Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ice Cream in a Baggie

This post breaks my heart. Ok, that may be a bit extreme, but I've had it written and waiting in the works for days until Squirt and I had our science day. We've started doing something science-y every week and I've had this one brewing in my noggin for a while now. Let's just say she didn't really love it the way I expected and it made my heart hurt just a little bit. Oh well, C'est la vie. I learned this week that science is not a part of her school curriculum much to my dismay. I know we are in liberal-arts-land but really, that just seems sad. So regardless of her level of enthusiasm for the final product, it's still worth it to me.
I like ice cream. I do. If there was only to be one junk food left on the entire planet, I'd round up all my gumption and try to bribe convince the world to vote that ice cream would be it. Of course there would be a void within my soul where cheesecake used to be, but it could easily be filled by making cheesecake ice cream. Therein lies the brilliance of selecting ice cream to be the one dessert left on Earth! Any other dessert you once liked can be made into an ice cream flavor thereby creating no dessert vacancy in one's dining repertoire.

This week we made ice cream in a baggie. Have you seen this silly thing before?

Even though the idea of passing it around a campfire while someone tells crazy jokes in the middle of the night does sound rather appealing, this product makes nowhere near enough to share with compadre's if said idyllic situation ever occurred, but I digress... ice cream in a baggie is a better, easier, cheaper, more logical alternative to buying one of these silly things.

If you have ziploc bags, ice, salt, and a few tasty ingredients, you have all you need to make your own delicious soft serve ice cream in 5 minutes! (I sound like an infomercial) This was our science project of the week. In fact, the idea that salt raises the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water was my 6th grade science fair project... so yeah. It's THAT awesome.

1/2 cup milk (Whole is best but any milk will do. Higher fat content makes the ice cream creamier.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 tbsp. salt
2 sandwich size ziploc bags (Cheapie little bags are fine.)
1 gallon size ziploc bag (Freezer bags work best)
gloves or a towel to grip the baggies with, they get reaalllllllly cold!

Mix the milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar in one of the sandwich size bags. Mix it up pretty good to make sure all the sugar dissolves and it's well combined. Squish out as much air as you can and zip the bag shut. To make sure that it doesn't leak or get salt into the bag, place the bag with the cream mixture into a second sandwich size bag.

We mixed ours first and then poured it into the baggie.

You can't tell here, but at this point she's crazy excited and annoyed that I have to take pictures every 2 seconds.

Grab one gallon size bag and place the double bagged cream mixture inside. Fill the gallon bag with ice, sprinkle with salt, and let the freezing begin! Hold the bag with a towel or wearing gloves and shake or wiggle it for 5-7 minutes (little kids may need help depending on their attention spans) until the cream mixture is frozen. Open the baggie, grab a spoon, and voila! Homemade ice cream in a baggie.

The big baggie swallowed up the small baggie!

Our bag is not brand new. This is great for re-using plastic baggies, but it was stubborn about sealing all the way.

Shake Shake Shake!!!

Pulling out the finished product.

Skeptical, but trying.

As a mom this is how I explain it: YUM!!! You just made ice cream! Isn't that cool? When we put salt on the ice it makes the ice colder and freezes the stuff you put in the smaller baggie. (Then I cry over the fact that as a total foodie family we have made some seriously divine frozen custard recipes in the last couple months. She tasted this and said "Eh.")

As a teacher this is how I explain it: When the salt gets onto the ice is forces it to melt. Solutions, when one substance (like the salt) dissolves into another (the water, in this case ice), boil at a higher temperature and freeze at a lower temperature. The salt combines with the melting ice at the edge of the baggie (water) and makes a solution. This water solution then tries to suck all the heat out of the milk solution in the baggie. This is a good thing because the ice cream mix needs to reach approximately 27 degrees Fahrenheit to freeze where normal water needs to be at 32 degrees. If we add about 4 tbsp salt to the ice it will lower the temperature to 8-12 degrees which is more than low enough to freeze our ice cream. The more quickly we freeze the ice cream the creamier it will be.

This idea is found in numerous places on the web. Check out the following links. I am partial to the first one.


  1. Sadly I totally understand her dismay. Homemade ice cream is totally different than store bought and takes getting used to. I always hated baggy or bucket ice cream. I thought it was gross.

  2. Tasty!! We used to make it in large cans, such as the kind instant potatoes come in. Then we would just roll it back and forth until it was finished. Good times.


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