One current rage of the ice cream parlors is to enhance basic ice cream flavors with more than just toppings -- but with the likes of home-baked brownies, cookies and candy.

Such concoctions are called blend-ins, and new flavors are emerging as a result. A bit removed from the standard soda fountain roster of banana splits and malteds, blend-ins combine almost any kind of confection (chopped up bar candy and nut brittle; chocolate-covered peanuts, raisins and sandwich cookies; chocolate-dipped fruit; chopped up brownies, blondies and macaroons) and premium ice cream.

The ice cream into which the broken, chopped, smashed or lightly mangled additions are mashed should be simply flavored and smooth. And if you crank out a good, egg-fortified vanilla or chocolate ice cream at home, it can become an excellent base for trapping candy or bits of bakery things. Soft ice cream, as it comes out of the canister of the ice cream machine, most easily accepts blend-in ingredients.

Little lumps of cookies or brownies add a rich and complex taste and texture to ice cream, especially if they are made with imported bittersweet chocolate, fresh butter and eggs. Customizing ice cream in this way has become so fashionable that some sweet shops now sport a piece of equipment that mushes together individual portions of ice cream and a selected blend-in ingredient (or two or three). The blend-in machine actually whips everything together into one very soft concoction.

At home, a quart of softly churned ice cream can be glamorized with all the baked goods and candies available at the ice cream shop. Following are recipes for ice cream and easily baked cookies for adding to them, blend-in style.

The baked cookies should be coarsely chopped, and brownies (or blondies) should be cut up and "bruised" lightly with the back of a knife so that their chewy interiors mingle nicely with the surface of the ice cream. For a quart of just-frozen ice cream, use 1 1/2 cups of gently smashed cookies and 1 cup of candy chopped up from the candy bar of your choice.

And so remember that blend-in ice creams are best served in deep sundae glasses with tall spoons and drifts of unsweetened whipped cream. VANILLA CUSTARD ICE CREAM (Makes about 1 quart to serve 8)

This ice cream is made with an egg yolk-enriched custard base, amply flavored with vanilla. The smooth quality of the ice cream makes it a good base in which to fold through goodies like pieces of fudgy brownie, macaroon or cookie.

4 extra-large or jumbo egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 cup light (table) cream, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Seed scrapings from the inside of a 2-inch piece of vanilla bean

1 cup milk, cold

2 cups whipping cream, cold

In a large, heavy saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until thick and lemon-colored. Scald the light cream in a small saucepan, remove from the heat, and blend it into the egg yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream, whisking all the while. Set the egg yolk-cream mixture over low heat and cook until lightly thickened, stirring constantly (the custard should coat the back of a wooden spoon). Remove the custard from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and the seed scrapings. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cool to room temperature. When cool, stir in the cold milk and whipping cream.

Cover the ice cream base and refrigerate it for 6 hours, or overnight if convenient. When the base is thoroughly chilled, pour the mixture into the container of an electric or hand-cranked ice cream machine. Freeze the ice cream according to the directions supplied by the manufacturer.

As soon as the ice cream has been churned, blend through any additions, turn into a container, and freeze for 1 hour to allow the ice cream the chance to mellow.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped brownies or cookies for each quart of ice cream. Allow 1 cup chopped or smashed candy for each quart of ice cream.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM (Makes about 1 quart to serve 8)

Both semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, melted down until satiny smooth, are added to a plain vanilla ice cream base to create a suave chocolate ice cream. The salt and vanilla strengthen the chocolate flavor. The ice cream turns almost candylike if you stir through soft, fudgy chocolate macaroons or brownies.

4 extra-large or jumbo egg yolks, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup light (table) cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup milk, cold

1 cup light (table) cream, cold

1 cup whipping cream, cold

In a large, heavy saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until thick and lemon-colored. Scald the light cream in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and blend it into the egg yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly. Set the egg yolk-cream mixture over low heat and cook slowly, stirring, until lightly thickened. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the hot custard into a large bowl. Stir in the melted chocolates. Cool the custard to room temperature and then stir in the milk, light cream and whipping cream.

Cover the ice cream base and refrigerate it for 6 hours, or overnight if convenient. When the base is thoroughly chilled, pour the mixture into the container for an electric or hand-cranked ice cream machine. Freeze the ice cream according to the directions supplied by the manufacturer.

As soon as the ice cream has been churned, blend through any additions, turn into a container and freeze for 1 hour so that the ice cream can mellow.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped brownies, macaroons or cookies for each quart of ice cream. Allow 1 cup chopped or smashed candy for each quart of ice cream. COFFEE CUSTARD ICE CREAM (Makes about 1 quart to serve 8)

Coffee flavored ice cream is delicious when studded with pieces of chewy macaroon or walnut-chocolate chunk cookies.

4 extra-large or jumbo egg yolks, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons good-quality instant coffee, or 1/3 cup very strong brewed coffee

1 cup light (table) cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup milk, cold

2 cups whipping cream, cold

In a large, heavy saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until thick and lemon-colored. Place the instant or brewed coffee in a saucepan with the light cream, set over low heat and bring to the simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes.

Blend the cream into the egg yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream. Set the egg yolk-cream mixture over low heat and cook until lightly thickened, stirring constantly (the custard should lightly coat the back of a spoon). Remove the custard from the heat, stir in the vanilla and let cool to room temperature. When cool, stir in the milk and whipping cream.

