I can barely believe it’s September already. The summer is basically over and I realized that I haven’t made any ice cream yet! I had all these grand plans that I was going to finally buy an ice cream maker and make all different kinds of flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt. But no, I never did get that ice cream maker and now it’s looking like I’m going to have to buy a new blender, so I guess the ice cream maker will just have to wait another year.
But I didn’t want the summer to be over without making any ice cream and luckily, it’s still pretty easy to make without the machine. All you need is a freezer and a mixer (or even strong arms and sturdy whisk will do). I decided to make frozen yogurt again because of how much I enjoyed the frozen yogurt I made last summer. It’s better for you than ice cream, but it’s just as creamy and delicious so it doesn’t taste like you’re sacrificing anything.
Unfortunately, I can’t really call this particular frozen yogurt low fat because it has cream cheese swirled into it. I know, but I couldn’t resist! There are very few desserts that cream cheese can’t make better, don’t you think? In this case, I made up a sort of cream cheese sauce (not sure if that is the right word for it, but I can’t think of anything better) by mixing it with half and half and sugar and then I added it to the frozen yogurt and froze everything together. When you scoop the frozen yogurt out, you get these chunks of the cream cheese mixture that are so soft and creamy. Honestly, it made me want to freeze some all by itself. It’s like frozen cheesecake!
And it goes perfectly with the strawberry frozen yogurt, but it would be great with any fruit or berry you wanted to use. I’ve made variations of this recipe with pineapple, blackberries and now strawberries, so it’s extremely versatile and easy to adapt. Use your favorite fruit and have fun with it! I especially like this version topped with graham crackers crumbs so it tastes even more like strawberry cheesecake.
Strawberries and Cream Frozen Yogurt
Dessert | Servings: 1 quart
Prep time: 20 min | Total time: 9 hours
These are directions for making this recipe without an ice cream maker. If you do have one, you just need to do Steps 1-3 and then follow your ice cream maker instructions. Then start at Step 7 to add in the cream cheese sauce.
- 16 oz. fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vodka (This is optional, it helps keep the frozen yogurt softer after it’s frozen)
- 1 cup low-fat Greek-style vanilla yogurt (you can use regular instead of low-fat to get an even creamier consistency)
- 1/2 cup half and half (I’d reduce this to 1/4 cup if using regular yogurt)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Cream Cheese Sauce
- 4 oz. cream cheese (regular or low-fat, not fat free)
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)
- Low-fat or Skim milk
- In a medium bowl, mix together strawberries, sugar and vodka (if using). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 2 hours (at room temp), stirring a few times.
- Pour strawberry mixture into a blender along with the yogurt, half and half and juice. Mix well.
- Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium metal or plastic bowl, preferably one with a cover. If you don’t have a cover for it, cover with plastic wrap.
- Place in freezer to chill. After an hour, take it out and use a hand mixer or a sturdy whisk to whip it vigorously (you’ll get the best results with the mixer). Make sure to break up all the frozen sections around the edges. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this helps make it really creamy in the end. Put back in the freeze.
- Keep checking every 45-60 minutes and whipping/breaking it up. It should take about 4-6 hours depending on your freezer. You still want it to be soft enough to add in the cream mixture.
When the frozen yogurt gets to a consistency you are happy with, make the cream cheese sauce. Combine cream cheese, half and half, and sugar in a mixer bowl and mix until smooth. The consistency should be similar to a creamy salad dressing: thick, but pourable. If you need to thin it out, add 1 tablespoon of milk at time until it’s easier to pour.
There are few different ways you can add the cream cheese sauce:
a. Transfer half of your frozen yogurt to a new bowl and pour half of the cream mixture on top, repeat with the rest of the frozen yogurt and cream cheese. Gently drag a spatula or knife through the mixture to swirl it around.
b. Use a spoon or knife to dig out 2-4 holes down through the frozen yogurt to the bottom of the bowl, then pour the cream mixture into the holes. Gently drag a spatula or knife through the mixture to swirl it around.
I wanted to have big chunks of the cream cheese when I scooped it out, so I chose the second method and didn’t really swirl it around too much. I also folded some of the cream cheese sauce into the ice cream first, which gives the frozen yogurt a tart strawberry cheesecake taste. You may also want to mix in some sliced strawberries.
- Put back into the freezer to harden for another hour or so. It’s really good served with graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top!