Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 24, 2011

Ice Cream Muffins

Tapioca pudding is coming next week — in the meantime, here’s a quick and bizarre muffin recipe posted by Ruth at Mid-Century Menu.


by Mr. Albert F. Hinshaw, Orangevale, California

1-1/2 cups Pillsbury’s Best Self-Rising Flour*
2 cups very soft vanilla ice cream

Oven 425°

Measure flour and ice cream into mixing bowl. Mix only until all dry particles are moistened. Fill well-greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

* For use with Pillsbury’s Best Flour (Regular or Instant Blending), add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.

Tip: If a richer muffin is desired, add 1 egg and 2 tablespoons cooking oil.

Variations: Stir 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces or 1/2 cup chopped Diamond Walnuts into batter. Or, sprinkle muffins with sugar or cinnamon and sugar before baking.

This recipe makes sense, sort of. Ice cream already has milk and sugar, so all you “need” is flour for structure and baking powder for rising. Whether this basic theory is actually able to provide the correct proportions for baking remains to be seen! We decided to attempt both the regular and “rich” muffins listed in the recipe, to get a good idea of just how well the “two ingredient” approach would really work.

You could probably get some interesting variations with the wide array of ice cream flavors that are available nowadays — even fruity flavors like blueberry or strawberry could be a neat base. Of course, wanting to experiment with variations will require Ice Cream Muffins to be a tasty basic muffin, and we don’t know if they are yet — so vanilla it is!

Unfortunately, when ice cream melts, it loses some of the air that was churned in during the freezing process. The recipe isn’t clear on whether “2 cups” is before or after this air goes out. (Hopefully they mean before, because I used up all the ice cream…)

Once thoroughly softened (ok, melted), the ice cream was poured into the flour mixture.

The Rich Ice Cream Muffin Batch got an additional dose of egg and oil.

After stirring only until the dry ingredients were moistened, it looked quite lumpy — even for a muffin batter.

According to the Spoon Assistant (you know, that small child who hangs around the kitchen and offers to lick all your spoons for you, often while you’re still using them) the batter tasted pretty good. On the whole, this is an extremely kid-friendly recipe — not much to measure, not much to pour, and no worries if they don’t stir enough since you want it kinda lumpy.

Half of each batch got a light sprinkling of demerara sugar for a bit of extra sweetness and crunch.

After baking, there is not really a visible difference between the Rich (left) and Regular (right) Ice Cream Muffins, externally or internally.

The Rich Muffin (left) has a slightly higher rise, but only slightly.

Opinions were somewhat divided. Everyone agreed the Rich were better than the Regular, though only one family member declared the Regular Ice Cream Muffin to be inedible. I can’t quite put my finger on why this didn’t taste like a muffin. Neither version really tasted like ice cream, but there just wasn’t a whole lot of flavor — and what flavor it did have was slightly odd. (They’re also fairly tough.) A sprinkling of sugar couldn’t do much to help the unimpressiveness of the muffin.

I guess if you absolutely have to make muffins, and have nothing in the house but a pint of ice cream and some self-rising flour, this would be acceptable. Kind of a waste of the ice cream, though!



  1. Awww! Boo!! I am kinda sad these didn’t turn out! I was thinking that they would turn into this magical mystery muffin with glorious ice cream flavor. I can’t believe these were actually in a Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook!

    • Yeah, I was surprised and disappointed too! Maybe ice cream was better in 1966 😐

  2. What a wonderful experience it must be for your family to sample recipes from the past, Erica. Like you, I agree, it does make sense. And, like you, I believe the ingredients in ice cream have changed measurable since 1966.

    I wonder how much difference there would have been if home made ice cream were used? I used ice cream once to make bread pudding when I was low on milk and it turned out wonderfully. However, if I recall, it was waaaay back in the 70s:)

    Thank you so much for sharing…Can’t wait for the tapioca:)

  3. …hm. I expected this to go a lot better! Oh, well. At least the batter was good. These things are important.

    Now I want to try this with Soft-Serve…

  4. I agree with the others- it may well be that ice cream recipes have changed. In the UK for example milk was still rationed on an industrial level for some years after WW2 – making mass produced 100% cream/milk icecream illegal until some years into the 70s … so any vintage icecream recipe will always taste different. But a Pilsbury recipe – maybe it is just a general change in quality and ingredients?

    In the UK, flour has become more refined since the 60s – but this would surely mean MORE rise than expected? Hmm.

  5. A For effort.

  6. The way you describe how the muffins turned out reminds me of my very first experiments in baking muffins. Only, I used one of the bare-bones basic recipes that are in every big cookbook. They turned out…meh. Bland, made with white refined flour, tough and chewy (you aren’t supposed to beat them into submission, just blend together till incorporated). These muffins were good for nothing except as carriers for ingredients – fruit, nuts, chocolate chips. I agree, waste of good ice cream. I love your site so much, I check on it every week just to see what your up to!

  7. When I went out shopping for the ice cream, I made a point of getting Breyers. Breyers still seems to have the fewest weird ingredients of the major American ice cream manufacturers. However, their ingredient lists are not so simple as they were when they used to advertise having only three or four ingredients. So changes in ice cream recipes might or might not have had an important impact here. Honestly, I think it’s just more likely that the muffins were never going to be that impressive.

  8. I make ice cream muffins on a regular basis–I use 1 cup self rise flour to one pint ice cream (usually Ben and Jerry’s) I don’t melt the ice cream–just let it set out for a while to make it easier to get out of the carton. I bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes depending on the size muffin. My granddaughters and husband like to pick out exotic flavors and they are always gobbled up. Don’t know what you all are doing, but we love em!

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