Cover the ice cream base and refrigerate it for 6 hours, or overnight if convenient. When the base is thoroughly chilled, pour the mixture into the container of an electric or hand-cranked ice cream machine. Freeze the ice cream according to the directions supplied by the manufacturer.

As soon as the ice cream has been churned, blend through any additions, turn into a container, and freeze for 1 hour to allow the ice cream the chance to mellow.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups chopped cookies or 1 cup chopped candy for each quart of ice cream.

Ingredient note: For a more pronounced coffee flavor, substitute 3 tablespoons instant espresso coffee granules for the quantity of instant coffee. VERY FUDGY BROWNIES (for ice cream blend-ins) (Makes one 8-inch square pan of brownies)

These not-too-thick brownies are chewy and moist, with a wonderful chocolate bouquet. On their own, they are a toothsome treat to down with a cold glass of milk; coarsely chopped and dumped into softly frozen ice cream, a cupful adds impact to the simplest of vanilla ice creams. Walnuts add a crunchy edge to the brownie (and ice cream, but you can leave them out if you wish).

1/4 pound (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sugar blended with 1/8 teaspoon salt

2 extra-large or jumbo eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Lightly butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking pan; line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of waxed paper. Dust out the buttered sides of the pan with flour and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Stir in the sugar-salt blend and the eggs. Blend in the flour and 1/2 cup of the chopped walnuts. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake the brownies on the lower-third level of a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until set; a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies will come out moist with a few clinging particles. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Loosen the sides with a flexible palette knife, invert the brownies onto a second rack and flip them over so that the baked square is right side up.

Cut the brownies into squares. Further chop the squares into 1/2-inch cubes before adding to soft ice cream.

For blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups brownie cubes for each quart of ice cream. BUTTERSCOTCH BLONDIES (for ice cream blend-ins) (Makes one 8-inch square pan of blondies)

The shredded coconut in the batter makes these blondies extra moist and chewy, and cut-up blondies meld beautifully into homemade vanilla ice cream.

5 2/3 tablespoonsSTART NOTE cq END NOTE unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup lightly sweetened shredded coconut

Lightly butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking pan; line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of waxed paper. Dust out the buttered sides of the pan with flour and set aside.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan; set over moderate heat to melt the butter and sugar. When melted, remove from the heat to cool for 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn the butter-sugar mixture into a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt, add to the egg mixture and beat just until the particles of flour have been absorbed. Fold through the shredded coconut.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to the edges. Bake the blondies on the lower-third level of a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the center of the blondies will emerge with a few clinging particles. Cool the blondies in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Loosen the sides with a flexible palette knife or spatula. Invert the blondies onto a second rack, then flip the baked square over again so that it is right side up.

Cut the blondies into squares. Further chop the squares into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces for blending into soft ice cream.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups 3/4-inch pieces of blondies for each quart of ice cream. BROWN SUGAR-CHOCOLATE BRITTLE COOKIES (for ice cream blend-ins) (Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

These are crisp, hefty cookies, loaded with morsels of bittersweet chocolate and nuts. Broken-up cookies add three flavorings to soft vanilla ice cream -- chocolate, walnut and butterscotch. Also, the cookies will stand on their own if served along with a bowl of ice cream or simply as a sweet snack with a tall glass of iced tea.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour combined with 1/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces ( 3/4 pound) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/3-inch pieces (Lindt Excellence or Tobler Tradition are both excellent bar chocolates to use here)

3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Beat in the brown sugar in 2 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion of sugar is added. Blend in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour in 2 additions, beating just until the particles of flour have been absorbed. By hand, stir in the chocolate pieces, including any shards left over from the chopping process, and the chopped walnuts.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart on well-buttered or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, keeping the blobs of dough in a well-rounded mound. Bake the cookies on the lower-third level of a 350-degree oven for 12 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch, golden brown around the edges and detach easily from the cookie sheet.

Remove to a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. Store cooled cookies in a tin. For blending into soft ice cream, break up cookies with your hands into 3/4-inch pieces.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 1/2 cups cookie pieces for each quart of ice cream. MACAROONS (for ice cream blend-ins) (Makes about 1 1/2 dozen macaroons)

Chewy and sweet, these macaroons are good for loading up the cookie jar or blending into soft vanilla ice cream, especially Vanilla Custard Ice Cream. If the heaping cup of crumbled macaroons are to be added to the above ice cream, decrease the amount of sugar in the ice cream by 1/4 cup (using 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup).

1/2 pound (about 3 generous cups) sweetened shredded coconut

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch cream of tartar

Dump the coconut into a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, blend together the condensed milk, almond and vanilla extract; pour over the coconut and stir it through.

Beat the egg whites until foamy in a clean, dry bowl. Add the pinch of cream of tartar and continue beating until the whites are stiff, but still moist-looking. Fold the beaten whites through the coconut mixture.

Drop heaping teaspoons of the coconut mixture 2 inches apart onto well-buttered or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake the macaroons on the lower-third level of a 350-degree oven for about 9 minutes or until the edges are a lightly golden color and the cookies are just firm to the touch.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack with a wide metal spatula. Store the cooled cookies in a tin. For blending into soft ice cream, break up the macaroons with your hands into 1/2-inch pieces.

For a blend-in: Allow 1 heaping cup macaroon pieces for each quart of ice cream.