v, vanilla bean

wpid-vanilla-bean-ice-cream_02.jpg.jpegT, Tofu. U, Udon. Welcome, my food for fun friends, to V! Today I join Shanna, Sofia, and Ngan as we continue to cook our way through the alphabet. My culinary colleagues smartly assigned V to vanilla bean and I’m ever so excited because I love vanilla bean flecks in premium ice creams. I also love soft serve ice cream (sorry, Kerbey!) and was intrigued by a recent find at Serious Eats.

Having gone through a bit of an ice-cream making drought (thinking the chronic below-freezing temps this winter had something to do with that), I was ready to dust off one of my favorite kitchen toys and get the ice-cream party started again.



still churning

still churning

and we have soft serve!

and we have soft serve!

The batter went together easily enough, though I’d have done better to strain it before chilling as the final ice cream had a few gelatin clumps throughout. (This “issue” came up in the comments on the Serious Eats post as well.) And if I make it again (which I will, as I’m wild about its soft texture), I’d use only half of a vanilla bean. Turns out there is such a thing as too much pure vanilla.

DIY chocolate sauce doesn't hurt! (and it's easy)

DIY chocolate sauce doesn’t hurt! (and it’s easy)

I also liked that there was a touch of whiskey, though it’s presence was all about antifreeze and not so much about the booze. Serious Eats called specifically for Scotch whisky (and Highland at that), but I proved myself a rebel by using a favorite brand of Irish whiskey.

This was a tasty treat for sure and it went down way too easily. Should you be a fan of soft serve as well as real vanilla, this one’s for you.



Be sure to check out the vanilla masterpieces found over at Shanna’s Curls & Carrots, Sofia’s Papaya Pieces, and Ngan’s ngan made it.

One last connection to soft-serve can be found over at my latest Funny Names in Food post. Please click over to meet the Hickingbothams and find out why lovers of soft-serve owe this family a great deal!



65 thoughts on “v, vanilla bean

  1. Soft-serve ice cream just says “summer” to me! We have a place to buy it about 5 miles away (a good bike ride to earn the treat) but I like the idea of making it–and of adding Irish whiskey!

    • love that you can work off a few calories on the way to buy your ice cream cone πŸ™‚ Those seasonal soft-serve “restaurants” are my favorites. Do you have a favorite flavor?

      It’s fun and easy to make, but almost too easy. Easier to stop eating when you have a cone in your hand. When the container is in your freezer, well…hard to stop going back for more 0-:

      Thanks for coming over, Kerry πŸ˜€

  2. Hi Liz, your recipe is the one at serious eats? I have never made ice cream (ok thats a lie, I helped my mum once when I was about 7, but I can’t remember the recipe…). I was going to make vanilla ice cream and thought it might be very complicated and surely one of your master cooks would do it, so I could copy the recipe and method another day πŸ™‚ So thanks, you made my day!! (or night more like it). Plus it’s with whiskey, wow! One question about the recipe in the link: what is the 3 1/2 cups of? Is that a brand of ice cream? Anyway, I see you have plenty of ice cream recipes, and I’m a HIGE ice-cream eater, so I need to take notes from you! xx

    • Yes, I used the recipe in the SE link. 3 1/2 cups half-and-half (dairy product that is part milk, part cream), but you could sub in some cream or milk of any fat level. I used fat-free 1/2 & 1/2 and it worked well. Thanks for visiting so many of my ice cream posts πŸ™‚ I do tend to lean toward obsession, haha.

      Ice cream is easy to make. No Master Cook license required πŸ˜‰ Equipment makes it easier, but you could make it in a blender if you wanted to.

      Thanks for your kind words, Sofia. I’ll be chasing over to your place as soon as I can. Again, am so grateful to be able to play with you πŸ™‚

      • Thanks for the advice – as you can see I have no ice of how to make ice cream, even if I’m an expert eater πŸ˜‰ I’m so glad you enjoy playing the challenge with us as I think it’s fun too and love having you on board. We could say this V challenge was a huge success because if we made an afternoon tea in the same room, all our creations go so well together! πŸ™‚

    • Agreed, Suzanne, that soft-serve makes people happy πŸ™‚ Fun to watch folks eat it as you can’t help but smile when you’re licking that cone. You would rock some DIY ice cream, I’m sure πŸ˜€

  3. I love soft serve and regular ice cream, but have never tried to make it myself (lacking an ice cream maker, though now, there’s a trend for no-churn ice cream also). Your ice cream looks perfect, Liz. Vanilla bean ice cream is one of my all time favorites, and I’m sure your homemade version is excellent. And with chocolate sauce? I’m sold! Great job!

    • Thanks, Ngan πŸ™‚ I’ve been intrigued by the no-churn recipes as well. But the electric churners make it so easy. Though if $$ were no object, I would’ve gone for a much higher end model.

      Definitely better homemade, not matter the method. And wouldn’t a cuppa vanilla chai be so lovely served alongside? πŸ˜‰

  4. Oh Llz, you had me at vanilla bean!! And then soft serve…the whiskey? Well, ok if you say so. Clearly I need to get an ice cream maker – any recommendations? May I say that I am SO excited at the prospect of trying this!! hugs, m

    • Thanks, Mimi πŸ™‚ I have a Cuisinart and like it well enough, though it’s really just a bunch of plastic. You can link to it from this post: http://wp.me/p2dvv9-qJ

      If I had $300 sitting around and a lot more counter space than I do, I’d buy a professional model.

