#61 Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Don’t ask me how I managed to stumble upon the most ridiculous Yahoo Answers question about ice cream ever, but I did.

“Is eating ice cream bad for the environment”

I burst out laughing and made everyone remotely near me listen to this ridiculous question. Reading through the responses did give me a sense of hope for humanity though, since no one said, “Yes eating ice cream is bad for the environment”.

Obviously the action of eating ice cream is not somehow wiping out species of animals, but the process of manufacturing, then being shipped across country in a refrigerated plane, to be distributed at your grocery store  – yeah that could be bad for the environment.

My solution for an earth friendly version of ice cream? Make it yourself!

Let’s discuss ingredients.

Ingredients for Dryer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream : skim milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, whey, molasses, acacia gum, guar gum, ground vanilla beans, natural flavors (with vanilla extract), carob bean gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum

Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: whole milk, vanilla bean, sugar, heavy cream, and egg yolks.

1.  I feel like we shouldn’t eat things that have the letter “x” in one of the ingredients, can we make that be a rule?
2. FunFact: Do you know what “carrageenan” is? I learned this from my job working at the aquarium…it’s red algae! It helps stabilize the ice cream and what not, but really, why do we need this in our ice cream.
3. “Natural flavors”? Why are they adding natural flavors to my ice cream, to balance out the taste of all of those gums and algae?

Here’s the deal. Ice Cream doesn’t need all of this stuff in it if you’re making it from scratch, and honestly its not difficult at all. All you need is an ice cream maker, which you can find on Amazon for $49 or you can go down to Bed Bath and Beyond with your purse full of 20% off coupons and get one there, I love those coupons.

This is the ice cream machine I use

My intentions are not to scare you away from store bought ice cream, because I go out and get it myself too. I’m just showing you how making your own ice cream will yield a much more delicious and real flavor. Trust me, I love some good ole’ Haagen Dazs, (wow, am I the only one that didn’t realize that is how you spell Haagen Dazs. Guess I’m too distracted by the insides to care about the packaging) but this is better.

It was hard to resist not just grabbing this freezing bowl of ice cream and running far, far away…but I managed to share peacefully.

Honestly, this stuff was eaten so quickly that it was super difficult to get any decent pictures in. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Verdict: Best vanilla bean ice cream I’ve ever made. I think what took it to the next level of creaminess was adding that extra egg yolk. So glad I did. Last time I made ice cream, that little bit that was left over would taste icy from being in the freezer over night. This one holds up very nicely the next day (no guarantees there will be any left), just like a store bought one, minus all the algae ;).

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

A deliciously simple vanilla bean ice cream. This stuff is super rich so don't be turned off by the recipe only making 1 quart.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Salt


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the milk, salt and sugar until it is hot. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan, then add the pod in as well. Cover and remove from heat; let steep for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Set up an ice bath by placing a large bowl inside another larger bowl that is partially filled with ice water. Place a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the heavy cream into the bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk infused with vanilla and gradually pour about a cup of milk into the yolks, to heat the yolks up to the same temperature as the milk. Whisk constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan with the rest of the mixture.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scrapping the botom of the heat resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
  5. Strain the custard through the strainer placed over the heavy cream. Stir together over the ice until cool. Add in the vanilla extract, then place in refrigerator to chill completely, aprox 30 mins.
  6. Remove the vanilla bean pod, and pour the custard into your ice cream maker. Let mix for 25 minutes, unless your mixer requires otherwise.


Adapted from David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop

Tip: Since you’re going to have a bunch of left over egg whites, I figured I would include some ideas for you to not let anything go to waste such as: Angel Food Cake, Meringue Cookies, Macaroons, Pavlova, and Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I made Meringue cookies but they didnt turn out the way that I hoped. I thought they weren’t done, when they were, and cooked them a little (a lot) too long. My plan is to crush them up and put them on ice cream/cupcakes/anything. No waste when it comes to desserts!



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5 Comment

  1. I think the only way to make this deliciousness sound better is a dollop of your #9. I need an ice cream maker stat

    1. I would have taken a picture of the caramel on top of my ice cream, but I ate it too fast! I always have a jar of that caramel sauce in my fridge

      I’m definitely pro ice cream maker. The only con is finding cabinet space!

  2. I have the same ice-cream maker at home but in Pink 🙂 I’m a bit ashamed but I’ve only used it once…but now that you’ve listed out all the other weird and probably bad for your ingredients in store bought ice-cream I’m probably gonna make more of my own ~ how long does it last in the fridge though?

    Because I never know how long home made ice-cream lasts 😀 Thanks!

    1. I’ve never really thought about how long it would last since it never stays more than 3 days in my freezer without being eaten. 🙂 When it does stick around for a few weeks, the texture of it does change and get a little icy. My suggestion is to put some plastic wrap on the surface of the ice cream in whatever container you store it in, to prevent ice crystals.

      I checked around and David Leibowitz (he wrote The Perfect Scoop) says about 2-4 months according to the FDA….but if you’re ice cream can last 2-4 months without being eaten I think we have a problem 😉

      1. Hey Madeline,
        thanks for the reply 🙂 that’s true why would it last ~ but then i’m trying to be good and not try to eat a whole tub of ice-cream all the time.

        But i should eat it all within a week hehe

        Thank you!

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