In Texas, strawberries are a March, April and early May crop, but by June, it’s reaching 100 degrees and even the grass is giving up. However, in Northern California, it’s still strawberry season. Personally, I’m thrilled to still find strawberries on sale almost every week. Recently, Northern California has been going through some warm spells (July 4th was 100 degrees) and my Cuisinart ice cream maker was feeling left out. So, I figured it was time to try my hand at some homemade ice cream.
In searching for a perfect strawberry ice cream recipe, I came across an interesting idea – strawberry cheesecake. While I don’t like cheesecake, my husband loves it and there just happened to be a package of cream cheese in the fridge. Perfect! Not sure how to present the dessert, I picked up some graham crackers. On the back of the box was a recipe for frozen lemonade squares – lightbulb! And strawberry cheesecake ice cream squares were born!
2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 – 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese, room temp
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup fat-free half and half
¼ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 graham crackers, crushed
2 tsp. butter, melted
- Puree strawberries in a blender, with a potato masher or by placing in a Ziploc bag and beating with a measuring cup.
- In a large bowl, place cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Measure milk, half and half and cream in a 2 cup measuring cup.
- Beat in a ½ cup of the milk mixture to the cream cheese and beat until well mixed. Continue until all milk has been incorporated.
- Add strawberries, sugar and vanilla and beat until well mixed.
- Place into an automatic ice cream maker for 20 minutes or until it begins to solidify.
- While the ice cream is mixing, grease a 9 x 9 in. glass dish or line with parchment paper. Combine crushed graham crackers with the melted butter and press into the bottom of the dish.
- Once the ice cream has begun freezing, spoon into the glass dish and spread evenly over the graham cracker crust.
- Freeze for 4 hours. Serve by cutting with a hot knife. If the crust begins to break, dip the bottom into warm water for 2 minutes to help loosen or sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top. Serve plain, with whipped cream or nuts.