with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Making Brent Happy by Making Brent Make Ice Cream

As a reward for his new job in North Carolina 7 years ago, we splurged on a small ice cream maker for Brent. It slid right into our freezer with not a paper-width of room to spare. It made 4-6 small servings but that was plenty for us. Brent started right away experimenting.

One of his experiments was with peppermint ice cream. Oh, it was heavenly. So I made him repeat it a few times. On one of those times, I was out and he couldn’t find the peppermint extract but he did discover my peppermint essential oil. Thinking it was just the same, since it smelled the same, he added the equivalent to the extract that the recipe called for, and was very frustrated with the drops coming so slowly out of the little bottle. He ended up pulling the plastic dropper element out of the bottle and pouring the essential oil into a measuring spoon.

When I arrived back at the trailer, my sinuses cleared before I got within a few meters of the trailer. I could barely get past the screen door my eyes were watering so bad.

“Brent, are you alright!”

“Yes. Why?”

“I can’t breath – or rather I can breath better than ever but my eyes are burning. Get out of the trailer now!”

“I’m just making mint ice cream.”

“With what? Forty tins of Vick’s Vapor Rub?”

“I couldn’t find the mint extract so I used your essential oils. Oh, you’ll need to buy some more.”

I gagged. I managed to cover my nose with a hanky and dashed into the trailer, throwing open every window and turning on every fan and the air conditioner to circulate the air. It took several days for the mint smell to be totally gone from the trailer.

And the ice cream? Well, Brent tried to eat it but it was horrid. More minty freshness than anyone could ever tolerate. So it was pitched. I scrubbed and scrubbed the little ice cream maker to no avail.

My mother was arriving for a visit in a few days and we’d planned to have her favorite, blue berry ice cream. Brent ran a test batch through the ice cream maker and we had mint blue berry ice cream. The second batch, ready upon her arrival, was a little less minty, but still tinged with peppermint.

Eventually the taste and odor went away and Brent learned that essential oils are measured in drops not tablespoons, and when we arrived back in the states after five years missing our dear ice cream maker, we tore everything apart looking for it. We finally found it only a little worse for the time sitting unused, but it didn’t work as well as memory served. So for his birthday, I bought Brent a new ice cream maker, a little bigger as we’d replaced our old refrig with a new, slightly bigger one, with double the freezer space.

Brent has had too much fun, and I’ve eaten way too much. His home made ice creams are incredible. So I thought I’d share some of his passion with you with some links to our favorite recipes.

First, Brent claims that the absolute best ice cream recipes come from Doc Wilson’s Ice Cream Page, a personal page by a fan of home made ice cream recipes that have won all kinds of awards. The Doc Wilson’s Ice Cream Recipe page lists his award winning recipes. The Old Time Vanilla is the core recipe that most of the rest are based upon. So start there to master the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted.

And when you are ready to move on to even better, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream will make your eyes roll up in your head and people will start looking at you funny. Brent recommends that you add one quarter cup of brown sugar to the recipe as the peanut butter (Jiff Crunchy) that we use isn’t very sweet and it needs that little extra sweet.

The Ultimate Butter Pecan Ice Cream is what he made this week, and another batch is in process to take to my friends helping out in New Orleans when I go to visit them next week. Oh, lucky ladies.


Oh, in case you are wondering, our new ice cream maker is Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker and it is fantastic. Works really well, though we still have had a hard time keeping it cold enough in our freezer. Brent turned up the temperature which gave me frozen salad and vegetables. To resolve this, he cut a thin piece of Styrofoam like insulation panel to fit on top of the shelf right below the cooling unit in the fridge section, and the cold air is forced up into the freezer and it doesn’t get quite so cold down below the shelf. Nothing worse than frozen cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce.

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