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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Back when I first got my ice cream maker, I was addicted to making frozen yogurt. It’s just so easy and fast to throw together…and it is sooooo yummy. But I wasn’t all that convinced that making homemade ice cream was worth the trouble. I made it a few times, but the recipe I was using (which came from a reputable ice cream source, by the way) left something to be desired…there was a bit of a greasy after-feel and, I don’t know, it was just good, not great.

I decided last week to give homemade ice cream another try. I searched for recipes on the Internet, didn’t really find one that pulled me in, and then I remembered my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook sitting on the shelf. I felt confident that they would have a good ice cream recipe and decided I would use it, even before reviewing it.

Up until the moment we ate the stuff I was still wondering if it was worth the work. Making the ice cream takes time and planning. As I stood at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring, I just wasn’t so sure it would be worth it.

And then. THEN. We ate the ice cream. It was totally worth it. This recipe kicks you-know-what. Flavor? Fantastic. Texture? Creamy and dreamy. Even after sitting in the freezer a few days, the ice cream never got icy. It was miraculous. I’m making it again for sure…I even bought more cream and whole milk today to make more!

Tomorrow I will share the chocolate ice cream recipe I tried, which was equally as delicious. Mmmmmmmmm…

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
From the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 quart
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s vanilla extract)
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • ½ plus 2 tablespoons (4½ ounces) sugar
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  1. Place an 8 or 9 inch metal baking pan in the freezer.
  2. If using vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out vanilla seeds. Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that steadily, just a bit, but I took it off the heat once it hit 175 degrees. PS”¦if you don’t have an instant read electronic thermometer, you should get that along with your Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.)
  3. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. (Jane note: I think I only went to about 178 degrees”¦it seems like mine got stuck there, so I got impatient and called it a day at that point.) Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10-20 minutes. Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and let cool completely, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl of custard will freeze solid.) (Jane note: I don’t think my small bowl was frozen completely solid, but it was frozen for sure.)
  4. Remove custards from fridge and freezer. Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard. Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved. (Jane note: I just realized I didn’t even read this step”¦I just mixed them together until it was pretty evenly mixed, but not dissolved, and then tossed it in the ice cream machine”¦no waiting arround.) Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice cream machine. (Jane note: again, I totally didn’t read this part of the directions”¦didn’t do the strainer! Everything was fine, but it’s probably best to strain in case you get some lumps while cooking the custard.) Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15-25 minutes. Transfer to metal pan, and press plastic wrap on surface. Freeze for 1 hour until edges are firm, then pack into a storage container with tight fitting lid and store in freezer up to 5 days. (Jane note: Cook’s Illustrated recommends freezing an additional 2 hours at this point”¦of course it’s delicious when it’s totally frozen, but it is also delicious ever step of the way! We totally ate it right when it was done churning”¦and we also ate it later after freezing. It was awesome both ways!) Can be frozen up to 5 days.


  1. 1

    Can you share how you made frozen yogurt? I have made ice cream many times but prefer the taste (and health) of yogurt but haven’t thought of making it.

  2. 3

    I saw that episode. It’s the corn syrup. And yes, those CI people love their instant read thermometers. 🙂

    • Jane Maynard

      they sure do! my scientist husband is the one who bought it, he would fit right in at that place! 🙂

  3. 4
    Natalie Adams

    Is there a certain ice cream maker you would recommend?

    • Jane Maynard

      when we got married a million years ago someone gave us a Krups maker – and the thing totally leaked it’s insides out of the bowl. it was a mess. never even used it.

      right now I have the Cuisinart ice cream maker. I’ve been happy with it and it was only $50 for the maker and two bowls. the only annoying thing is that the ice cream around the edge of the bowl freezes harder than the center – doesn’t seem to totally mix completely…which leads me to the next maker…

      I read somewhere in a customer review that the Waring maker does not do that uneven freezing thing. HOWEVEr…I feel like waring ice cream makers don’t exist! I’ve looked online on their site and don’t see them, so I think it’s a phased-out product.

      I think America’s Test kitchen recommended a Krups maker – so maybe I just got a bum one!

    • Jane Maynard

      I do love having two bowls, by the way!

  4. 5

    I am making vanilla ice cream right now in my ice cream maker. We have lunch after church with my parents tomorrow. Your post helped me decide on dessert. 🙂

    Sur la Table has Cusinart ice cream makers on sale if anyone needs one.

    I enjoy reading your blog. 🙂


  5. 6

    Jane – don’t forget that the straining isn’t only to remove the vanilla beans (which I never have around anyway), but to remove any tiny cooked egg chunks.

    My mom’s CI cookbook that’s a few years older than mine has this recipe in it, but also another one that I always use. It’s close to the same, but without the corn syrup and only 4 egg yolks. Anyway, it has you strain the mixture as soon as you take it off the heat, and I always get a few tiny chunks in the strainer, no matter how well I think I’ve whisked the eggs and tempered them. 🙂

    Off to try your orange creamsicles now!

    • Jane Maynard

      what, you don’t like scrambled egg ice cream, kjristi? 😉 will make a note in the recipe – that is a good point! 🙂

  6. 7

    As with the chocolate version, does this make approx. 1 Quart or do they eggs cause it to produce a bit more volume?

    Thanks for replying to older recipes!

    • you’re welcome! 🙂

      so, this recipe also says it makes about 1 quart. I think the amount of chocolate in the chocolate recipe means the two recipes yield appx the same amount, even though there is a bit more eggs, milk and cream in this recipe.

      thanks again for asking – updated the recipe card with the yield! 🙂

  7. 8
    Janet Annis

    I made this today and loved it! I decided to put it through the strainer before I put it into the small and large bowls instead of after it had chilled. I’m glad I did since there was a little bit of cooked egg in it! It was so yummy!

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