Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I never really thought about making homemade ice-cream until I came across a superb book called The Chocolate Bible. After going through the whole book over and over again (it never gets boring) I decided to try the custard based vanilla bean ice cream recipe – as well as other chocolate recipes.

Custard based ice cream is also known as French-style ice cream; it’s thick, silky, and very scoop-able because of the addition of egg yolks which thickens the mixture. American style ice cream is not as dense, and it’s far quicker to prepare since it doesn’t require cooking a custard base; it is simply a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring.

For the custard, you first start cooking the milk, vanilla, and egg yolks over low heat for a few minutes and add the whipping cream at the end. After chilling the mixture for two hours, you pour it in an ice cream maker which will simultaneously freeze the mixture while churning (to aerate it and avoid ice crystals to form). The result was so wonderful: the ice cream was rich and creamy, it tasted exactly like Häagen-Dazs! Can you imagine how impressed everyone would be when they find out that you whipped out a delicious traditional vanilla bean ice cream from scratch?! You will feel special, I’m telling you ;).

Serve this ice cream with Fudgy Brownies, Chocolate Ganache, Apple Tart, or chunks of chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies… My mouth is watering while writing this post, so I’m going to jump right ahead with the ingredients and instructions.


Ingredients: (from The Chocolate Bible)
• 5 egg yolks
• 125 grams (½ cup+2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
• 500 ml (2 cups) milk
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• 50 ml (¼ cup) whipping cream

1. Beat the egg yolks and 60 grams (5 tablespoons) of the sugar until pale, yellow, and creamy.
2. Pour the milk into a saucepan; add the remaining sugar.
3. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod – using the point of a knife – into the milk. Add the pod in the saucepan and slowly bring it to the boil.
4. Whisk 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs and sugar mixture, stirring well to combine. Then pour this mixture into the remaining hot milk.
5. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over low heat until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. (~10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil).
6. Stir in the whipping cream and remove from the heat immediately; strain into a bowl.
7. Stand a bowl in crushed ice and place in fridge for two hours until the mixture is cold.
8. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
9. Remove the ice cream from the machine and transfer it to the freezer before serving.


Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

Ok I have a confession to make. I’m in love with these vanilla cupcakes.
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So I know that Valentine’s Day falls on a week day, but these vanilla cupcakes are so simple to make and they make a great gift for your loved ones. I’m always on the search for a great vanilla cake recipe, and since I baked my famous Chewy Chocolate Chip Brownies last year for my friends I decided to bake the best vanilla cupcakes this year. I stumbled upon Cupcake Project‘s recipe called “The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake – Test Baked by 50 Bakers and Counting”. I was so excited to try them out! The reviews were great and the recipe called for vanilla beans. Ohhhh yum.

The cake recipe is very simple and it contains basic ingredients such as oil, sugar, and cake flour (which I replaced with all purpose flour and cornstarch). The vanilla bean frosting requires vanilla bean paste, but you can always replace this ingredient with a vanilla bean. It’s important to use the best quality ingredients in all of your baking endeavors.

I am really happy with how they turned out! The texture of the cake was great, so moist and fluffy. The frosting was delicious and heavenly, it tasted just like vanilla ice cream *swoon*. For the mini red hearts, I made some icing, added some liquid red coloring, piped them on a baking sheet, and popped them in the fridge. (watch this video to learn how to pipe using a Ziploc bag)

This recipe yields 18 vanilla cupcakes. I think it pairs lovely with any frosting flavor but I decided to try the Vanilla Bean frosting for the  “ultimate” vanilla experience. 😉

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Ingredients: (Adapted from Cupcake Project)

  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 + 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch (half a 1/4 cup)
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream (or yoghurt)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure liquid vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (Watch this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes (you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture).
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquid.
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white, NOT a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again every two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack or on your counter to cool.

Vanilla Bean Frosting: (Frosts 16 cupcakes)

  • 3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (I got my Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste from here), or substitute with a vanilla bean.
  • 2+1/2 tablespoons milk
  1. Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute.
  3. If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste, or more confectioners’ sugar to make it stiffer.