      Let me know if you take the plunge. I’d love to hear your stories πŸ™‚

  5. Liz, I am with you on the booze in the recipe. Adding a bit to any ice-cream prevents overturning, plus the lovely favor of your liqueur of choice can’t be beat. I love your photos and have been craving vanilla bean ice-cream with chocolate syrup ever since I saw them. Glad Serious Eats inspired such a beautiful creation. I can imagine the luscious, velvety and creamy texture. xx Shanna

    • it was totally velvety, Shanna, and it IS ALL GONE. Would like to say my family helped me eat it, and I could but I’d be lying.

      I can see a pregnant lady enjoying a bowl of soft serve smothered in chocolate sauce. Mmmmmm…. And have it after one of those pregnancy runs and you’re golden πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for inviting me to play!!!

    • your dedication will see you through, Beth πŸ˜‰ Easiest first step would be to buy the machine, though a dedicated soul can do it without–just lots more stirring/freezing/stirring/freezing.

      For sure you’ve done the ice-cream-in-a-bag/can trick with your Ks, yes?

      Thanks for coming over πŸ™‚

  6. Yum yum! My husband’s favorite flavor is vanilla bean. I am very into homemade chocolate sauce too. Salted caramel sauce is on the to do list. I was going to make ice cream today but didn’t get to it. Hopefully tomorrow….

    • Then I think you’ll have to make your husband some vanilla bean ice cream πŸ™‚ (And aren’t you the one who convinced me to buy Licor 43?)

      Please report back when you make a batch–yay, summer!

      Thanks for coming over, MamaD.

    • Agreed!! The artificial is a waste of $$ for sure. I’ve started making extract by steeping vanilla beans in vodka. Want to try it with bourbon, too. And at the suggestion of another blogger, I tried it in sherry. Very fruity!

  7. I love soft serve! And with the on-again off-again heat and humidity here in PDX I’ve really been craving it. I also like the addition of booze (even if it’s whiskey!) as an anti-freezing agent — always fun when alcohol is useful as well as delicious. πŸ˜‰ Will have to try this as soon as I’m off my post-vacation detox!

    • Thanks, Saucy πŸ™‚ DIY ice cream is treat for kids of all ages and can be dressed up or down. What’s not to like? No idea what happens when we get to X and Z. It’s an open group if you’re interested in jumping on board! All that’s required is a commitment to sticking with the group for the monthly posts.

      Speaking of posts, will be checking out yours soon soon soon. We’ve been away for a bit and have fallen behind big time. Must remedy.

  8. This looks so good. Real vanilla ice cream is such a treat. And I happen to be a fan of scotch, but I can see how Irish whiskey might be the better choice. A piece of me really wishes I had an ice cream churner, but I think it’s better that I don’t. This looks marvelous. I can only imagine all of the wonderful things you’re going to make with this in the summer. Yum. Well done!

    • Thanks, Amanda πŸ™‚ Scotch would do well here, too, as it’s mostly about the alcohol lowering the freezing point. An ice cream maker at the ready is indeed a dangerous thing πŸ˜‰

  9. Yum, vanilla bean!! We’ve been taking about a vanilla-themed party for years, so I was glad to be invited to your cyber-one. πŸ™‚ I’m intrigued by the fact that you experienced too much vanilla – what, that’s possible? Was it just too strong or did the flavour actually change?

  10. Thanks to you I now know that booze, specifically bourbon, in my ice cream could well be my new kyrptonite. So, here you are, tempting me and my haven’t work out hardly at all in the last few weeks sorry self down this road again. Hmmm. I may need to re-evaluate your level of influence on me. But really, there can’t be such a thing as TOO much vanilla?? Really? Have some more and double check! πŸ™‚

    • you like the boozy ice cream, then? Just throw in a few cornflakes and call it breakfast, haha. Thinking I’m not the best influence on myself either. More later πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by, Bonnie! Yes, sadly, too much vanilla. Though. That didn’t stop me from finishing it in that stout float.

    • Thanks, Liz! Was the whiskey flavor strong? In this recipe, you can’t even taste it. The alcohol slows the freeze to keep it soft-serve. (though I don’t think that’s how DQ gets its ice cream so soft, haha) Bailey’s and Kahlua sounds lovely. I’ll get right on it πŸ˜‰

      • I didn’t actually try the ice cream. I know – I shouldn’t judge it before I try it! Also, I am now going to whole-heartedly believe that DQ spikes its ice cream. That’s why blizzards are so addicting!!

  11. I adore vanilla and regularly raise eyebrows by ordering it without any adornment or extra flavours on the side – it’s just glorious! Thanks for reminding what I need to be doing this weekend!

    • Thanks for coming over, Carrie πŸ™‚ I’m so with you on loving plain vanilla. No toppings needed. Let me know if you make a glorious batch of ice cream!

  12. Thanks for the great post! Never made ice-cream even though I have the maker. Your post encouraged me to finally brake out the ice cream maker and get to work. Yay! I made condensed milk ice cream with vanilla. Came out super yummy!

    • I’m so glad my post encouraged you to make ice cream. Looks like my work here is done πŸ˜‰

      Have ice cream envy as mine is already gone. Time to make more!

  13. That is a beautiful vanilla ice cream. Never heard of that brand of Irish whisky. Will have to look out for it next time I’m at the liquor store. My husband is a fan of Irish whisky, but all I know about is Jameson, hehe.

    • Thank you, Sam πŸ™‚ The 2 Gingers is a local brand–well, it’s bottled here anyway or at least the guy who started the brand had a bunch of Irish restaurants and pubs in Minneapolis/St. Paul. lol, sort of local. Any whisky would work here!

    • Thanks, Heather. Glad to inspire. DIY ice cream is impressively easy and the results are just plain amazing. Hope you give it a try πŸ™‚

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