Chilling out with some good old-fashioned homemade ice cream or fruity sorbet is a time-honored summer pastime and a pretty cool activity for all ages.

You’ll need an ice cream maker to whip up today’s recipes. Prices range from about $25 to $200 or more. A Cuisinart frozen yogurt, ice cream and sorbet maker, available in a variety of colors, is $59.99 at Sur La Table (www.surlatable. com). It makes soft-serve ice cream in about 30 minutes; regular ice cream and sorbets take about 2 hours with freezing time.

You can make ice cream plain or fancy it up with add-ins. That means candy pieces, chocolate and nuts for sweetness or spices and herbs for a savory twist.

There are no shortages of recipes and ideas out there.Here’s a selection to get you started:

Cool ice cream facts:

Vanilla is still the No. 1-selling flavor, and chocolate syrup is the top topping.

Air is the major ingredient in ice cream — from all that churning.

It takes 50 licks to polish off the average scoop.

Maple-Bacon Crunch Ice Cream

For ice cream:

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup 2 percent or whole milk

1 cup maple syrup

2 cups heavy whipping cream

For bacon brittle:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the baking sheet

3 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper

To make the ice cream: In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan and whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until almost simmering (the mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon), about 5 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until very cold, about 30 to 45 minutes.

To make the bacon brittle: Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to paper towels to drain. Let the bacon cool, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the sugar and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it melts and turns golden, about 4 minutes. (If lumps form, remove from the heat and continue stirring until melted.) Continue to cook, stirring, until light amber, about 2 more minutes.

Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter. Carefully stir in the baking soda, then stir in the bacon and chile powder. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and let cool until set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces, then smash about one-third of the brittle into shards with a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Reserve the remaining brittle in a container for up to 3 days.

Stir the cream into the chilled custard. Churn in an ice cream maker. Stir in the bacon brittle shards. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Serve sprinkled with some of the remaining bacon brittle, if desired.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Adapted from Food Network Magazine July/August 2012 issue.

The sweetness of the sorbet depends on the ripeness of the fruit.

Strawberry Sorbet

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 cups strawberries or raspberries, hulled and sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to completely dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

When the syrup is cool, place it in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the strawberries and lemon juice. Purée the mixture.

Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the mixture with the back of a spoon.

Chill completely.

Place the mixture in an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-quality container and freeze until firm. Makes 4 servings.

Any green tea, whether finely powdered or whole leaf, can be used. The ice cream has a slight green hue.

Green Tea Ice Cream with Sesame Caramel Sauce

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For ice cream:

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup green tea leaves

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

Grated rind of 1 lime (reserve the lime for the sauce)

Few drops of vanilla extract

For sesame-caramel sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

Juice of 1 lime (reserved from above)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Warm water, as needed, to thin the sauce

In a heavy saucepan, bring the milk and tea to a boil. Remove the mix from the heat and infuse for 1 minute. Pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on the tea leaves to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Put the milk mixture in a clean saucepan, and add the cream, sugar and lime zest. Bring the mix to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves completely, about 5 minutes.

Remove it from the heat, cool, then add the vanilla extract. Chill the mixture until it’s cold, then freeze it using an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To prepare the sauce: In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, bring the sugar, water and lime juice to a boil over medium to high heat. Cook until it’s golden brown, swirling the pan a few times, but do not stir. Do not allow the sugar to burn; the mixture should become an amber color.

In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup of cream until it’s warm, then add it, a few tablespoons at a time, to the sugar mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to blend, being careful not to splatter, as this mixture foams up the sides of the pan. When the sauce is blended, add the toasted sesame seeds.

Because this sauce will thicken upon standing, thin as needed with warm water before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Source: “Cooking with Tea” by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen (Periplus Editions, $35).

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