Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Red, white and pink balloons are floating around. Heart-shaped chocolate boxes can easily be found at every store, for your convenience. Oversized teddy bears have made their appearance, eager to go to a loving home. Roses are springing up all over everywhere. We cannot walk down the street without being hit in the face by some kind of constant reminder that the Day of Love is fast approaching. We get it, we get it. Time is ticking. The pressure is intensified, even more so on the days leading up to the big event, where we have to prove our love for those we truly care about. Sure it seems like any other day, so what really makes this random holiday so important? What makes this day so special? Why do we have to show our appreciation and prove our love on this particular day? Perhaps it is because throughout the year, we sometimes forget to let those close to our heart know just how much they mean to us? February 14th is the day we get to redeem ourselves. It is the day that counts. We have to make it count. We know that deep down inside one day does not define an entire relationship yet we, for some unexplained reason, hold it up to such high standards. We keep our hopes high that we will not be forgotten. Our busy schedules are put on hold and we move our cares off to the side and wrack our brains for ideas to make each year unforgettable.
Valentine’s Day is not just for wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends. Those people lucky enough to be single sometimes go into a “we hate Valentine’s Day” funk, one which we cannot seem to get out of until the day is long gone, and completely behind us. We forget that V-Day is every bit as important for our family as well. It is still important to take the time to do something small, yet meaningful, for our parents or our siblings. Families deserve some love and attention and recognition on this special holiday too. For all the singletons out there, myself included, make this February 14th about the friends you love, the family you cherish, and the one person who truly matters; yourself.
The stress leading up to the 14th of February can be scary. We fear that we have not done enough. Or worse, we are terrified by the prospect that we have not found the perfect gift. Planning out a Valentine’s Day date whether you are making something at home or making plans to go out and take the night by storm, can be a lot easier if you take one tiny rule into consideration; simple is better. You do not need to purchase the most expensive and extravagant gift to prove that you love someone. Money does not define love. After all, is it not the thought that counts? Instead of beating yourself up to plan out the perfect day, think about making a simple dinner at home, renting a movie, and making dessert. Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean real dessert. Make a chocolate that will impress your loved ones, whomever they might be. They will appreciate something thoughtful as a homemade meal, dessert included, much more than having dinner in a crowded restaurant. Surrounded by people and being served by those unfortunate souls who could not get the day off. Your wallet will thank you too. Who says we cannot be economical and romantic at the same time? Gentleman, you will avoid sleeping on the couch if you take my advice. Make your significant other a sweet dessert. Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven. If you do not have any idea of what to make, do not sweat it. Even you can make this dessert, it’s relatively fool-proof. Happy planning.
For anyone who is cursed by living in a house or apartment with a tiny kitchen, you know how precious counter space can be. We have to plan things out to get the most out of the little space we have. We are forced into making sacrifices like not purchasing certain kitchen equipment because we don’t have anywhere to put it. Ice cream machines are a luxury for us, because it would mean finding a place for said appliance. We often go without one because well, we have to. We have no other choice.
In turn this causes us to be upset and mad at the world, maybe it’s just me, because we can’t make homemade ice cream. If you know what I’m talking about and can relate, your life is about to change. Forever.
Maybe not forever because you might be lactose intolerant and you probably just think I’m crazy, but let me tell you something, my life sure has changed. And I’m happy that it did because drum roll please…………….I bring to you, no-churn ice cream. Da dum! Queue round of applause, roses flying towards me, spotlight shining. Yes you heard me right, no machine ice cream. And yes it tastes just like the churned stuff. And we’re better people for it because those suckers with machines just wasted money and precious kitchen space. Let’s all take a moment to laugh at them. Hahahahahaha. Laugh at their face and point at them. Hahahaha. Okay too much. Reel it in. That’s enough. Let’s begin.
We’re starting off this amazing ice cream recipe with fresh strawberries.
**Tip: If you don’t have access to fresh strawberries feel free to use whole frozen strawberries instead. Make sure they have thawed completely before proceeding to the next steps. Although if your market doesn’t have any fresh strawberries at the moment, I give you permission to go up to the manager and demand for some fresh berries. If he doesn’t respond to reasoning then start throwing things. Kick down the store displays. Run down the aisles and knock the items off the shelves. Know your rights! Stage a walk-out! Make signs! Protest!**
The first thing we need to do is rinse our berries. It is important to not clean any type of berry until you are ready to use them. If you clean berries and store them in the fridge, guess what, the moisture will cause them to mold fast. They wont keep as long. So lesson of the day is to wash your strawberries until moments, no seconds, before you are ready to make this ice cream.
Give them a thorough rinse making sure to toss the berries around the colander as the water runs through.
Allow the water to drain through and the berries to air dry for a bit. You don’t want any excess water going into the chunky syrup we’re about to make. It’s really a compote. Look at us, we’re being super fancy and making compote. Ou la la.
Once dry, you can cut off the leafy green tops with a pairing knife.
Slice the strawberries in half and place them in a medium sauce pot.
Place the pot over medium heat.
Throw in the sugar. Don’t just throw it in. Ever so carefully, stream it in. Believe me it makes all the difference on how you add it to the strawberries.
