Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sassy Sweets: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Today is shaping up to be another multi-post day!  I know you're excited.  I'm starting with a vanilla bean ice cream base because I have a sauce, and a dessert recipe that I want to share with you that incorporate vanilla ice cream.  I know anyone can go out and buy vanilla bean ice cream.  That will skip a few steps but still make the two recipes delicious!  To be honest, I had some beautiful vanilla beans from Marx Foods.  You remember them, right?  I did their Iron Foodie challenge back in December.  Well, these vanilla beans were just calling for some good old-fashioned ice cream.  Vanilla bean ice cream is John's favorite, so what better way to end Valentine's Day than with that, right?

Well, this vanilla bean ice cream came together so fast and easy.  If you don't have an ice cream maker, take a 9x9 baking pan and spread the vanilla mixture in it.  Cover and chill in the freezer, and you will get the same results!  I used 3 vanilla beans because John loves his vanilla; but you can use anywhere from 1-3, or substitute the vanilla beans with an extra teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.  Also, I saw a lot of internet recipes for ice creams with a custard-like base.  This involves a lot of heating, straining, etc.  Mine is much lighter and figure-friendly without those eggs!
Despite it being winter, this is a great recipe to make with the kids.  My parents used to put rock salt and ice cubes in a large coffee tin and our ice cream base in a smaller coffee tin (both well covered with edges taped down); then, it was up to us to roll it all over the floor!  In fact we used to sit around in the kitchen and roll it back and forth to one another.  Imagine our surprise that when we were done, there was real ice cream inside!  It's a great way to keep anyone occupied in a small space. 

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Serves:  4 (3 cups of ice cream)
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1-3 vanilla beans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine half-and-half, cream, and sugar.  If you don't know how to get the seeds out of vanilla pods, Marx Foods has the best way I've ever seen here.  Scrape those seeds into the cream mixture along with pure vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Pour into your ice cream maker, or 9x9 baking pan.  Freeze overnight. 

PS--yes, I know the serving size for ice cream is 1/2 cup, most of the time.  But this ice cream is so good there is no way you can stop at just one half!!!

Can't wait to show you what else you can do with it--one this afternoon and one this evening, so keep checking back!

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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