I’ve made ice cream lots of times. And every time, I’ve learned the same lesson: Start the day before you want it to be done. I think I’ve lectured you poor innocent readers about this issue almost annually for a decade. And my road to this most recent personal hell was paved with good intentions: I got the ingredients the day before. I came home and made a plan. I read through my recipes, scoffing at their suggested times “three hours,” “five hours,” “two hours and 50 minutes.” Pffft. Lies. All lies. And then the devil hopped up on my shoulder. “You’ve already worked all day,” he said. “You could get up early tomorrow and have twice that amount of time to get those ice creams ready. Look: Most of them are no-churn. If you got them in the deep freezer by 10 a.m., they’d be hard as rocks by the time you had to leave for photos.” Guess what I did next. That’s right. I went to bed. 1. Well, I did get up early. And I did get those ice creams into the deep freezer by 10 a.m., and I would have been fine. However. Nothing was freezing. Even after several hours, all the ice creams were like mousse. Then I noticed when I went to make the Vegan Vanilla, which did require churning, that my ice cream churn barrel was not frozen. I could hear the liquid sloshing around inside it. It’s supposed to be solid. I keep that in the freezer all the time, so there was no reason for it not to be ready. Eventually, a light bulb went on in my head and I thought to check the dial. Sure enough, it was on a setting I’ll call “Just cold enough that you won’t notice until you really need it to be super cold, like when you’re making ice cream.” I cranked it up to “absolutely, positively, has to freeze ice cream solid overnight.” That worked. 2. I loved making the Ice Cream Bombe. That’s the layered bowl of mango sorbet, raspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream. You squeeze, scrape or scoop the pints of mango sorbet into a chilled bowl and wrap a smaller bowl in plastic, push that into the sorbet and freeze. Then you take the raspberry sorbet and use a smaller bowl to mold it into the mango and freeze. Then you fill the middle with the ice cream and freeze again. It makes pretty stripes when you turn it over and slice it. Pro tip: Don’t push down on the bowls too hard. I kind of pushed the raspberry sorbet hard enough that it broke through the mango layer and showed on top of the bombe. Try to leave at least an inch or so of each layer. It takes a little practice to do it just right. 3. When you go to make the no-churn ice cream, it’s important that the cream and the bowl, and even the beaters, should be ice cold, so the cream whips up quickly and stays sturdy. That makes for a creamier ice cream. When you’re mixing it with the other ingredients, be gentle and try not to beat all the air out of the whipped cream. Gently stir in any mixings you like. Strawberry takes particularly well to pretzel pieces, and chocolate to nuts. 4. The Watermelon Ice Cream would be a blast for a party where everyone would want to be eating ice cream at one time, like a birthday or dinner party. You hollow out a miniature watermelon like you would a pumpkin. An immersion blender helps with this. Cut the top off and stick the blender into the flesh of the watermelon and move it around and up the sides and down, and pour out the flesh into a large bowl. Reserve one cup for the ice cream and the rest for another use, such as chill and blend with strawberries for a healthy smoothie, or add vodka and mint and blend for a refreshing adult beverage. Use a large spoon to scrape the rest of the red fruit until you have a white shell and put this into the fridge to chill while you make the ice cream. Pour the ice cream in and freeze. I didn’t get enough ice cream out of my first batch to fill the watermelon and in fact needed most of a second batch to fill it completely. 5. Let the watermelon and ice cream freeze several hours and then move it to the fridge for an hour or so before slicing into wedges. It’s a really cute idea, but one word of warning: Once the watermelon is sliced, it’s kind of difficult to handle leftovers. I mean, imagine wrapping a rapidly melting wedge of ice cream. I tried it. It’s a mess. But if you have a good ice-cream-loving crowd, leftovers shouldn’t be much of a problem. No-Churn Watermelon Ice Cream Slices Total time: 3 hours, 50 minutes; active time: 30 minutes; serves 6-10 One 4- to 5-pound mini seedless watermelon One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk Pinch fine salt 2 cups heavy cream, chilled Cut a thin slice off the top of the watermelon, just enough to show the pink of the inside flesh. Stand the watermelon upright vertically in a large bowl. Place an immersion blender into the cut part at the top of the watermelon and puree the flesh, moving the blender in and around, following the shape of the inside of the watermelon. Be careful not to cut through the sides or bottom of the watermelon rind. Pour out the juice and reserve 1 cup for the ice cream; save the rest for another use. Using a spoon, scoop out any remaining red watermelon flesh so you have