Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Plastic Bag Ice Cream - Coffee Can Ice Cream

Kids absolutely love making ice cream. It doesn't matter how young or how old they are. Homemade ice cream is so yummy and they can make whatever kind of ice cream they like the most. This is a fun activity that isn't actually messy at all even thought it sounds like it would be. It can also be very educational. Read through the different recipes before you pick one to make. I recommend using rock salt. I have used kosher salt and the ice cream didn't come out quite as "icy" as I would have liked.

Plastic Bag Ice Cream Recipe

1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 tablespoons salt
2 quart size Ziploc bags
1 gallon size Ziploc freezer bag

a hand towel or gloves to keep fingers from freezing as well!

Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart size bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Too much air left inside may force the bag open during shaking.

Place this bag inside the other quart size bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. By double-bagging, the risk of salt and ice leaking into the ice cream is minimized.

Put the two bags inside the gallon size bag and fill the bag with ice, then sprinkle salt on top. Again let all the air escape and seal the bag.

Wrap the bag in the towel or put your gloves on, and shake and massage the bag, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture. Five to eight minutes is adequate time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream.

Tips: Freezer bags work best because they are thicker and less likely to develop small holes, allowing the bags to leak. You can get away with using regular Ziploc bags for the smaller quart sizes, because you are double-bagging. Especially if you plan to do this indoors, we strongly recommend using gallon size freezer bags.

Coffee Can Ice Cream

An alternative to the baggie method is to use coffee cans. The recipe is the same, and may be doubled or tripled because the coffee can will hold more liquid than the baggies. Put the mixture in a standard size coffee can and seal with the plastic lid, then place that can inside a larger "economy size" can. Pack the large can with ice and salt, and seal with the lid. Kids can roll the can back and forth on the ground (outside - the condensation will drip) until the ice cream is set. The time required to set the mixture will vary depending on the number of servings in the can.

What does the salt do? Just like we use salt on icy roads in the winter, salt mixed with ice in this case also causes the ice to melt. When salt comes into contact with ice, the freezing point of the ice is lowered. Water will normally freeze at 32 degrees F. A 10% salt solution freezes at 20 degrees F, and a 20% solution freezes at 2 degrees F. By lowering the temperature at which ice is frozen, we are able to create an environment in which the milk mixture can freeze at a temperature below 32 degrees F into ice cream.

Who invented ice cream? Legend has it that the Roman emperor, Nero, discovered ice cream. Runners brought snow from the mountains to make the first ice cream. In 1846, Nancy Johnson invented the hand-cranked ice cream churn and ice cream surged in popularity. Then, in 1904, ice cream cones were invented at the St. Louis World Exposition. An ice cream vendor ran out of dishes and improvised by rolling up some waffles to make cones.


Plastic Bag Ice Cream

2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup salt (The bigger the granules, the better. Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt is fine.)
Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full)
1 pint-size Ziploc bag
1 gallon-size Ziploc bag

1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly.

2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it's done.

3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, add mix-ins, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Easy cleanup too! Serves 1.

Ice Cream in a Bag


1/2 cup milk (it doesn't matter what kind, whole, 2%, chocolate, etc.)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon flavoring

Preparation Steps:

Add ingredients to a pint size zipper freezer bag and zip shut.

Place that bag in a larger (quart or larger) zipper bag and add ice to outside bag until bag is half way full.

Add about 6 Tablespoons salt (rock or regular) to the outer bag.

Zip outer bag shut and shake, turn, toss, and mix the bag.

In about 5-10 minutes you will have cold hands and yummy ice cream.

Flavor suggestions:

Root Beer

If members of the group are allergic to milk, make ices instead! Substitute juice or juice drinks for milk.


Don't double this, it doesn't work.

Suggest ice cream makers wear mittens or gloves. Their hands will get very cold.

Be sure to wipe or rinse all the salt off the small bag before you open it. Otherwise, you will have salty ice cream instead of sweet.



The Creative Cook