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The owners of Leones' Creamery in Spearfish believe that the perfect sweet treat for summertime is freshly made ice cream. The business opened in November, and since then sisters Hannah Leone and Rebecca Leone Williams, along with Rebecca's husband, John Leone Williams, have been scooping out traditional flavors like Vanilla Bean made with Madagascar vanilla beans. The local community has also embraced experimental flavors like Curry with Peanut Butter Swirl, Basil, and Blueberry Goat’s Cheese.

They also offer more basic flavors, like Sweet Cream. The recipe calls for milk, cream, sugar and eggs but allows for huge variations. For example, the sugar can be white or brown, and honey and maple syrup can be added. There are also recipes for egg-less and dairy-free versions, using non-dairy milks like coconut milk.

“Then, from this Sweet Cream ice cream,” Hannah Leone said, “you can add whatever ingredients or flavors your heart desires: chocolate, vanilla, coffee, beer, fruits, cookies or candy.”

Ice cream can be made at home without using a machine, but the Leones recommend purchasing one in order to produce a smooth, creamy texture. The hand-crank varieties work well and offer a nice arm workout, but they can be messy take longer than the machines.

“There are a number of electric countertop ice cream machines available,” Rebecca Leone Williams said. “They can churn up a 12-quart batch of ice cream in about 20 minutes.”

They're affordable too, with prices starting at around $60. The ice cream made from a machine will have a soft-serve consistency. For a firmer texture, the Leones suggest transferring the ice cream from the machine to a freezer-safe container and storing in the freezer to solidify.

To guarantee quality, the Leones have a few suggestions. When using a machine with an insulated freezer bowl, place the bowl in the freezer for about 24 hours prior to churning up your ice cream. “If you are using a hand-crank model (or an electric model that requires salt and ice for freezing),” John Leone Williams explained, “you want to make sure you have added enough salt to your ice to bring the temperature low enough to freeze your ice cream.”

Also, make sure the ice cream mixture is cold before adding it to the machine. “This is especially important if your recipe has called for heating your mixture to temper eggs or extract flavors from certain ingredients,” Hannah Leone said.

Beginners should "experiment and have fun," Rebecca Leone Williams said. “There are a lot of people making ice cream at home and sharing their recipes online, so this is a great place to start looking for ideas, but don’t be afraid to try something different or funky.”

And this trio knows funky flavors. Rebecca enjoys their Blackbird Espresso, which they make from espresso beans. Hannah has a new favorite each week; one of those is Choconut, which the Leones make with coconut milk or Apple Cider Cinnamon. And John's travels to Southeast Asia influenced his love for the Curry with Peanut Butter Swirl flavor.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream 

This recipe requires no cooking. As long as your insulated freezer bowl is already frozen, you can have ice cream ready in about 30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to add some fun mix-ins in the last few minutes of churning: fresh fruit, small pieces of cookies or candy, peanut butter, etc.

2 cups whole milk

2-1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup granulated sugar

1 to 3-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Whisk together the milk and sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream and vanilla and stir well. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker — it will take 20 to 25 minutes in an electric countertop model. Remember the ice cream at this point will have a soft and creamy texture. Eat immediately and transfer any remaining ice cream to an airtight, freezer-safe container and store in the freezer. Remove at least 15 minutes before serving.

Homemade Rum Raisin Ice Cream 

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This recipe is a bit more involved, as it requires the tempering of egg yolks and a bit more prep work. We recommend using the rum (instead of rum extract) both for flavor, and because it will keep your ice cream from getting hard in your freezer.

1-1/2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

3 egg yolks

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons rum (or 1 teaspoon rum extract plus 2 teaspoon milk)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins

Soak the raisins in the rum (or rum extract mixture) until the raisins are soft and a bit plump. While the raisins are soaking, heat the milk, 1 cup of cream, brown sugar, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a simmer, remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually add some of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and cool completely (you can place this bowl in an ice bath to chill it faster). Add the vanilla extract and pour any rum off of the soaking raisins and stir that in too. Freeze in an ice cream maker and add raisins in the last few minutes of churning.

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