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Hot summer days a perfect time for National Ice Cream Month

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Kids of all ages can cool down on these hot July days with a cold, refreshing dairy delight, in observation of July's National Ice Cream Month celebration.

And here's the scoop: ice cream flavors are only limited to the imagination. And to top it off, over-the-top flavors make it more delicious.

New and exciting flavors are appearing in freezer cases and in ice cream shops throughout the land, especially seasonal flavors, such as peppermint, gingerbread, pumpkin, caramel and apple and others.

But vanilla continues to be America's flavor of choice. It's the most versatile, mixing well with toppings, drinks and bakery desserts, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Other individual top flavors include chocolate, cookies 'n cream, strawberry and chocolate chip mint.

The dairy favorite can be eaten as is in a bowl or cup, or dipped into cake, waffle or other cones. Ice cream can be more delicious when topped with syrups, fruits, nuts, candies, coconut, decorating sprinkles, cereal and others. Hot fudge is one of the most popular toppings, followed by caramel and butterscotch sauce.

Kraft Foods shares this recipe:

ICE CREAM SUNDAES

2 cups vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup strawberry ice cream topping

1/2 cup thawed whipped topping

Scoop ice cream evenly into four dessert or sundae dishes; drizzle with strawberry topping. Top evenly with whipped topping. Serve immediately.

These variations are from "Taste of Home":

PINEAPPLE ICE CREAM

2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

13/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in 100 percent pineapple juice, undrained

In large saucepan, heat milk to 175 degrees; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook; stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees and coats back of metal spoon. Remove from heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in bowl of ice water, stir 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and pineapple. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. When ice cream is frozen, transfer to freezer container; freeze 2-4 hours before serving.

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

2 cups heavy whipping cream

11/2 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In large bowl, combine all ingredients; stir until sugar is dissolved. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Transfer to freezer container; freeze 2-4 hours before serving.

LEMON GELATO

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

5 egg yolks, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons grated lemon peel

3/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream

In small heavy saucepan, heat milk to 175 degrees; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Return all to pan, whisking constantly. Add lemon peel. Cook; stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees and coats back of metal spoon. Remove from heat; strain. Stir in lemon juice. Cool quickly by placing pan in bowl of ice water; stir 2 minutes. Stir in cream. Cover; refrigerate several hours or overnight. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer to freezer container; freeze 2-4 hours before serving.

STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM

4 cups half-and-half cream

21/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 (16-ounce) package frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed and sliced

In large saucepan, heat half-and-half to 175 degrees; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return all to pan, whisking constantly. Cook; stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees and coats back of metal spoon. Remove from heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in bowl of ice water; stir 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice and peel until blended. Gradually beat in custard mixture. Stir in strawberries. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. When ice cream is frozen, transfer to freezer container; freeze 2-4 hours before serving.

BANANA CARAMEL TOPPING

1 (121/4-ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

5 medium firm bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 teaspoon rum extract

Vanilla ice cream

In large saucepan, combine first four ingredients. Cook; stir over medium heat until heated through. Just before serving, stir in bananas and extract. Serve over ice cream.

BUTTER PECAN SAUCE

1/2 cup butter, cubed

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream

In large heavy saucepan, cook butter over medium heat 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in sugar and corn syrup; cook and stir 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; gradually stir in cream. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Serve warm over ice cream.

EASY CHOCOLATE SAUCE

1 (8-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place ingredients in microwave-safe bowl; microwave 30 seconds. Give mixture a stir; then finish in microwave for another 30 seconds. Cool slightly; spoon chocolate mixture over favorite ice cream or use for dipping ice cream bars.

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