It is no secret to those who know me that I have a very large sweet tooth. And I’m not the kind of person who, when struck with a craving, is satisfied by, say, some fruit dipped in a teaspoon of melted chocolate. I like good, hearty desserts. For this reason, I try to limit my cravings as much as possible. I have also tried numerous times to bake my favorite recipes with healthier substitutions but, to be perfectly honest, the concoctions always end up tasting like cardboard (please, readers, if you have any tips in this department I seriously need your help!). But this week was was just one of those times where I needed a good old-fashioned sweet pick-me-up.
This week I started the Fall semester of my graduate program in Education. As is the way things typically go in my world, I was 30 minutes late to my first class. How was I to know that in Chicago-land you’re actually supposed to double, sometimes triple, the MapQuest estimated “time to destination” in order to actually get an accurate idea of how long it will take to get anywhere in this traffic?! I also apparently did not get the memo that it is the universal time of ROAD CONSTRUCTION around the city. I must have encountered about 10 orange “Work Zone” signs throughout the journey, immediately eliciting cursing and steering wheel pounding.
I had also happened to miss the “mandatory” information session held the previous week (pretty difficult to attend when you’re not even in the state yet!), so I was pretty much flying blind when I walked into the first class. It turned out I had missed A LOT. My to-do list increased by about half within the first ten minutes of class.
I decided before I even got home that I all I really needed in life to prevent a nervous breakdown was some delicious Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream.
The process of making ice cream is very methodical, so it turned out to be exactly what I needed to calm my nerves. The Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker attachment for the stand mixer is like a dream come true; I have used it many times to make some absolutely delicious frozen treats. And the instruction manual that comes with the attachment actually has some of the best recipes! The French Vanilla recipe on page 13 is my absolute favorite; it comes out creamy and delicious every time. Here is the recipe as it appears in the manual:
French Vanilla Ice Cream
- 2 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside. Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add half-and-half; mix until blended. Return half-and-half mixture to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least
Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher, and drive-body interface as directed in attachment instructions. Turn to STIR Speed (Speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR (Speed 1) for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes, or freeze in
an airtight container.
Yield: 16 servings (1⁄2 cup per serving). Per Serving: About 260 cal, 3 g pro, 16 g carb, 20 g total fat, 12 g sat fat, 165 mg chol, 50 mg sod.
I know to some of you this recipe reads like instant death. But, let me tell you, every single calorie is worth it. This is, hands down, better than any store-bought vanilla ice cream you will find. If you do decide to make this recipe at home, just a few tips from me to you:
- I have been known to half this recipe, and it still turns out great. I simply eliminate the temptation of eating 8 cups of ice cream all by myself.
- Instead of the “very gradual” method it describes to add the half and half to the egg mixture, I typically add about 1/4 of the half and half mixture to the eggs and mix well. Then, I add another 1/4, mix well and pour this new mixture back into the remaining half and half. I find that this tempers the eggs more effectively.
- It is very hard for me to tell when the half and half mixture is “steamy,” as the recipe calls for, so I pay more attention to the bubbles around the sides of the saucepan. Basically, when it feels like the mixture is hot when you hold your hand above it, it is done.
- The chilling time is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for this recipe when made in the Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker. I let mine chill in the refrigerator overnight, almost 24 hours before putting it into the freeze bowl. In order to get the right consistency in the ice cream, make sure that the mixture is very cold before you start to mix it in the freeze bowl. Also, I DO NOT recommend putting the mixture into the freezer to speed up the chilling process. This prematurely causes ice crystals to form in the mixture, which will also negatively affect the consistency.
If you are looking for a way to add some health benefits to this recipe, I highly recommend trying it with this Three-Berry Cobbler recipe from Williams-Sonoma. The recipe is made with all fresh fruit and raspberry jam instead of adding more processed sugar, and the topping is made with less butter than most recipes, low-fat buttermilk, and whole-wheat flower. The combination of the cobbler and the ice cream is simply delicious!