Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {Recipe}

vanilla bean ice cream A few months ago, a friend on facebook asked for a vanilla ice cream recipe and I realized, with all the ice cream I've made, I've never made a plain vanilla. I have a go-to vanilla recipe that I've used as a base for other flavors, but hadn't made it by itself yet.

vanilla beans cooking

Maybe that's because I've never been one for vanilla much myself. But boy, is it growing on me, especially when it is flecked with those real vanilla bean specks.

I've now made this recipe a couple of times and it so creamy and delicious that it could never be called boring. The first time I made it, we had it to accompany this delicious Meyer Lemon Cake and then last week I made it again for Gigi's 4th birthday party (more coming on that soon!).

vanilla ice cream prep

This recipe is printable but if you're in an email or reader, you may need to click over to print it.

vanilla ice cream ingredients


Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

adapted from Jeni Britton makes around 1 quart


2 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened (I use whipped) 1 1/4 cups heavy cream 2/3 cup sugar (organic cane juice sugar) 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped pinch of salt


1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch (adorable mini whisk optional for this step). In another large glass bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth (this is really easy with whipped cream cheese).

2. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, sugar, brown rice syrup and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the milk to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture gradually. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.

3. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in an ice water bath (a larger bowl with ice water) and let stand or refrigerate until cold.

4. Strain (optional) the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Pack into container and freeze until firm (about 4 hours or so). Go ahead and lick the spoon, because it's darn good!


homemade vanilla bean ice cream- yum!

Spiced Apple Ice Cream

spiced apple ice cream "If the sheer sensual joy of eating homemade ice cream is enough for you to shed your guilt [of healthism/nutritionism], throw away phony industrial foods, and return to eating real foods, all the better." ~Nina Planck, Real Food

Looking for a delightfully autumnish ice cream recipe? This one is sure to hit the spot! I modified a recipe from ReadyMade Magazine article about the book, Spice Dreams (guess I need to get a copy of that!), with Jeni's method of a no-egg custard.

After you go pick your fall apples, you'll definitely want spare some for this treat.




Spiced Apple Ice Cream

from {adapted from ReadyMade Magazine} makes just over a quart


For the spiced apples:

  • 2 large apples (or 3-4 small), cored, peeled, thinly sliced, and cut into quarters (about 2 cups)
  • about 1/2 cup honey (or 2/3 cup sugar)- this can be adjusted to your taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

For the ice cream:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1. Combine the spiced apple ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender and all the liquid is gone, about 10 minutes. Let the apples cool a bit and then place them in the fridge to chill.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl (I used my stand mixer), whisk the cream cheese until smooth.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the cream, 1/2 c. sugar, brown rice syrup and 1/2 t. vanilla. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

4. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.

5. Pour the ice cream mix into an ice cream maker (strain if desired) and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the chilled spiced apples to to the mixture in your ice cream maker during last minute of mixing and churn until just mixed.  Pour into airtight container(s) and freeze for at least 2-4 hours.





spiced apple ice cream 2

spiced ice cream

Mexican Spiced Chocolate Ice Cream

mexican chocolate ice cream I figure to be as authentic as possible, I have to share my kitchen successes as well as my not-so-successful ventures. This Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream didn't come out quite as I would have liked it. I was combining recipes and something went awry.

But, have no fear, if this flavor sounds delicious to you, I have an alternative option... start with my amazing chocolate ice cream recipe, and then simply add these spices, to your saucepan when cooking the milk and sugar:

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

That's what I'm going to do next time. :)

In addition, you can bet I'll be trying this vegan alternative, not because I'm vegan (I'm definitely not) but just for the fun of it, and because I'm always on the lookout for ice cream recipes made with sugar alternatives. I've never made ice cream with coconut milk, so I'm intrigued to say the least.

spiced ice cream

Hopefully this post is simply whetting your appetite for more spiced ice cream goodness. I have three "successful" recipes to share with you that are out-of-this-world, so stay tuned!

Lemon-lime frozen yogurt pops-- a summery Sunday treat

summery yogurt pops We've finally been having some summer weather around here! "Sunny San Diego" is known for its May Gray and June Gloom, but the pesky marine layer has persisted through most of July as well, here on the coast.


I'm sure hoping for a hot, sunny August. For me, warm weather is the best. I get that from my dad. My brother takes more after mom, preferring the cooler weather.



We just got back from a super fun weekend, camping at one of my favorite beaches, San Onofre. We hung out with friends and family, surfed and enjoyed the beach and watched an amazing sunset accompanied by some of the most acrobatic dolphins I'd ever seen. Wish I had telephoto lens for times like that, but I got those dolphins catalogued away in my memories.

yum! yogurt pops

I know it's already been a warm one though in other parts of the country. If you need to beat the heat with a yummy treat (how's that rhyming?!), here's an easy summery frozen snack to prepare one night when the kids are in bed, and surprise them with on a hot afternoon. Just don't tell them that it's actually pretty good for them!! You'll need an ice cream maker and ideally a popsicle mold for this one. I got mine at Ikea a while back (they have one now called Midsommar that's only $1.99!).

homemade lemon-lime frozen yogurt pops


Lemon-Lime Frozen Yogurt Pops

makes 5-6 popsicles (and maybe a little extra) recipe from

2 cups plain yogurt (I've been loving making mine in the crockpot)

3 oz. mix of fresh lemon and lime juice

3 oz. honey (raw would be great!)

