This homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is made with Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste, making it deliciously sweet, creamy, and flavourful. You can almost taste the vanilla just by catching a glimpse of the tiny flecks of vanilla bean throughout the ice cream.
My First Taste of Vanilla Bean Paste…
About two years ago I participated in an Instagram giveaway and miraculously actually won! $100 to Williams & Sonoma to be exact. I was PUMPED because I never win giveaways! I of course used my prize money to buy only the necessities: a beautiful Williams & Sonoma icing spatula, THIS gorgeous white marble tray (haha, such a necessity!), and a bottle of Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste.
I’d seen other bloggers incorporate vanilla bean paste into their baking. They’d rave about not only how amazing it tasted, but how the dessert looked even more delicious because of all those little specks of vanilla beans in it. Up until that time I’d only used liquid vanilla extract so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with pastes. And wow, was it ever worth the fuss!
Since trying that first bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste–it has completely spoiled me. Any vanilla bean extract or paste that I’ve bought since then just doesn’t compare in flavour/taste or visual appeal. I’m serious you guys, this stuff is GOLD. I truly believe that Nielsen-Massey Vanillas are the “Cadillacs of vanillas”.
Creating the Perfect Ice Cream Recipe…
As I’ve pursued my love for baking, food photography, and blogging over these past few years, I jotted down a list of my top dream brands that I would love to collaborate with one day. My dream brands are the companies that create products that I can fully support because they’re trustworthy and offer high quality ingredients that I’m proud to have in my kitchen!
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas was one of the brands I had written down on my list, simply because of how much I loved their vanilla bean pastes and extracts and how delicious my baking tastes when I use their vanilla bean products! When they reached out to me last month about working together my heart nearly burst with excitement! I couldn’t believe that one of my top dream brands was reaching out to little ole’ ME and wanting to work with ME. 😀 Clearly I’m still not over it and probably never will be.
So, in exchange for a bottle of their glorious Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste, I had to come up with an ice cream recipe using their vanilla bean paste and share it with all of you guys here on my blog! Sounds like a dream come true to me!
Hmm, What Flavour?
When I was brain storming about all the different ice creams that are out there and what my favourite flavours were, so many came to mind. I’ve always loved those staple ice cream flavours like cookie dough and mint chocolate chip–(and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream). * Drool * But since I was using vanilla bean paste I didn’t want to come up with a recipe that overshadowed that incredible pure vanilla flavour. I wanted the vanilla bean to be the focal point of this ice cream, as it so deserved!
With vanilla bean as the star, I then thought about the texture of ice cream that I’m drawn to, because there really are many different textures out there. I would pick a rich, creamy, and smooth ice cream any day over an ice cream that was more coarse and icy in texture. So I knew then and there that it had to be a french vanilla type of ice cream.
What Makes French Vanilla “French”?
My whole life I never really knew what differentiated a french vanilla ice cream from a vanilla ice cream. I just assumed that “french” referred to the type of vanilla it was. If you were to put those two ice creams side-by-side you’d immediately notice a colour difference. French vanilla is more of an off-white/yellow colour in comparison to just plain vanilla ice cream, because french vanilla has egg yolks in it.
I’m a huge fan of egg yolks in baking because as soon as you add it to your recipe, it becomes thicker, richer, and creamier. Which is EXACTLY how I love my ice cream! Nice and creamy. Have you ever eaten custard before? This french vanilla recipe is essentially like a delicious custard that’s been churned and frozen to chilled perfection.
So now that I had my recipe goals all figured out, I needed to find an ice cream maker. That’s right, I don’t own an ice cream maker or anything resembling an ice cream maker. In face, I’ve never made ice cream before in my life! Therefore making ice cream for the first time was quite the adventure. So, as any small-town dweller would do, I borrowed an ice cream maker from my neighbour just down the street!
Making The Homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Get to know your ice cream maker…
First things first, if you’re using an electric churning ice cream maker like I did, make sure you look over the instructions on your ice cream maker first. How much ice do you need? What about salt and how many quarts of ice cream can your ice cream maker fit? My ice cream maker had a 2-quart yield and therefore my recipe is for a 2-quart yield recipe. I don’t even know if they make ice cream makers smaller than that, but you can’t use one any smaller because as ice cream churns it expands like crazy!
Now that we have all that figured out, first we whip up our large egg yolks using a mixer, getting them nice a fluffy. To be honest, when I made this I actually used whole eggs. I, along with all of my taste-testers are still alive, so using whole eggs obviously didn’t kill or harm us. They say that using the egg whites along with the egg yolks just adds unnecessary protein and water into the mixture and the less water the better, so after much deliberation I decided to omit the egg whites from the official recipe and just leave it at egg yolks. It’s really up to you! I say that the creamier I can make the ice cream, the better! 😉
Next, we create a double-boiler on our stovetop by filling a small saucepan with an inch or so of water and simmering it at low heat. Find a medium size bowl that can sit atop the saucepan without its bottom touching the water, This is important because otherwise you could overheat your mixture. In this bowl combine your granulated sugar (I used Cane sugar), flour, salt, half & half, and of course the star of the show: Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste.
