Chameleon Ice Cream

How many ice cream recipe does a creative cook need? When it's a "chameleon"? Exactly one!

This is my base recipe for a "skinny" ice cream that uses less sugar, fewer eggs, a lower-fat blend of milks. How to compensate? By bumping up the flavor essence, whatever the ice cream wants to be. There are nine suggested (and tested) ice cream recipes here, all start with the base recipe. It's a "chameleon" – it can turn into whatever ice cream you can dream up!

Chameleon Ice Cream, one recipe, many flavors, all skinny. | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4 to 6 |

Warm spring evenings call for light suppers and something cold to follow. If you haven’t yet splurged on a new-style ice cream maker, it’s worth the $50 investment.

CHAMELEON ICE CREAM is my new "standard but never-the-same-twice" ice cream. It begs for creativity! Banana chocolate, anyone? Ginger? Have fun with this! I’ve lightened the typical ice cream recipe with a still-rich combination of milks, two eggs compared to eight or more, only 4 tablespoons of sugar.

The secret trick to satisfaction is to bump the flavor "essence" – note the three tablespoons of vanilla extract in VERY VANILLA – to compensate for the flavor loss from less fat.

CHOCOLATE MINT ICE CREAM Substitute 1 teaspoon mint extract for vanilla. Roughly chop 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate and stir into frozen mixture after processing.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 cup: 218 Cal; 16g Tot Fat; 17g Carb; 2g Fiber; 55mg Sodium; 90mg Cholesterol; 7g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6

COFFEE SPICE ICE CREAM Add 2 tablespoons expresso powder or instant coffee granules to egg mixture, then stir in 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 cup: Same as Very Vanilla

COCONUT ICE CREAM Substitute 13 ounces coconut milk for whole milk and half & half. Reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons. Toast 2 ounces sweetened coconut. (To toast, spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet. Set oven for 350F/175C, put pan in right away. Stir every couple minutes during about 12 minutes of toasting.) Stir coconut into frozen mixture after processing.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 cup: 191 Calories; 14g Tot Fat; 10g Sat Fat; 11g Carb; 0g Fiber; 69mg Sodium; 72mg Cholesterol; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 5

RASPBERRY ICE CREAM Thaw 12 ounces frozen raspberries with 1 tablespoon sugar, stirring occasionally. Add berries just before processing.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Makes 4 cups, per 1/2 Cup: 142 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 17g Carb; 3g Fiber; 46mg Sodium; 78mg Cholesterol; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4

LOW-GLYCEMIC ICE CREAM Substitute 3 tablespoons agave for 4 tablespoons sugar.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 Cup: 166 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 89mg Cholesterol; 68mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 0g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 2-1/2 - 3 hours
Makes 3-1/2 cups
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup ½% or skim milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract

Stir milks in medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Bring almost to a boil. Refrigerate uncovered 15 minutes.

While milk mixture is heating, separately whisk eggs. (TIP: Use a two-cup container.) Add sugar and vanilla. Whisk again and set aside.

Remove milk mixture from fridge and discard thin skin on top. A quarter cup at a time, add about half milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking after each addition. Whisking, pour milk-egg mixture into saucepan. Over medium heat, cook until a slightly thickened custard forms. (TIPS: Stir often and then constantly to prevent uneven cooking. The custard is fully cooked once it coats a metal spoon.)

Refrigerate custard until completely chilled, 2 – 3 hours. (TIP: Another option is to place in the freezer for about an hour.) Process in an ice cream processor and serve immediately. (TIP: Start processor just before sitting down to eat.)

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/2 Cup: 148 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 13g Carb; 0g Fiber; 53mg Sodium; 90mg Cholesterol; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3.5 & PointsPlus 4
ALANNA's TIPS If the custard accidentally boils, don’t panic. The mixture will look funny but will return to normal during processing. Homemade ice cream can be made and processed ahead of time but because its ingredients include no gums nor preservatives, its texture is soft but most pleasing immediately after processing. Or – cover the processor bowl and hold for up to 30 minutes.
CHOCOLATE BANANA ICE CREAM Use 2 cups low-fat chocolate milk and 1 cup half & half, 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add 2 ripe chopped bananas just before processing.
GINGER ICE CREAM Omit the vanilla. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of ginger paste to the milks while warming, strain before cooking the custard.
CINNAMON ICE CREAM Follow Very Vanilla instructions. Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon to the milks.
SOUR CHERRY ICE CREAM Follow Very Vanilla instructions. Substitute 1 tablespoon almond extract for the vanilla. Stir in 8 ounces sour cherries (preferably puréed first so they don't ice up) just before processing.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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I love the recipes here! I just wanted to say a little something about texture. I make A LOT of homemade ice cream. I have noticed when I want to make a low-sugar ice cream, the ice cream is best, eaten right away. However, when I add 1 cup of sugar for every 3 cups of milk/cream combo, the ice cream sets well, and scoops well, just like store bought ice cream, without gums--very much like Breyers ice cream. BUT I do like low-sugar ice cream sometimes, so I make a smaller amount, and eat it right away--YUM!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna