Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the US, which is also what we like to call the “unofficial start of summer.” My kids just finished their school years last week, the weather is finally warm, we lit the grill for the first time last night, and it truly does feel like summer. I have my mind on light and easy summer recipes, fresh salads and cool, sweet treats. Of course, that means ice cream.
If you’ve known me for a while, you know that my daughter is severely allergic to peanuts. She had her first anaphylactic reaction at 14 months old. As a mom, knowing that a staple childhood food (i.e. peanut butter) can harm or kill your child if accidentally ingested is absolutely terrifying. Even just trace amounts, in foods that don’t contain peanuts but are made in facilities where they’re used elsewhere, presents a risk. That means things like bakery-made cookies and cakes or store-bought ice creams are dangerous for her.
This diagnosis was completely overwhelming at first – I spent many sleepless nights thinking about how she would be treated at birthday parties and wondering what on earth I would feed this child – until I realized that I can make all these foods at home – and I can make them better, with organic and wholesome ingredients. I can control the sugar levels and tailor the flavors, and most importantly, I can make them safe for her so that she will not have to miss out on any of life’s simple pleasures. That’s the reason I started blogging in the first place. To share recipes and other information with moms who were just as overwhelmed as I was. And to provide a reassuring voice to those, newly without the options to eat out or to socialize where food was being served, saying “you’re not alone.”
Now, twelve years into this journey, I’ve moved away from writing about the allergy issues and simply share the recipes I cook for my family daily. One of the most satisfying things to make, in my opinion, is homemade ice cream. Not only is it leaps and bounds above what’s available at the store but, with a good ice cream maker, it’s one of the easiest treats to make in your own kitchen. I often say that my ice cream maker is one of the best investments I’ve made in a small appliance. Here are five of my favourite recipes. These will be on repeat all summer long.
This lemon-vanilla gelato is delicate and refined – it tastes like a mix of vanilla ice cream with a splash of limoncello. Two of my favourite summer flavours! I serve this with fresh blueberries. A classic combination! Get the recipe here.
Glace aux Spéculoos
This recipe uses Biscoff Cookie Butter, which I’ve always thought of as one of the most extravagant indulgences… I mean, crushed cookies blended with oil until they’re smooth and spreadable, resembling the texture of peanut butter. It’s the perfect consistency for blending into ice cream to make the most decadent treat. Get the recipe here.
Culinary lavender is a gem to have in the kitchen. From cocktails to cakes and even roast chicken, it adds a subtle floral flavour that immediately takes me to the hills of Provence. This gelato is made with lavender infused milk and garnished with delicate dried flowers. Get the recipe here.
Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
This vanilla ice cream is as easy as it gets. Just five ingredients, whisked together, the ice cream maker does all the work. This is perfect to serve with brownies or to use in root beer floats. Of course, it’s great on its own and also makes a good base for adding other flavours (like strawberries in the photo above). Tip: to take it up a notch, use brown sugar in place of granulated sugar. Get the recipe here.
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Brown sugar and cinnamon give this ice cream its rich, spicy flavour. In summer I love to serve this in sugar cones; in the fall, it makes a great substitute for whipped cream on top of a pear tart or baked apples. Get the recipe here.