Machine + bowl. It’s a pretty compact little thing, but that still doesn’t really solve the issue of where we’re actually going to store it. © 2012 Sugar + ShakeFor Valentine’s Day (yes, I know—that was five months ago) Shake bought me an ice cream maker. It sounds like just one yuppie step up from the oft-mocked husband-buys-wife-a-blender shtick, but I really did want one! (“You keep looking at that thing. Why don’t you just buy it already?!” Shake would say.)

There has been no shortage of people, including Shake, asking about when this item might be used. So after five months (yes, I KNOW!) of this unopened box sitting on our living room floor, I finally cracked into it.

Homemade ice cream. We may never go back to store bought.

Yippee! Cinnamon ice cream!! © 2012 Sugar + Shake

I’m not saying I’m anywhere near as handy with a freezer unit as VIA Gelato’s Melissa Bow, but I was pretty impressed with myself.

The first flavor I tried my hand at: cinnamon. I went to college in Ohio—don’t ask—and one of the handful of things I actually enjoyed in the good ol’ Buckeye State was Velvet ice cream. (Velvet’s the brand name, not, like, some weird style of Ohio frozen dairy product.) I was obsessed with their cinnamon ice cream, so it seemed only natural that this would be the first flavor I made. (And when I say obsessed, I mean it. I made our entire travel party of five go to Ye Olde Mill to get some when we visited Ohio for a friend’s wedding.)

The process was pretty simple—not as daunting as I thought it might be—but also not as fascinating as I thought it would be either. It’s just a bunch of liquid spinning around in a tub. I don’t know what I thought it would do, but I somehow thought it would be…more…interesting.

The actual making-of process was not nearly as interesting as anticipated. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Now it's starting to get a little interesting. Sort of like sand. Really runny sand. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Ice cream making is definitely not something you can do on a whim—you have to prepare the freezer bowl at least six hours ahead of time. (If you have enough freezer space to, as they say, “leave your freezer bowl in the freezer at all times for the most convenient frozen desserts,” I commend you. We just don’t have that kind of space. Because I have a bin full of vodka in there.) But who knew our freezer bin had such pretty, soft lighting?

The machine’s freezer bowl, chillin’. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

The recipe I used is a French-style ice cream recipe, meaning it uses an egg custard base, so it’s richer. I didn’t intend to; in fact, when I browsed the recent Food & Wine issue featuring ice cream recipes, I thought an American-style recipe would be easier (no egg custard to make). But I promptly forgot about the issue when I started searching for cinnamon ice cream recipes and instead just picked the first one that didn’t have a horrifyingly shocking number of egg yolks (some asked for 10!) and was written by a reasonably entertaining and talented writer.

Aha! Ice cream! It seemed doubtful that in the heat of our apartment it would really only take 20 minutes, but voila! © 2012 Sugar + Shake

I got better than I bargained for, discovering a new (to me) awesome blog, Vanilla Garlic, which cracks me up.  Plus, a cinnamon ice cream recipe that didn’t look like it would make me drop kick the new toy before I got started.

So you can get the recipe from Simply Recipes where Vanilla Garlic writer Garrett McCord posted it, since I didn’t make any changes. But check out his blog too, ‘cause it’s funny and full of great recipes.

One note on this recipe, though: I served this for dessert at a dinner party. One of our guests said, “Ooh, this is great! I love that slightly salty taste!”

The whaaa—?

OK, while putting it into cute little ice cream containers and licking the spatula, I did sort of notice that the ice cream had a “different” taste to it, but I attributed that to just being homemade and not, you know, full of crappy preservatives.

Mmmm...fresh homemade 'scream! © 2012 Sugar + Shake Stupid cute, right? © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Hm. Yep. A very subtle salty kick at the end. “I like it. It’s kind of like salted caramel!” said our other guest.

This should be a bigger bowl. © 2012 Sugar + ShakeIt’s not a bad thing…four out of four of us liked the salty undertone. At first, I couldn’t figure out where the saltiness came from. I thought maybe I’d accidentally used salted butter instead of unsalted, but I checked the next morning and the salted butter blocks were all there. I’d looked at a bunch of different recipes online when picking this one, and they all called for around ¼ teaspoon of salt, and I thought this one did, too.

Well, turns out Vanilla Garlic asks for ½ teaspoon of salt, whereas others ask for, as I said, ¼ teaspoon or less—or even none—and also use more liquid (cream and/or milk). So if you’re not a fan of the salted caramel type of dessert, you might want to decrease the salt added.

I’m hoping to make my Adventures in Ice Cream Making a regular blog series. I’ve already got my eye on my next flavor endeavor: I saw a recipe for Cherry-Bourbon Pie in the latest Bon Appétit, and I’m thinking of adapting that for ice cream! Stay tuned!