Call me vanilla. I won't be insulted.

library of congress ice cream

I don't make vanilla ice cream very often because my husband doesn't like it. He thinks homemade vanilla tastes too strongly of vanilla extract. To me, that's not a bad thing but I have to make ice cream that will appeal to everyone in the family so I'm not the only one eating it. That's why I usually stick to some variation of chocolate.  But, I had a request from Super Spouse to make Monster Cookie ice cream sandwiches which called for vanilla ice cream. I didn't have enough eggs for the custard based vanilla so I tried this recipe. I decreased the amount of vanilla extract from 3/4 tsp to 1/2 and my husband said it might be the best ice cream I've ever made. Go figure. I think the key to the mild vanilla flavor is steeping a vanilla bean in the cream mixture, as well as cutting the amount of extract. Because this is Philadelphia style and doesn't have eggs, it won't have the pale yellow coloring you usually see with vanilla ice cream, and instead will be bright white with little flecks of vanilla beans.

Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style

  • 3 Cups heavy cream, or 2 Cups heavy cream and 1 Cup whole milk
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract (for a milder flavor, decrease to 1/2 tsp)

Pour 1 Cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and add the remaining 2 Cups cream (or the remaining 1 Cup cream and the milk) and the vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Notes: Of course, I had a Fail to go along with this. I planned to make the ice cream sandwiches, wrap them in saran wrap and freeze them. Instead of letting the ice cream harden in the refrigerator freezer, I scooped the soft ice cream right out of the maker. I won't go into details, but it was an amazing mess and I ended up ruining half of the batch of Monster Cookies. So, if you're going to make ice cream sandwiches, let the ice cream harden in the freezer before making the sandwiches.