a smooth white interior (this is important so the melon freezes properly). Make sure there is no juice remaining inside and pat dry with a paper towel. Freeze the watermelon while you make the ice cream. Whisk together the condensed milk, salt and reserved watermelon juice in a large bowl and set aside. Whip the heavy cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold about one-half of the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then fold the lightened mixture into the remaining whipped cream until well blended. Pour the mixture into the frozen watermelon, filling it all the way to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, 3 hours and up to overnight. If frozen overnight, let the watermelon thaw for about 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Place the watermelon cut-side down on a cutting board and halve lengthwise with a long chef’s knife. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 wedges. — www.foodnetwork.com Ice Cream Bombe Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes; prep time: 15 min; inactive time: 1 hour; serves 8 2 pints mango sorbet, softened 1½ pints good raspberry sorbet, softened 1 pint no-churn strawberry ice cream, recipe follows Freeze an 8-inch bowl. When it’s cold, place the mango sorbet in the bowl and press it against the sides of the bowl. If you have a 6½-inch bowl the same shape as the 8-inch bowl (such as from a set of nesting bowls), cover it with plastic wrap and press it into the sorbet to make the layer even. Freeze the sorbet for 30 minutes or until firm. Remove the 6½-inch bowl. Spread an even layer of softened raspberry sorbet on top of the mango sorbet (a 4½-inch nesting bowl wrapped in plastic wrap helps with this) and freeze for another 30 minutes or until firm. Remove the 4½ inch bowl. Finally, spoon in enough softened strawberry ice cream to fill the bowl. Freeze until hard. To unmold, dip the bowl up to the rim in warm water. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the bombe and unmold upside down onto a flat plate. You may need to run a flexible metal spatula along the edge of the bombe to release it. Freeze until ready to serve. Serve in wedges. — www.foodnetwork.com No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream Total time: 5 hours, 25 minutes; prep time: 15 minutes; makes 16 1-cup servings 1 pound frozen strawberries, thawed at room temperature for 10 minutes One (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Pinch fine salt 2 cups heavy cream, cold Freeze a 9-by-5-by-3-inch metal loaf pan. Pulse strawberries in a food processor until you achieve pea-size chunks. Add the condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Pulse to combine; remove to a medium bowl and set aside. Whip the cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until well blended. Pour into prepared loaf pan and freeze, covered, until thick and creamy, like soft-serve, about 2 hours. Swirl in any desired mix-ins with a spoon. Continue to freeze, covered, until solid and scoopable, about 3 hours more. — www.foodnetwork.com No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream Total time: 5 hours; prep time: 10 minutes; active time: 10 minutes; makes 5 1-cup servings 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk ½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Pinch fine salt 2 cups heavy cream, cold Freeze a 9-by-5-by-3-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk together the condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. The mixture will become very thick; set aside. Whip the cream with a mixer on medium-high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the cocoa mixture with a rubber spatula until combined, then fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until well blended. Pour into prepared loaf pan, and freeze, covered, until thick and creamy, like soft-serve, about 2 hours. Swirl in any desired mix-ins with a spoon. Continue to freeze, covered, until solid and scoopable, about 3 hours more. — www.foodnetwork.com Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream Total time: 2 hours, 50 minutes; prep time: 15 minutes; cook: 5 minutes; inactive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes; makes about 3½ cups 2 cans full-fat coconut milk 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed and reserved (optional) 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract Add the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla bean pod and seeds to a medium pot, and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1 tablespoon water. Slowly drizzle it into the coconut milk mixture, whisking constantly. As soon as the mixture returns to a simmer, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl, remove the vanilla bean pod and set aside until the mixture stops steaming, then refrigerate until completely cool. Churn the ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (20 to 30 minutes). Serve immediately, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months. — www.foodnetwork.com — Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.