Marshmallow roasting is a favorite pastime around here, and I would say eating ice cream is a close second. We don’t shy away from desserts, because frankly, life is too short to worry about such things, especially when the sun is shining, children are laughing, and the scent of sunscreen fills the air.
This ice cream is all about those classic childhood s’mores flavors—vanilla ice cream, slightly charred marshmallows, crispy graham crackers, and chocolate to bring it all together. It is sweet, so a little goes a long way.
What Is Custard?
I prefer to use custard as my ice cream base regardless of how I flavor it, and here's why.
Custards are made with eggs. Egg yolks contain lecithin, which are chains of fatty acids that make great emulsifiers. Lecithin helps the fat in the cream bind together, which creates a better emulsion and provides the rich, creamy, velvety ice cream texture.
How to Make Vanilla Ice Cream
You could think of this recipe as a two-for-one. The custard base is just homemade vanilla ice cream. If you run short on time, or mid-make realize your kids somehow managed to eat all of the chocolate in the house when you weren’t looking, just churn the custard, and you will have glorious vanilla ice cream!
How to Store Homemade Ice Cream
When homemade ice cream first comes out of the ice cream maker, it will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Feel free to eat it that way, but if you want a firmer consistency, transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container; press a piece of parchment paper over the top, and cover it with a lid.
Freeze for at least two hours before serving; the longer the ice cream is in the freezer, the harder it will become. When you're ready, you can scoop this ice cream into a dish, a cone, or between two graham crackers to amp up the s’mores factor!
How Long Does Homemade Ice Cream Keep?
Homemade ice cream doesn’t have the stabilizers that commercially made ice creams use, so it won’t maintain its creamy texture quite as long as something from the store. In other words, homemade ice cream will likely start forming ice crystals sooner.
Many people suggest eating homemade ice cream within a day or two, but in my experience, ice cream made with a higher fat content, such as this recipe, will store longer than those with a lower fat content. I kept this recipe in the freezer for one month, and it was still as creamy as the first day I made it. You can keep it for longer than one month; it’s still perfectly edible, but it might form ice crystals.
No Ice Cream Maker? No Problem!
An ice cream maker is a worthy investment. I have a Cuisinart similar to this one, and I like it because it doesn’t take up too much space in my cupboard, and it’s easy to clean.
If adding a new gadget to your kitchen toolbox isn’t on your to-do list right now, don’t worry. You can still make delicious ice cream without an ice cream machine. Rather than pouring the mixture into a machine, pour it into a shallow container such as a 9×13-inch pan. Place it in the freezer.
Using a stiff whisk or a handheld mixer, mix it every 15 to 20 minutes, until the ice cream gets firm enough to use a wooden spoon to stir it and is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. This breaks up the ice crystals, and you’ll probably need to repeat mixing four or five times.
This no-churn ice cream won’t be quite as creamy as one churned in a machine, but it will still be ice cream, and that’s better than no ice cream at all.
Need More Ice Cream Recipes?
S'mores Ice Cream
If you eat this ice cream right away, it will have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. If you want a harder, scoopable ice cream, freeze it for at least 4 hours.
- For the ice cream base:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- For the add-ins:
- 6 ounces chocolate (about 1 cup chocolate chips)
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 6 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
Freeze the ice cream bowl:
Place the ice cream maker churning bowl in the freezer the day before you want to make ice cream. (Most manufacturers recommend that the churning bowl be frozen for 24 hours before making ice cream.)
Warm the dairy:
Pour the cream, milk, vanilla extract, and salt into a medium saucepan set over medium low heat.
Slowly bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, until you see small bubbles around the edges of the pan. Stir occasionally. This will take about 15 to 18 minutes.
Make the custard:
In a medium bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together with a whisk until the mixture is thick and pale.
The cream should heated through by this time, with small bubbles around the edge just beginning to form.
Use a ladle to pour the milk mixture in a slow, thin, steady stream into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking the entire time. Continue until all the liquid is combined. Don’t rush this; otherwise you will end up with scrambled eggs.
Cook the custard:
Return the custard to the pan and place it over low heat. Stir gently with a spatula until the custard thickens to the consistency of maple syrup, about 8 minutes.
When ready, it will coat the back of a spoon, and if you draw your finger through it, the mark will remain.
Chill the custard:
As soon as the custard thickens, remove from heat, and transfer the custard to a large bowl. If your custard looks as though it may have cooked egg bits in it, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. If it looks smooth, you can skip this step
I like to use a large bowl so the mixture will cool quicker. You can also chill the bowl in the freezer before pouring the warm custard into it.
Allow the custard to cool to room temp, then cover and place in the fridge or at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. When ready, it will be the consistency of eggnog.
This is now the base for your ice cream. It can be made one week ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge.
Prepare the add-ins:
Break up the graham crackers into pieces the size of a nickel.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, add the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Stir continuously until melted. Remove from heat. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Toast the marshmallows:
Place your rack in the center of the oven, turn on your oven light and set your oven to broil.
Line a small baking sheet with foil or parchment, and spray it with cooking spray. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the prepared pan.
Place under the boiler for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the tops are brown. Do not leave your oven, and watch it the whole time. The marshmallows toast quickly, and sugar can burn!
Remove the pan from the oven. Let the marshmallows cool for about 5 minutes.
Churn the ice cream:
Pour the cooled custard into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
After about 5-7 minutes, the ice cream should be getting thicker. Add the marshmallows a few at a time.
Use a spoon or spatula to drizzle in the chocolate a little bit at a time. It’s okay if your chocolate is a little thick; just try to drop it in ribbons. You should see the chocolate break up so it looks like chocolate chip ice cream.
When ready, it will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
Serve or freeze the ice cream:
Transfer your ice cream to a freezer-safe container and fold in the graham crackers. The ice cream can be served immediately if desired.
To harden the ice cream to a scoopable consistency, smooth the top of the ice cream, press a piece of parchment paper over the top, and cover it with a lid. Put the ice cream in the freezer, and let it chill for at least 2 hours. When ready, scoop onto your favorite cone.
This ice cream will keep for about a month before starting crystallize.