What is Vanilla Bean Paste?
For those of you who have never tried or worked with a vanilla bean paste before, let me be the one to enlighten you. Although it’s called a “paste”, it doesn’t have as thick of a texture as say, tomato paste, as I originally assumed. The consistency of this vanilla bean paste is more syrup-y and molasses-y. Not so thick that it’s tough to fully incorporate, but thick enough so that it doesn’t thin out your batters like an extract would. (Which is always a plus in my baking books!)
The flavour and visual look of this vanilla bean paste is incredible, it tastes and looks as if you took the time to scrape out the amazing vanilla bean caviar from its pod. Using this paste is as easy as pouring it straight from the bottle into your tablespoon and mixing it into your batter. No pods or scraping required!
Note: Keep in mind that this vanilla bean paste contains sugar, so whatever amount you add to your recipe, remove that same amount of sweetener/sugar that you would have added to your recipe. Ex: If I add 1 Tbsp of Vanilla Bean Paste, I’ll remove a Tbsp of sugar from the recipe.
Combining the mixture…
Keep gently stirring so that all ingredients heat up evenly. Once the mixture begins steaming, feels hot, sugar is dissolved, and has thickened a bit, gradually pour your eggs in while continually stirring. Stir and let it cook for at least 1 minute–it should smell incredible at this point!
Take this mixture and place it in the fridge to chill. I went out to dinner and came back three hours later and it was nice and cold. Pour your two cups of cream into the mixture and voila! You are ready to make some ice cream!
Get out your ice cream maker and follow its instructions. The one that I used an ice cream parlor that worked like a charm. Thankfully by plugging it in it churned all by itself and no arm-strength was required! Phew. I just needed to make sure I had 2 cups of cold water, 4-trays worth of ice cubes (I had less than this unfortunately, but it still worked perfectly), and a 26 oz box of table salt.
I do however wish I had the Ice Cream Maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer–how handy would that be?!
The deal with salt…
I’m glad I read more into the instructions about the salt because apparently, the MORE salt you use, the more icy and coarse in texture your ice cream will be. This was exactly what I didn’t want, so I only used 3/4’s of the salt that it suggested. Like I said, the creamier the vanilla bean ice cream, the better! I layered the ice cubes, salt, and water all around the can containing the mixture, and turned on the machine!
After about 30 minutes of churning the mixture got thicker and thicker and actually looked like ice cream. I was SO excited! Once it couldn’t churn no more, I turned off the machine and scraped the mixture into parchment paper-lined loaf pan and stuck it in the freezer.
The best thing about this Homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is the variety of ways to enjoy it; i’m talkin’ TOPPINGS! Then again, if you’re anything like my husband, he will eat it just plain, no toppings necessary. (Which, I don’t blame him for because the vanilla bean flavour is REAL, you guys! It’s delicious enough on its own!) But the toppings ideas are endless.
Fresh sliced strawberries would be nothing short of incredible. Frozen fruit works too, like blueberries (as shown in the photo)! Sprinkles or “Jimmies” as they call them in Philadelphia! You could chop up your favourite chocolate bar or cookies. Get some sauce on there–make a sundae, why not? My go-to ice cream topping is a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips.
Pure Ingredients Only.
Making ice cream is not as difficult as I thought it was gonna be–which explains why I’ve been putting it off my whole life. It was actually super simple, you guys! I think that the best thing about making your own homemade ice cream is the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what ingredients it contains: no preservatives, artificial flavours or colourings, or any of those weird ingredients that can’t be pronounced. That’s why I love this french vanilla bean ice cream recipe! The ingredients are pure, natural, and minimal.
The exact ingredients contained in this recipe are as follows: egg yolks, cane sugar, all-purpose flour, salt, half & half, cream, and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean paste (sugar, water, vanilla extract, vanilla beans, and gum tragacanth–which comes from the sap of a plant). That’s it!
I had such a blast with making this Homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and I’m so glad that I know how to make my very own ice cream now. It’s SO easy and tastes absolutely amazing–there’s nothing like vanilla bean, am I right?!
Do you ever make your own ice cream? If not, now’s the perfect time! Let me know in the comments below if you end up making this. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy churning! 🙂
Homemade French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1 cup Cane Sugar or granulated white sugar
- 2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 1 Tbsp Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
- 2 cups Cream
Beat eggs in mixer until fluffy.
Create a double-boiler on the stovetop by filling a small saucepan with a little over an inch of water. Simmer water over low heat. Find a medium-size bowl that can sit on top of the saucepan without touching the water.
In bowl using a wooden spoon, combine sugar, flour, salt, half & half, and vanilla bean paste. Stir continuously.
When sugar is dissolved, mixture starts to steam and thicken, gradually drizzle in eggs while continuously stirring. Keep stirring and let mixture cook for a least 1 minute.
Remove from heat and put it in the fridge to chill. Once mixture is chilled, pour mixture along with the 2 cups of cream into ice cream maker. Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker to make and freeze ice cream. Enjoy either by itself or with your favourite ice cream toppings.
Product from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas was received in exchange for this content. All text and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting Flour & Floral!