Fourth of July Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

After spending the past week in San Diego for a conference, nothing says ‘Welcome Home’ like a mini-hurricane and temps rivaling hell’s inferno. As I stood in my kitchen, AC blasting and contemplating wearing a bikini into the office this week, I thought: ‘Meris, do you really want to crank the oven on? Roll pastry? Melt butter?’ F- no!

So here’s to this frozen dessert perfect for 4th celebrations requiring nothing but a working freezer and a love of dairy. This ice cream is a literal interpretation; meaning, that it’s simply all kinds of variations of cream, mixed with fruit and grahams, then frozen. No ice cream machine needed, and, to be honest, it tastes even better than store-bought…probably because of its rich consistency and tons-o-fat. But hey, you’re going to sweat it out in the outdoor sauna anyway, right? 😉

This makes a lot and is enough to feed all of your relatives camping out this 4th in your backyard: The cousin who’s above anything that’s not organic, your uncle who brings his own 6-pack and jokes about blacking out drunk by the end of the night [not joking], and your grandmother who can’t stop talking about her bladder infection.

Sorry lactose-intolerant girlfriend of a 2nd cousin who over-dresses to impress the family but keeps giving you the stink eye, this one’s not for you.

[Makes enough to feed a small army…or a huge tub full] *Note: You will need to make this the night before so it can freeze overnight

Equipment:

  • Electric mixer
  • Blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or 1 tsp. dried lemon peel
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries (or any berry/fruit of your choice)
  • 4 whole graham crackers, coarsely chopped
  • Chopped strawberries and some blueberries for toppings [optional]

Put strawberries in blender and blend until your desired consistency [I like my ice cream smooth, so I puréed the strawberries, but if you like a chunkier consistency, chop them]. Let sit in fridge, covered [this draws out the sweetness].

Using and electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, condensed milk, whipping cream, and lemon zest in a medium-large bowl on medium-low speed until smooth. Freeze for 4 hours or until almost solid.

Take out of the freezer and beat the mixture using an electric mixer on low-medium speed until creamy. Pour in the strawberries and chunky grahams and stir in using a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix well. Freeze 8 hours or until firm.

Remove from freezer and let soften 5-10 min. before serving.

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