Looking for a simple recipe that’s good for your kids? We love home made frozen yogurt. Sneak in some chunks of real fruit and you’ve got a creamy, delicious treat your kids will want to make (and chow down on) again and again. Here’s how we make this frozen treat at our house using a standard ice cream maker.
You will need:
- ice cream maker, 4 c. capacity
- 1 piece cheese cloth
- 2 c. whole fat vanilla flavor yogurt (Greek yogurt also works, but is a little tangy for my kids’ tastes; this is up to you)
- 1/2 c. granulated (table) sugar
- 1 c. peeled and diced fruit of your choice
- 2 tbsp. water
- salt for ice cream maker, if your model requires this
1. Before beginning the frozen yogurt making process, you will want to strain your yogurt so it thickens. Allow 4-5 hours advance for this process. To strain the yogurt: place the cheesecloth, opened out, inside the strainer in your sink. Scoop yogurt into the cheesecloth. Tie the cheesecloth closed. Check in 4 hours. If the yogurt has not reached a softened cream cheese consistency, leave for one more hour.
2. While yogurt is thickening, make a syrup out of your sugar and fruit. DO NOT strain the fruit; you need liquid for this process. Dice fruit and add to a small sauce pan. Add the sugar and the water. Bring just to a simmer and cook until fruit is very tender and the liquid is slightly syrupy. Remove from heat and cool completely.
3. When yogurt has been fully strained and the fruit chunks in syrup have cooled, pour both into your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s directions. (Some ice cream makers require freezing of the container ahead of time.)
4. If you’ll be keeping the yogurt frozen in the maker for a while before eating it, take scoops out 2-3 minutes ahead of serving to allow them to thaw slightly. (Frozen full fat yogurt tends to be harder than ice cream, but you should be able to use an ice cream scooper to get the yogurt out.)
Getting Creative With Your Recipes
Kids love variety – doesn’t everybody? – so don’t hesitate to try different recipes. Your children will love coming up with their own creations.
A few ideas for your frozen yogurt recipes:
1. If you only have plain, non-flavored yogurt in the house, add 2 tsp. real vanilla extract to the yogurt along with the other ingredients when you pour them all into the ice cream maker. I do know some families that use plain yogurt and add just the sugar, but I find vanilla gives it that little extra “kick” and rounds out the flavor of the finished product.
2. Experiment with different yogurt flavors. Add fruit as directed so you get a double-dose of fruity flavor…mmmm.
3. Puree the fruit instead of dicing it for more of a smoothie type dessert. Set out 5-7 minutes in advance of serving OR place fully frozen result into a food processor immediately before serving. This will make a wonderful, thick smoothie that can be eaten either with a spoon or a straw.
4. Add candy pieces or crushed nuts to the ingredients when you place them all into the ice cream maker. Coated candies usually freeze better (M&Ms, for example). This makes an absolutely delicious special-day treat. In our household, the birthday boy or girl gets the candy flavor of his or her choice.
5. You can go all-natural/organic with this idea if you’d like to add that little extra bit of healthiness to your creation. Organic yogurt is easy to find and delicious – we love Trader Joe’s brand. Carob or organic cocoa chips are delicious additions. And always use real, not imitation, vanilla. Yes, you will be able to tell the difference.
6. Add chunky peanut butter in swirls to your finished product. Thaw the finished product slightly first. This doesn’t taste as good when you add it before freezing; you want the effect to be marbleized throughout the frozen yogurt.
7. Chocolate! Replace Step 2 above (the fruit) with this: in a saucepan, stir together 3/4 cups sugar, 2 tsp corn starch, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz). Simmer until chocolate is melted and. Let cool completely. Proceed to Step 3.
8. For grown-ups only. 😉 Add a splash of Amaretto, Kahlua, or Bailey’s Irish Cream to your ingredients. Mmmmm.
When to Make Your Frozen Yogurt
We like our frozen yogurt as:
* a Thursday treat (for some reason, we all seem to lose steam mid-week; making frozen yogurt is a great pick-me-up for draggy days)
* a dessert for guests at a birthday or other party
* a healthier alternative for summer picnic desserts
* school functions that involve bringing food
* pot lucks and family get-togethers
Remember that the best ingredient to this recipe is your own creativity. Experiment! Encourage your kids to give you their suggestions. This is a great learning and bonding experience as well as a delicious one for you and your whole family.
Chris is a work from home dad whose two little frozen yogurt chefs love to help prepare dessert with their gelato ice cream maker! He contributes to websites on Halloween, parties and recipes, and is a freelance author who enjoys a variety of party-oriented hobbies – especially whipping up delicious culinary creations!
Photo by moppet65535