My three daughters couldn’t be more different, but one thing they do agree on: Summer isn’t complete without ice cream. The trio got together one recent afternoon, kids in tow, to share the family gossip, compare notes and taste-test their frozen creations. Yes, I’m their mother, but I don’t think I am being influenced by my maternal instincts when I say that once you try their versions of these sweet, summer treats, you’ll never want to eat store-bought ice cream again.

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Between spending long weekends at the family cottage on East Grand Lake and following the sun to midcoast beaches, Katie, an avid runner and mother of three, is always on the go. Although she’s an exemplary baker, being in the kitchen this time of year isn’t high on her list. Katie devised this easy recipe to accommodate the need for speed, offering cookies and ice cream in one yummy bite. Any kind of cookie — including your favorite homemade variety — can be added to this creamy concoction, which, by the way, doesn’t require an ice cream maker. We went with vanilla sandwich cookies for this recipe, which is my granddaughter, Anna’s, favorite.

Katie Smith’s brown sugar & cookies ice cream

Serves 6-8

2 cups half-and-half

2 egg yolks, beaten

4 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2 cups whipping cream

3/4 cups brown sugar

1 dozen vanilla sandwich cookies, broken into bite-size pieces

Beat cream and sugar together until soft peaks form. Stir in chilled half-and-half mixture then fold in cookie pieces. Spoon into a plastic container and freeze for at least 6 hours, stirring once or twice if you have time (but if you don’t, no worries!).

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The goats raised on her farmette in Bowdoin, as well as her dad’s cows next door, provide daughter Shannon with all the cream and milk needed to keep her three children in their favorite dessert year-round. Shannon adds other fresh ingredients to the mix, including maple syrup made from trees right on her property and berries she and her three kids pick at the edge of the woods. She ups the DIY factor even further by using her own homemade vanilla extract.

For this recipe, Shannon advises praying to the Custard Gods and filling the kitchen sink half-full of cold water before starting, in case you have to rescue “split custard.” Say what? Read on:

Shannon Lajoie’s swirly berry frozen custard

Serves 6-8

2 1/2 cups cow’s milk or goat’s milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup maple syrup

*1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup raspberries (other favorite berries can be substituted)

2 tablespoons sugar; more or less to taste

Heat the cream until it’s almost boiling. Whisk yolks with the syrup, then pour the warm cream over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes until it’s the consistency of warm custard. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. (Rescue tip: If it looks as if the custard mixture is “splitting,” rescue it by placing the pan in the cold water you smartly prepared ahead and whisk like crazy until thickened.) Cool by transferring custard to a bowl and placing in the sink of cold water for about 30 minutes then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Churn in an ice cream machine according to directions.

Meanwhile, puree the berries and sugar in a food processor or food mill. Chill in the freezer until thickened but not set. When the custard is frozen but still slightly soft, put a third of it in a container, spoon one-third of the berries on top and repeat layers. Stir gently with a knife so that the berries swirl through the custard. Cover the container and put it in the freezer until desired consistency is reached.

*Homemade vanilla extract

Makes 1 pint

4-6 vanilla beans

1 pint vodka

Slit vanilla beans lengthwise and place in a pint-size Mason jar with vodka. Cover and leave in a cool, dark cupboard for at least six weeks.

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Rachel, an artist and new mom who lives and works on Peaks Island, has a long love affair with dairy products. She proudly remembers when she attended The Burren School of Art in Ireland and made multiple trips every week to a nearby fine dining establishment to sample their famous Bailey’s Ice Cream. She doesn’t let living on an island stop her from obtaining the freshest ingredients she can get her hands on to prepare her offerings. Considering herself an ice cream connoisseur, she chose to share a downright decadent recipe that’s totally worth the effort. A frozen chocolate truffle in a cup, this will impress your most special guests — that is, if you dare to share it rather than keep it all for yourself. Every chocoholic’s fantasy, this ice cream truly is “The Bomb.”

Rachel Kessler’s chocolate cherry bomb

Serves 6-8


1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 egg yolks, beaten and set aside in a separate bowl

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer milk, sugar and salt, stirring a few times until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk a third of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, then pour this back into the pan with the reminder of the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.

Chocolate cream:

3/4 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped cherries (fresh or maraschino)

In a separate saucepan, bring cream and cocoa powder to a simmer. Pour hot cream mixture over chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Stir until melted and smooth. Fold this chocolate mixture, the creme fraiche or sour cream, and the vanilla into the base.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least four hours.

Churn in an ice cream machine according to directions. Fold in cherries. Serve directly from the machine for soft serve or store in freezer.