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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Ice cream always has been, and always will be, my favorite dessert. With endless varieties to choose from, you might think that some exotic flavor would be my favorite. However, no matter how many ice cream flavors I try, I always come back to vanilla. I read once that vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in our country. In fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote the first American recipe for ice cream, and it can be seen in his papers at the Library of Congress (or here). While ice cream is widely available now, I’d like to think Jefferson would approve of making it from scratch. After all, everyone can benefit from a fabulous vanilla ice cream recipe. If you’re still looking for the one, look no further.

This recipe is everything vanilla ice cream should be – rich, creamy and speckled with flecks of vanilla bean. This ice cream can serve as the base for so many delicious toppings (homemade caramel sauce, perhaps?) and also tastes wonderful as an accompaniment to almost any dessert. My favorite way to eat this, though, is simply with sliced, fresh strawberries on top. There’s something so insanely satisfying and refreshing about it, and I honestly can’t get enough. If I had to pick one ice cream to keep in my freezer year round, this would be it.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Once the mixture is warm, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into it and add the bean. Cover, remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and set a mesh strainer on top. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm liquid over the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (or spatula). Pour the mixture through the strainer and stir into the cream until incorporated. Place in an ice bath until cool, then chill completely in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, then freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

PS – I couldn’t help but share this snapshot my friend Jessica took of me and David together at BlogHer Food:

BlogHer Food 2011

  • Blog is the New Black

    Vanilla bean is such a classic- and I def prefer the vanilla BEAN over a plain old vanilla- love the flecks!

  • Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet)

    I love vanilla ice cream because you can pair it with any topping and be in good shape! This looks very good…I’ve got some vanilla bean paste coming in the mail, so think I know what to do with some of it!!

  • Amy

    Great photo Courtney! Thanks for this vanilla recipe! I just got an ice cream maker a few weeks back and have yet to try vanilla.

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)

    I need to get vanilla beans so I can make this recipe! I love his book!

  • priya mahadevan

    The ice cream is calling out to me :) Got an ice cream machine -this one is almost 3 yr old’s fav flavor too.. thanks for the recipe:) and do visit when you find a moment – Would love to see you on my follow list :)) cheers, priya