If you were to just dump the sugar in, the entire dessert is ruined. Might as well stop trying. Throw it all away and give up.
I’m totally kidding. It doesn’t matter how you add the sugar. If you believed me, let me know, I want us to be best friends.
We’re using granulated sugar for this recipe. Essentially we are making a sort of thick strawberry compote to fold into our ice cream base later on.
And just because I happen to love sugar, here are two more images of cascading sugar for you to enjoy.
Stir the sugar and berries together and allow them to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. The moisture in the strawberries will begin to come out and stew the fruit. The sugar will give a good sweet balance to the tart berries, and it will help draw out the moisture as well. That’s my fancy food science talk right there for ya.
Allow it to simmer away, stirring occasionally. After about ten minutes the stewing strawberries will look like this:
If you like big chunks of strawberries in your ice cream then you can just leave the berries like this. But if you don’t, you can use a wooden spoon to break down the berries a bit.
Little bubbles should start to appear around the liquid as the berries continue to simmer.
Right now, the compote is a little too runny. We want the consistency of syrup so we need to thicken this up.
Pour a bit of water into a small bowl or cup, and mix it with the cornstarch. Whisk completely with a fork.
Pour the cornstarch mixture into the simmering fruit.
Give it a good stir and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, in which it will start to thicken and continue to cook down the strawberries.
You can remove the compote from the stove and transfer it to a bowl to cool down.
It needs to be completely cooled before we can add it to the ice cream base. And I do mean completely cooled, not sort of cool or slightly warm. No, absolutely cooled. Cold.
If your are impatient, like me, and you want to speed up the process—I mean who has the time to wait for strawberry compote to cool down completely?—you can place the bowl in the freezer and cut the waiting time by half. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. You can stir it occasionally to make it cool down even faster. Look at all these cooling tips. So many we won’t know what to do with them after this recipe.
In the meantime let’s make the ice cream base. Did you think you were going to be able to rest? No! We have more to do! Let’s multi-task. It’s Valentine’s Day. We need to be ready.
We need cream cheese. That is our “cheesecake” part of the recipe. Purely decadent and completely sinful.
Funny little side note about the cream cheese. I forgot to include it in the ingredient picture at the beginning. You know when you have a lot on your mind and you go over a list again and again to make sure you haven’t forgotten something and you still forget something? Well it happened to me. I got the cream cheese ready and it was on it’s little plate, but I forgot to add it to the picture. I only realized at this point when I looked for it to start the creaming process. I glanced over at the counter and there off to the side was the cream cheese. By itself. Waiting to be used. Ooops. Just pretend it’s in the picture.
Anyhow, let’s get back to the recipe. Boy, you sure can talk my ear off. Always distracting me.
We need to cream the cream cheese. So drop it into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Whip on high for a few minutes, until it is creamy and light.
Now add the sweetened condensed milk. This will help make the ice cream creamy without churning. Who needs an extra machine cluttering up our much needed counter space? Not us!
Add the condensed milk and mix again.
**Tip: Slowly add in the condensed milk to prevent the cream cheese from lumping.**
**Note: Make sure you pick up and use sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk. They are entirely different products. Most people confuse the two. Evaporated milk will not work here.**
Add the vanilla extract.
And now, with the mixer running on low, slowly and ever so carefully add in the cold, very cold, heavy whipping cream.
Once all the heavy whipping cream has been added and it is all mixed together, you can stop the mixer. And swap out the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment.
Start the mixer again and whip the cream mixture on medium.
When the mixture begins to thicken, you can raise the speed to medium high and continue to whip.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks form when you raise the whisk.
Make sure to keep an eye on it, it can easily turn into butter in a flash if you overmix it.
We’re not making butter, we’re making ice cream here.
Stiff peaks will look like this:
Okay, now it starts to get a little complicated. Just a little, don’t start to freak out and hyperventilate. You can do this.
Remove half of the mixture from the bowl and place it in another bowl.
Reserve that for later.
To the half of the cream mixture, still in the mixing bowl, add half of the strawberry compote.
So, so far we have half of the ice cream base in a small bowl and the other half in the bowl of the mixer. And we have half of the strawberry compote in a small bowl and the other half in the bowl of the mixer with half of the ice cream base. Right? Yea, that’s right.
I think I just over complicated it. But read it again, it should make sense.
Mix together until it becomes a pale pink color.
Okay that’s it, we have all the steps prepared. We are now ready to put the ice cream all together.
Believe me it’s worth it. It’ll make making ice cream so much easier.
We’re going to be laying several things together.
Pour half of that pink mixture into a freezable dish. I used a spring form pan.
And top it with half of the leftover compote.
Okay, now top it with the remaining white untinted ice cream mixture from earlier.
Now top it with the remaining pink mixture and the rest of the compote.
Okay everything should be used up right? Look around you, did you add all of the compote? Is all of the ice cream mixture used up? If you have anything remaining in a bowl somewhere, then you did something wrong. You didn’t follow my complicated steps right.
But shhhhhh, don’t worry. I’m not going to tell anyone. Neither should you. Just add it on top right now, no one will know.