1/2 tsp. lime zest

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Strain yogurt (if you haven't already; I strain mine when I make it) in a cheesecloth-lined sieve or strainer for about an hour or until about 1/2 cup of liquid has drained out. The liquid is called whey and you can save it to use it later in soups, breads, etc.

2. Combine other ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined. Add yogurt and whisk all together. Transfer to an ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer's directions. (Be sure to taste it after that... mmmm).

3. Pour into popsicle molds or even little cups with sticks inserted into yogurt. Freeze overnight. For best flavor use within one week, although they will be fine if you get a rainy week and have to wait till later. :)

4. Enjoy, preferably outside on a hot day!



I feel like now (and geez, can't believe it's August already!) I can officially wish you a Happy Summer from the Bennett Fam. :)

Chocolate Ice Cream... With Real California Milk

homemade chocolate ice cream I'm really excited and thankful for the opportunity to be celebrating National Ice Cream Month (!!!) here on Gidget Goes Home. The California Milk Advisory Board chose me to blog about the fun family ritual of making homemade ice cream. My loyal readers all know how much I love homemade ice cream!

I've been searching for a while and I finally came across a good, simple chocolate ice cream recipe!! It came out delicious and I was able to get the whole fam in on the process.


Have you seen those cute commercials over the years about California cows being the happy cows? I believe it! Let me start by telling you a few things I like about Real California Milk...

So let's get to the tasty stuff. I can't wait to have a bowl of this ice cream tonight with my hubby, but first I'll show you how we made it.


I recommend you find someone cute to help you with this recipe.


And let's get the whole family involved, why don't we?

homemade chocolate ice cream

Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes about a quart (adapted from The Kitchn)
8 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate (or a mixture of both 70%+ bittersweet and milk chocolate), chopped 3 1/2 cups half and half (or equal parts whole milk and whipping cream) 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 2 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 1/4 cup) 1/4 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane juice sugar) pinch of salt


These are the magic ingredients. More on the developer of this ice cream-making method in a future post.


Tasty evaporated cane juice is my sugar of choice.


Yummmmm, I just love whole milk.

Here we go. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the half and half with the cornstarch. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining half and half with the sugar. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, set up an ice bath in a large bowl.


Pour just enough of the hot milk over the chopped chocolate and and cream cheese to cover it. Stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is thick and silky. Add the salt. Gradually add the remaining hot milk mixture.


Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cooled off, about 20 minutes.


Pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze an additional two hours (or more) in an airtight container. Will keep (with best flavor) for about a week if sealed properly.

View the printable recipe.

Well, that was fun. And now I'm off to eat some of my creation. I hope you and your family will go make a batch of this goodness and celebrate what in my opinion is a great month! You can bet there's more ice cream to come in July in my neck o' the woods.

If you're a Californian, make sure you visit this page which shows you where you can by Real California Milk products in California. There are also a few different coupons available on the page (and at the bottom of the website) as well!!

Disclosure: I wrote this article while participating in a blog campaign by the California Milk Advisory Board, who paid me a fee to participate. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday Treat: Blueberry Honey Homemade Ice Cream

homemade blueberry honey ice cream Finally, the perfect blueberry ice cream!! My first batch didn't come out so good. It was flaky and didn't have a very creamy texture, even though it tasted creamy, which was weird. But this version definitely doesn't disappoint.

{edited to add, 7.2.15: I've been making this every summer for five years now, and this recipe still gets rave reviews!}

I went for the classic custard-style ice cream, because I've had better results with it in the past and it paid off. Since then, I recently found another method that I might like even better, so maybe I'll eventually have a second version of this recipe.

But for now, consider this a winner. I started with one from The Kitchn and modified it to come up with this recipe. I love that it has no white sugar in it, and the honey gives it a real richness, too.

Papa and the kiddos

We enjoyed this on Father's Day and my dad, aka Papa, who himself claims to not normally love fruity ice creams, couldn't stop raving about how it was really good. :)

So, without further adieu, here it is...

local berries and honey


Blueberry Honey Ice Cream

makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1/2 cup honey 2 Tb. water 1 cup, minus 1 Tb. half and half 5 egg yolks 1 cup buttermilk, chilled in the freezer for at least 20 minutes 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer berries, half the honey, and water, breaking up berries as they cook down, about 5 minutes. Puree in a blender, then strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Set aside. In a medium sausepan over medium-low heat, simmer the half and half until very hot but not boiling.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with remaining honey until pale yellow. Slowly pour in half and half, whisking as you go, so as not to cook the eggs.

Return mixture to saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly across the bottom of hte pan, until thick and custardy, coating the back of a spoon (170* on a candy thermometer). Do not allow it to curdle.

Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in chilled buttermilk, vanilla and berry mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Ice cream will need to be frozen for at least 2 hours to achieve hard ice cream.


mixing it up

I hope you enjoy the rich taste of honey, buttermilk and berries and the beautiful lavender color!