When I was looking through the various dairy products available at the Great Valu last week, I noticed a half gallon carton of "Vanilla Ice Cream Mix". It looked local, it had a cardinal and dogwood on the box, and a drawing of Monticello. On the other side of the carton there is a drawing of "processing facility" which I thought was kind of funny, it's just a nondescript factory image. I'm not sure where exactly this "processing facility" is that calls itself "Monticello", but I'll presume it's somewhere this part of the state.

Since I was looking for some variety of cream to use to make ice cream, the fact that I noticed this product was fortuitous. I took it home and dumped half the container of liquid into my ice cream maker. I was making vanilla ice cream, but when it started to firm up I tasted it and wanted it to be a little more vanilla-y, so I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Then it was delicious. And wildly convenient. No heating the cream on the stove with sugar, no waiting for the mixture to cool, just straight from the carton into the ice cream maker.

I made the second half of the carton today. I decided to make coconut ice cream. All I did was throw some sweetened coconut flakes into the mixer after I added the liquid mix. This time I didn't have to add more vanilla, the mix was a perfect backdrop to the coconut as-is.

My only complaint is that the product is sweetened with corn syrup instead of sugar. But it's not overly sweetened, and tastes good; my complaint is just that I'm against corn syrup on principle, not that it is the wrong thing to use in this case for best consistency and flavor.

Bottom Line: If your ice cream maker sits unused because it's too much trouble to cook the ice cream mix yourself, buy yourself a carton of this stuff, and enjoy some fresh ice cream already! It still tastes fresh and delicious, couldn't be easier, and is way cheaper than going to the ice cream parlor.