Now grab a spatula and start to swirl everything together.
Swirl as much or as little as you’d like. It depends on how you like your ice cream to be. Do you like lots of strawberry swirls? Or not as much? I’ll leave the decision up to you.
Once you’ve reached your desired strawberry swirl consistency, you can stop swirling. I know it’s difficult. Swirling is fun, but you must stop.
Walk away from the ice cream. I know it must also be difficult to not grab a spoon and start eating it now. But we must resist the urge.
Of course, you can try a tiny bit, you know to make sure everything is alright. We wouldn’t want it to taste bad and serve it to our loved ones. We must perform a quality control. Yeah, we have to try it, but just a try. Don’t get carried away and start gobbling it up.
Look at that. We are done. It now needs to chill in the freezer.
Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then with a piece of foil. This will prevent frost bite or freezer burn, however you say it. It will prevent it.
Place the pan in the freezer…..and now this is the downside of the recipe. So yes it does make delicious irresistible ice cream without the use of a machine and without the tedious churning, but like most good things in life their is a catch. I purposely waited until the end to spring it on you so I can entice you to make it.
It has to freeze for a total of six hours. WHAT!??!?! I know I know. Who has that kind of will power and patience?! I don’t, believe me. But I had to force myself. Trust me though, it is completely worth the long grueling hours of torture.
It’s best if you do it the night before and allow it to freeze overnight, but at least a minimum of six hours will do.
Then after six hours or the next day, for breakfast even, you can serve it up.
You’ll have the best strawberry cheesecake ice cream you’ve ever tasted.
And the best part is that we didn’t need an ice cream machine to make it. I’ve always wanted to make ice cream but I don’t have a machine. Mostly because I don’t have space for yet another appliance, but also because let’s face it, I’m cheap and I don’t want to buy an ice cream machine that I’m sure I wouldn’t use all that often.
It’s not that I wouldn’t use it because I don’t love ice cream. I happen to love ice cream. I wouldn’t use it because I would have to clean it and then freeze the bowls and then pull out the machine when I needed it and churn the ice cream. So much work. No thank you.
With this recipe I can make ice cream without all those complicated steps. Gosh, now I sound like a cheesy informercial. Real like customer. Believe me it works!
And it’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat.
Of course I had to pull out the ice cream cones because we all know that ice cream is best served on a cone. Reminds me of my childhood days.
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was enjoying a heaping serving of ice cream on top of a cone. Wait, I think it was yesterday.
If strawberry doesn’t float your boat, have no fear, you can mix-in whatever flavorings you want. Use the ice cream base as your blank canvas and mix-in whatever fruit you want or you can add Nutella and chocolate chips. Whatever your heart desires. Valentine’s Day pun there for ya.
Oh oh oh you can do a pistachio ice cream, which happens to be my ALL time favorite ice cream. If you recall.
Or you can make it with the strawberries, as it is shown here, because strawberry ice cream is kind of awesome.
Plus Valentine’s Day is around the corner so it goes with the theme. See? I’ve got your back. Make this for Valentine’s Day. Your loved ones will love you for it.
Stay tuned for another Valentine’s Day treat coming soon.
No-Churn Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Use this simple recipe to make easy and delicious ice cream without a machine. If you’ve ever wanted to make homemade ice cream but felt like you couldn’t because you don’t have a machine, well now you can. If strawberries aren’t in season, use frozen strawberries, it will still taste just as great. You can omit the strawberries all together and flavor the ice cream with anything you’d like. Chocolate chips, Nutella, or cookie dough, this recipe is a blank canvas ready for you to paint it.
yield: about 2 pints.
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and stemmed (or about 2 cups of frozen strawberries)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
1. Rinse and dry the strawberries. Cut off the leafy tops and slice in half. Place the sliced strawberries in a medium sauce pot and set over medium heat. Sprinkle with the sugar and give it a mix. Allow it to cook until the berries begin to soften and release their juices, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add it to the simmering strawberries. Stir and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until it thickens. Stir constantly to prevent the compote from burning. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow it to cool down completely before proceeding to the next steps. You can place it in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to speed up the cooling process.
3. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened cream cheese. Whip on high for 1 minute until it becomes light and fluffy. Slowly stream in the sweetened condensed milk. Add it slowly to prevent the cream cheese from lumping. Stir in the vanilla, and heavy cream. Stop the mixer and switch to the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Be careful not to over mix as it can turn into butter fast.
4. Take half of the whipped cream mixer and place it in a bowl. Reserve it for later. Add half of the strawberry compote to the remaining whipped cream mixture in the mixer bowl. Mix together until it is a light pink color.
5. Spread half of the “pink” mixture into a freezable dish. I used a springform pan. Top with half of the remaining strawberry compote. Spread the reserved “untinted” whipped cream mixture, spreading evenly. Dollop with remaining compote and top with the rest of the “pink” whipped cream mixture. Using a knife or a spatula, swirl the layers together. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer.
6. Freeze the ice cream for at least 6 hours. Overnight would be best, but if you can’t resist the temptations that long, then 6 hours will do just fine. Serve in sundaes or in a cone. It will keep, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, in the freezer for about 1 week. Enjoy!