Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is really quite easy. It’s a little time consuming, yes, but along with the fabulous treat you’ll have in your freezer comes the satisfaction of knowing you made it. What’s even better than homemade ice cream? Developing your very own ice cream recipe!

The basic recipe for homemade ice cream is pretty simple, in fact, quite basic. You will need some milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar and flavoring. There are plenty of different recipes out there, but the basic recipe remains. There are some that use eggs, not just yolks, and some that use half and half or skim milk, brown sugar, white sugar, and even caster sugar. So after looking at a couple dozen different sources, I went with the basics and created my own brown sugar vanilla bean ice cream.

I’ve had some Madagascar vanilla beans in my pantry for several months now, just waiting for the right recipe to come along. I’ve always wanted to make vanilla bean ice cream, and using some brown sugar seemed utterly yummy, so why not combine the two?

The results were delicious! 

Amanda’s Notes: 

1) I’m going to make this again, only this time I will make sure to use a rubber spatula when getting the milk mixture out of the saucepan. Unfortunately, and due to the dark pan, I washed a lot of the vanilla bean seeds down the drain when I rinsed the pan. :( Didn’t even realize they were in there.

2) You can add a tablespoon of brandy or even vodka, the alcohol keeps the ice cream from getting rock hard, but you won’t notice the taste at all. I forgot to add it in this batch and had to let the ice cream sit on the counter for a bit, or toss it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before I could scoop it.

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3) This was a pretty sweet ice cream. I’m guessing you could cut the sugar total down to about 2/3 instead of 3/4 and still have fabulous flavor.

4) My recipe calls for adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract. You don’t need it because of the vanilla bean, but I LOVE vanilla, so I upped the flavor using the extract.

I’ve made several dreamy frozen treats, but some of my favorites include Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream, Cinnamon Ice Cream, and Oreo Ice Cream.

The flavor of this was a little richer than your average vanilla ice cream, due in part to the brown sugar. A light drizzle of caramel sauce was the perfect topping for this sweet treat!

Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
by Amanda Formaro  

printable version

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Split the vanilla bean down the middle with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Set aside pods and seeds.

Combine the milk and the cream in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the vanilla bean pods and the seeds, then cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar and egg yolks until well mixed, will be light a fluffy.

Remove the cover from the saucepan and return the milk mixture just to a boil. Turn off the heat and slowly drizzle about 1/4 of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Adding the milk mixture in a very slow drizzle will temper the eggs, slowly bringing them to a warmer temperature without cooking them. You can increase the drizzle to a little faster flow, still continuously whisking until all the milk mixture has been combined with the egg yolk mixture.

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Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, be sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan as your stir. Continue cooking until mixture thickens into a custard and coats the back of the spoon. A good test is to run your finger down in a line across the back of the spoon. If the line fills in, it’s not thickened enough yet. This can take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes depending on the heat of your stove.

When custard is ready, pour it through a sieve into a metal or glass bowl. Remove the pods from the strainer and set aside (to make vanilla sugar!*). Use a rubber spatula to ensure that you scrape out all the vanilla bean seeds from the saucepan.  Stir in vanilla extract.

Place bowl of custard into a larger bowl of ice water to help it cool, stirring the custard occasionally. Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Once chilled, churn the chilled custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove ice cream to a covered container and freeze until set.

*For the reserved pods, allow them to dry, then push down into a bowl or jar of white sugar and cover. Makes a lovely vanilla sugar!

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  1. cookies and cups says

    This sounds awesome…simple and delicious! We have to dust our ice cream maker off…it is usually on hiatus over the winter, but I think this is it's come-back recipe!

  2. Grumpy & HoneyB says

    I think I should definitely pull that ice cream maker out this summer! I love homemade vanilla bean ice cream!

  3. Barbara @moderncomfortfood says

    Looks sensational, Amanda. I'll soon be heading up to my NC home on an organic dairy farm, where ice cream is always on my agenda (for obvious reasons). I look forward to trying your new recipe then. Keep 'em coming!

  4. bonnie says

    Yeah, definitely time to buy that KitchenAid ice cream attachment that's been on my wish list forever– this will be the first recipe I'll try. Thanks, Amanda!

  5. Mags says

    It's finally homemade ice cream season again! I can't wait to try this. Will have to get some vanilla beans first though. Great recipe Amanda!

  6. Megan says

    I never thought to use a little booze to keep it from being frozen brich hard. Great tip and a lovely ice cream!

  7. Rich in Taiwan says

    I wanted a lighter brown sugar taste so I changed it to 1/2 c. white sugar and 1/4 c. brown sugar.The results were great! Thanks for the recipe.


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