rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

Melissa Clark's NYT ice cream base recipe is where I always start (and modify) no matter what flavor I'm making. I make a quart of ice cream about every week or so and my partner Phil and I have a little bit every night. ("Little bit" is the secret).

Of course, it's your fault I had to have this for breakfast today because I had to take a picture and I couldn't put it back in the freezer container, could I?

Check NY Times Cooking for Melissa Clark's "The Only Ice Cream Recipe You'll Ever Need and please note that I think the recipe is too sweet and rich, so I use ½ cup sugar and 4 egg yolks instead of ¾ and 6. YMMV


My standby flavors are coffee (I use 3 little cups of brewed expresso), vanilla (I add a bit of grated lemon peel and some lemon juice), and salted caramel. I also love basil ice cream but haven't made it in years.

For my version of Melissa's ice cream BASE

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • ⅛ tsp salt

  • 1 cup whole milk (If you are lactose intolerant, as I am, use lactose free milk. Cream has no lactose)

  • ½ cup sugar (dark brown sugar for this one)

  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract (btw, if you are near a Costco, buy vanilla there. It is excellent and waaaay less expensive than in the supermarket)

  • Follow the rest of Melissa Clark's directions for making the custard. 4 egg yolks are enough. (no need to strain before you put it into the fridge).

While the base chills

sauté 1/2 cup pecans in 1-2 T salted butter till slightly brown. Cool on paper towel or parchment.

Once the mix is churning, add the pecans and when it gets close to being done, add 1-2 Tbs of bourbon. (If you make ice cream you know to add 1T vodka to most flavors to keep the ice cream from freezing too hard or becoming icy)

**Optional (and yummy if you have any) I add ¼ -½ cup candied ginger.

That's it, people. Enjoy!

Let me know in the comments how you made out with the recipe.



Well, the last time I flew it was before March, 2020. At that point, a couple of my 2020 teaching trips were rescheduled -- one to August 2021 and one to January 2022. And just in case, I am (as you know) working on an online class. In fact, I believe online may be great because we have all learned to do everything without leaving our homes.

So here I am, at Palm Beach airport waiting for my DELAYED-by-an-hour flight to Newark.(if you look carefully you can see the very iPad I am using).

I am on my way (eventually) to spend a week in NJ visiting my kids, grandkids, and a couple of friends. I will be visiting my daughter who now lives down the shore, and the weather report says BAD storm on the Jersey coast. I don't mind if it waits till I get there but I do not relish driving a rental car down the Garden State Parkway in a bad rainstorm.

I have left my computer and my sewing machine at home so I can have a real break.

So, I hope to fill the next two hours reading something good while I wait for an extra hour.



Yes, I've uploaded my videos and text to the Creative Spark drive and feel as though I have finally gotten somewhere with my class elements for No Strings Attached. Happily, it's just in time for my sort-of vacation and I can relax.

Flying tomorrow to visit my kids and grands and some friends in New Jersey -- leaving my computer home (I think) and my sewing machine (definitely) so I can just spend time enjoying the family I haven't seen in so long! My grandsons,especially -- most of whom are now legal adults (when did this happen??) and either about to enter college, are in college, or have just graduated. It makes me sad that I have been in Florida for the last three years, away from my family. But that's life.

Tonight I made my second batch of Brown Sugar Bourbon ice cream with pecans & candied ginger. Oh, my! You really can't tell how divine it is from looking at it, but trust me.

I make ice cream probably once every week or two. Vanilla's a standby (Phil is a vanilla fan) but i love espresso ice cream and salted caramel. I always make icream less sweet than many of the recipes; no more than ½ cup of sugar, no matter what. (remember, I don't have a sweet tooth). If you want the recipe for the brown sugar bourbon, let me know and I'll post it. Heaven.

I have not been in the mood to do actual work, but I have made a few samples for my online class. Just what-iff-ing to see how different the vibe is when you use all solids vs prints and solids mixed. I like them both but their personalities are not the same. Which would you prefer if you were making a quilt? And what does each of these communicate to you?

I have an early morning tomorrow if I want to make my plane to New Jersey, so I am signing off earlier than I would normally do. If I can post while I am up north, I will. Otherwise, will see you after I get back to Florida. I will only be gone for a week -- not enough time to see everybody I want to see. But better than not at all.