands can make their own, and those who excel at it say it’s not as hard as it sounds.
“With homemade ice cream, it’s just the fun of making it that adds the extra special part to it,” said Curtis Coln, whose homemade ice cream creations are now being sold in his wife, Tracy’s, Cow and Sow Deli at 612 E. Douglas.
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Coln said his parents would sometimes make ice cream as he was growing up, and some of his best summertime memories involve it. Back then, hand cranking was about the only option, so it was a big undertaking.
As someone addicted to culinary experimentation, Coln spends a lot of time toying around with recipes and methods for barbecuing and smoking meat. In recent years, he’s also become a homemade ice cream expert and couldn’t wait to try out his recipes in his wife’s new business.
Last month, the deli debuted Coln’s first effort: a homemade blueberry cheesecake ice cream. It sold out within hours.
Coln said the recipe he uses most often is “no churn,” which means no special ice cream maker is required. Instead, he mixes the ingredients with a KitchenAid mixer using the whisk attachment for about 15 minutes, until the texture is airy like meringue.
He’s reluctant to share his special recipe but says his ice cream starts with a base made of 2 cups of whipping cream, a can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. He adds cream cheese and fruit, whips it and freezes the ice cream for several days until it’s nice and hard.
His ice cream will be available at Cow and Sow throughout the summer.
Another local ice cream-making expert is Bonnie Aeschliman, owner of Cooking at Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St. North.
She always tries to make ice cream for special family gatherings and says she likes it because it just tastes better than ice cream bought at the store.
“I think it does. It has a different texture,” she said. “There’s something about it that it’s just a special treat. If you ask somebody if they want a scoop of commercial or homemade ice cream, they would opt for homemade every time.”
Aeschliman said she retired her hand cranker years ago, and these days her preferred ice cream-making device is an electric Cuisinart model that requires no ice or salt. It has a bucket that must be placed in the freezer for several hours before using. She dumps in her ice cream mixture, and the ice cream is ready to go in about 20 minutes.
A basic model, she said, can be had for about $59.
The electric ice cream makers produce smaller quantities – no more than 2 quarts at a time – so people making ice cream for large summer gatherings might want to choose the electric churning models that require ice and rock salt, Aeschliman said. Those start at around $25 and can make 4 quarts or more.
Aeschliman said her favorite flavors of ice cream are old-fashioned vanilla bean and peach – but only with in-season peaches that are ripe and juicy.
After traveling to Italy, she became particularly interested in making gelato.
“It’s different from ice cream,” she said. “It doesn’t have as much cream in it. It’s more condensed. As it chums, it doesn’t whip and get more air. It has a really pronounced flavor.”
Aeschliman agreed to share a couple of her favorite homemade ice cream recipes.