By Victoria Petersen
For the Peninsula Clarion
It’s true that at one time, Alaskans ate more ice cream per capita than any other state, including Washington, D.C.
I’m not sure if this fact is still accurate. If it is, it doesn’t surprise me. Many Alaska towns have a cute little ice cream shop that brings in tourists and residents alike.
In Girdwood, it’s The Ice Cream Shop in the Tesoro complex. In Homer, perhaps it’s Carmen’s Gelato, which is only open seasonally. In Fairbanks, it’s Hot Licks. Seward has Harbor Street Creamery and Sweet Darlings. There’s Coppa Alaskan Ice Cream in Juneau — and there probably many others in Southeast Alaska I’ve never been to or heard of.
In Houston, Miller’s Market flags down drivers on the Parks Highway with their colorful giant ice cream statues. I don’t know what decade those giant ice cream cone statues are a remnant of, but I see them all over Alaska, including in Sterling at the True Blue coffee shack.
When my boyfriend and I made the move from Anchorage to Kenai in 2018, we definitely missed our hometown ice cream shops. Anchorage has plenty: Wild Scoops, Woohoo Ice Cream, Tastee Freeze, Cold Stone Creamery, Marble Slab Creamery, Baskin Robbins, and more recently Motley Moo and Galatte. Not to mention, Anchorage also has an abundance of frozen yogurt shops.
Soldotna has Dairy Queen and Kenai has zilch. Sometimes Kenai River Brewing Company will pull out a weekend homemade ice cream special, but there’s no community place for residents of the Central Peninsula to get some quality, locally made ice cream. We toyed with the idea of opening up a little ice cream joint for a couple weeks. It would be super popular, I think. Alaskans and tourists love ice cream.
Well, we didn’t open up an ice cream shop, but we have been making it at home. We got the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it works very well. We were using the base recipes in the instruction booklet, but over the weekend, my boyfriend and I took a virtual class on how to make ice cream from chef Beau Schooler of Juneau restaurant Bocca Al Lupo. If you follow him or the restaurant on Facebook or Instagram, you know their ice cream looks incredibly creamy and delicious.
All this is to say, I think winter is a great time to break out the ice cream machine. Yeah it’s cold, but there are so many fall and winter flavors you can take advantage of this time of year. It’s also super fun and distracting to make a plan to make ice cream, decide on unique and delicious flavors and share it with your friends and family. It’s a recipe for distraction that I personally really need right now with everything going on.
Don’t have an ice cream machine? Use this recipe from an earlier Kalifornsky Kitchen that only requires a handful of ingredients and can be ready to eat in a few hours.
If you do have an ice cream machine and want to break it out for the first time in awhile, or you already make ice cream at home and want to spice it up for the holidays — here are some add-in and flavor ideas we have come up with for great homemade ice cream.
Crushed up snickerdoodle cookies with a ribbon of lemon curd, an homage to Wild Scoop’s Sunshine Club flavor. Chai spiced ice cream, featuring cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and cloves that steeps in the dairy base before churning! Or, steep your base in pumpkin spice for a similar fall flavor. Crushed-up peanut butter cookies with a ribbon of jam or jelly or marmalade.
You could also just crush up homemade chocolate chip cookies, or whatever your favorite cookie is. Drop in bits of berry crumble to use up remaining crumble, if there is such a thing. Since cranberries are in season, cranberries and orange zest would be great together. Make homemade salted caramel and ribbon it in while the ice cream is churning. Steep hot cocoa mix in the dairy base and add in marshmallows while it churns. Gingerbread cookies and apple cider donuts would be great add-ins too.
No-churn cardamom rhubarb ice cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1⁄2 tablespoon of cardamom
1 to 3 cups of rhubarb compote, jelly, marmalade or jam, to taste
In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer and a bowl, whip the heavy cream for several minutes, until distinct peaks form. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk to the whipped cream and gently fold until the two are combined. Pour into a loaf pan or other vessel.
Take the rhubarb preserves and pour into the whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk mixture. Using a fork, slowly mix in the rhubarb preserves until the preserves are ribboned throughout the mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least three hours.