I have nothing against vanilla. I liberally pour vanilla extract into just about everything I make and I’m pretty sure even an awesome chocolate chip cookie would be lacking without it. Buttt… things that are just vanilla flavored? Ehh, no thanks. Too often that just seems to mean plain and therefore boring. I’ll take chocolate, thank you very much.
So I know there’s this great vanilla/chocolate divide between people, and clearly I’m on team chocolate, but please don’t hate me for that! Especially because today I’m rooting for team vanilla. :D Homemade vanilla bean ice cream is seriously a different animal than all the boring vanilla desserts I’ve had in the past, and I love it. Typically, if you were to offer me vanilla ice cream, I would either a) ask you for some chocolate magic shell, chocolate fudge sauce, or chocolate SOMETHING, or I would b) just say thanks, but um, no thanks. But just like I learned when I made Vanilla Bean Ruffle Cake, vanilla done right can be so, so good. And trust me, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is done right.
I think the secret to vanilla desserts is to seriously load them with vanilla, pack it in so that there’s no doubt vanilla is playing the leading role. For me, that means pulling out 3 things: vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, and good ol’ vanilla extract. It’s a triple threat, you see. So naturally, this ice cream has all three of those lovely vanilla ingredients, and it’s the most creamy, pure, and luscious vanilla ice cream you could ask for. And as much as I love French-style ice cream (aka custard-based), I tend to think Philadelphia-style is more up my alley when it comes to vanilla ice cream, which is good news here. Philadelphia-style = faster and easier, always a good thing when it comes to ice cream. So yes, this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is simple and easy to make, delicious, creamy, loaded with vanilla, perfectly sweet, addicting… need I go on?
Vanilla isn’t even usually on my dessert radar, but this ice cream deserves center stage. ;)
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
This smooth and creamy ice cream is packed with vanilla for a pure, sweet vanilla treat. It’s the perfect accompaniment for summer desserts!
- Yield: about 1 quart 1x
- 16 ½ ounces (2 cups) heavy cream, divided
- 5 ¼ ounces (¾ cup) vanilla sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 8 ½ ounces (1 cup) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small or medium saucepan, combine 8 ¼ ounces (1 cup) heavy cream with the vanilla sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Stir together, using a spatula to press any clumps of vanilla bean into the sides of the saucepan to disperse. Add the vanilla bean pod* and warm the mixture over medium, heat, stirring constantly with a heat-safe spatula, just until the sugar dissolves. (If you wipe your finger down the spatula, you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules). Remove from heat.
- While stirring, slowly pour in the remaining 8 ¼ ounces (1 cup) heavy cream and the whole milk. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and chill thoroughly (about 8 hours, or overnight).
- Before churning, remove vanilla pod from mixture and lightly stir or whisk mixture to smooth out. A film of cream may have developed on top during chilling, but this should stir smooth. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on top of the ice cream, under the container’s lid. I also like to keep the container in a freezer-safe bag for extra protection.
*It goes without saying, but be extra careful to not get pieces of the vanilla pod in the ice cream mixture. I accidentally did the first time I made this ice cream, and it’s not that fun trying to fish it out. :/
Since it is officially the start of summer now, I’d just like to point out that this ice cream is not only appearing right on time, but it’s absolutely perfect for adding to summer desserts. I mean, it is vanilla ice cream after all! I’ll be it would be awesome with this apricot almond galette, if only I had any ice cream – or galette – left!