Raising the Ice Cream Bar

Raising the Ice Cream Bar

Scooped in a cone, spooned into a bowl or alongside a slice of pie – no matter how you choose to enjoy it, there’s simply nothing else quite like the sweet taste of vanilla ice cream. And while store-bought or parlour-made are both super, making your own homemade ice cream is a richly rewarding and downright delectable experience that doesn’t require many ingredients nor much in the way of prep time.

Vanilla ice cream, perhaps the most popular flavour of all, is a delicious taste of nostalgia, while stirring up a batch from scratch makes it that much more satisfying. Thankfully, having an ice cream machine is not essential to the ice cream making process, so long as a food processor is handy.

Whether made the traditional way with plenty of cream or as a dairy-free treat with coconut milk, here are two distinctly different ways to easily make, churn, freeze and enjoy your very own homemade vanilla ice cream:

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Vegan Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream

Ice Cream Bar Toppings

Now that you’ve got your velvety vanilla-laced homemade ice cream of choice, it’s time to enjoy as is, or customize with a selection of toppers. Set out bowls of ice cream-friendly delights for friends and family to help themselves and create their own sundae-style dessert. Ideas to get you started include:

  • Assorted sprinkles, sugar sprinkles and crystal decors.
  • An array of candies – from cinnamon hearts to candy-covered chocolate peanut butter pieces.
  • Lightly crushed breakfast cereal – in this case, the sweeter and crunchier, the better.
  • Toasted, chopped nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, candied peanuts and try coconut flakes or sesame seed.
  • Sauces – choose your favourite to pour on top, from hot fudge to maple syrup and warmed grape jelly to Rum Caramel Sauce. 
  • Fruit – from drained pineapple tidbits to fresh or frozen, thawed sliced peaches and from drained or thawed pitted cherries to fresh, diced mango. Sautéed bananas are also a real treat.
  • Make it a combo – for S’mores-style sundaes, top ice cream with chocolate sauce, mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers.

Beyond the Cone

There’s nothing else quite like a or two of scoop of creamy, rich ice cream simply enjoyed in a cup or cone. But, as some occasions call for a slightly different twist, here’s the scoop on thinking beyond the cone and with alternative ways to enjoy homemade ice cream.

  • Blend it: Make a batch of this quick and easy Thai Ice Cream Shake recipe in hardly any time. For added Thai-inspired taste, add a dash of spice to your shakes. Try ground turmeric with mango, ground ginger with strawberries or a small pinch of ground cloves with banana (add a spoonful of sesame seed, too). Keep it dairy-free using Coconut Milk Ice Cream or combine Classic Vanilla Ice Cream with coconut milk in this recipe. Either way, it’s a refreshing anytime sipper everyone will adore – not just the kids.


  • Float it: Honey Rum Root Beer Float is a nostalgic yet decidedly adult only treat. Though it pairs well with root beer and provides an added depth of flavour, the dark rum can be reduced to taste or omitted entirely.


  • Pair it: Ice cream and brownies go hand in hand, especially when they’re Chili-spiced Vegan Brownies - the zesty, warm spices pair perfectly with velvety, chilled ice cream – made with or without the dairy.


  • Sandwich it: Soften ice cream slightly then scoop and sandwich between two thin chocolate cookies (or other soft cookies like oatmeal chocolate chip). Smooth edge of ice cream, then coat with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze again until ice cream firms up.
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