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Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday, December 2, 2010 @ 01:12 PM Karen Hood

Vanilla ice cream is a favorite of Dr. Hood‘s with German chocolate cake, which was made for his birthday dinner recently. Author and cook Karen Jean Matsko Hood’s series, Hood and Matsko Family Favorites, includes a cookbook of the family’s Favorite Christmas Sweets. In this upcoming cookbook, care was taken to make sure each family member had some of their favorites incorporated, and we made sure Dr. Hood’s favorite ice cream was included.

Although vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because of the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods, it is highly valued for its flavor. A major use of vanilla is in flavoring ice cream.

Vanilla flavoring in food may be achieved by adding vanilla extract or by cooking vanilla pods in the liquid preparation. A stronger aroma is attained if the pods are split in two, exposing more of a pod’s surface area to the liquid. In this case, the pods’ seeds are mixed into the preparation. Natural vanilla gives a brown or yellow color to preparations, depending on the concentration. Good quality vanilla has a strong aromatic flavor, but food with small amounts of low quality vanilla or artificial vanilla-like flavorings are far more common, since true vanilla is much more expensive.

The following recipe for “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream” is a definite Hood family favorite!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


7    lg. egg yolks

¾   c. sugar

1    dash salt

1    vanilla bean

2    c. half-and-half

1½ c. heavy cream


  1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar and salt in large bowl; set aside.
  2. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds.
  3. Combine bean, seeds, half-and-half, and heavy cream in large saucepan; bring just to a simmer.
  4. Gradually whisk hot cream into egg yolk mixture.
  5. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon (do not boil).
  6. Strain through sieve into large bowl.
  7. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  8. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  9. Note: For even more vanilla flavor, try using 2 vanilla beans and add vanilla extract to taste.

Yields: About 1 quart.

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