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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ice Cream!

My niece is visiting and our agenda includes making lots of ice cream. Angie gave us an ice cream maker for our wedding and even she admits that part of her motivation was the promise of trying it out when visiting. (I’m not ashamed to admit that I was pretty excited about the potential for homemade ice cream too).

For this visit we promised a different flavor of ice cream every evening for dessert. Angie got to choose the flavors from a couple of books we have on hand: David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and Serendipity Sundaes (from that Serendipity)—and it wasn’t easy to narrow down the selections. We do have a fairly good range of ice creams on our final list, however: coffee, lavender-honey, and roasted banana.

Making ice cream is a fairly kid-friendly project; there is plenty of measuring, stirring, and tasting involved. The kid I’m working with is in her early teens and still learning her way around the kitchen, but certainly old enough to learn about tempering eggs. It’s been fun to teach her a few skills and explain why the processes for cooking work (or not). We may even tackle a small canning project while she’s here—she seems interested.

A few things we’re learning about homemade ice cream: use the best, local ingredients. If you can find local milk and cream, use it. For our coffee ice cream, we chose Four Seasons coffee beans. Spokane may not grow the beans, but a local roast is better than coffee roasted thousands of miles away, months ago. A good, fresh bean is key to a rich, strong flavor.

The beans we used were still oily, rather than dry and brittle like many of the beans you can buy; dry beans don’t make for the best ice cream (or coffee for that matter).

The lavender-honey ice cream is the most locally based on our list. The base is simple, sweet cream custard (use local eggs!), and both lavender and honey are easy to find in Spokane—Greenbluff is a great resource. Good, flavorful honey makes a difference. Also make sure your lavender is food-grade (not treated with chemicals) before using it in the kitchen. I will admit, I feared the lavender ice cream would taste like soap, but initial tastes actually promise a lightly sweet and refreshing floral flavor. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The roasted banana ice cream is intriguing: my hopes are high, and I’m thinking of pairing it with a salted caramel sauce. My husband suggested swirling the caramel into the ice cream itself, which sounds pretty good to me. We’ll find out tomorrow when it comes out of the machine.

What we love so far about the process of making ice cream is the room for creativity. Once you master the base recipes, the flavorings and add-ins are limitless. After a long weekend of ice cream making, I’ll be ready to play!

Here’s a great base recipe for a custard-based vanilla ice cream from David Lebovitz’s blog. For coffee ice cream, substitute 1 ½ cups of the darkest, freshest coffee beans you can find for the vanilla beans, reduce the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon, and add a ¼ teaspoon of instant espresso powder to the mix when you add the extract. Top your ice cream with your favorite hot fudge sauce. This coffee ice cream is strong enough to hold up to a good, rich chocolate sauce.

I can’t wait to try Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. Reading the recipe alone makes my mouth water.



Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at