I considered writing a long-winded persuasive essay that exposed and dispelled the myths surrounding chocolate’s pale counterpart, vanilla, but then I realized that — vanilla rights activists aside– no one would care.
In that essay’s place, I want to briefly address this:
I cringe every time I hear the adjectives “plain” or “boring” employed to describe something that’s vanilla in flavor– ice cream, milkshakes, cupcakes, you name it. Why? Because plain isn’t a flavor and vanilla isn’t boring.
Reasons why plain isn’t a flavor:
- “plain” is not an actual descriptor; if it was, what would “plain” taste like? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
- “plain” is essentially devoid of flavor of any kind, therefore, if something is vanilla in flavor, it is NOT plain– it’s VANILLA.
- “plain” is too vague to attach any meaning to as it relates to foods; something may be underseasoned, lacking depth of flavor, or uninteresting to the palate, but it is not truly “plain.”
- plain yogurt (which has no flavor additives of any kind and is NOT to be confused with vanilla yogurt)
- plain bagels (sorry, no poppy seeds for you)
Reasons why vanilla isn’t boring:
- vanilla extract is one of the most widely use ingredients in baked goods. Try making chocolate chip cookies without vanilla extract. You’ll find that they taste quite flat.
- you can make vanilla extract with only vanilla beans and bourbon and a month of time
- vanilla beans are a natural spider repellant. This is the trump card.
With these things in mind, I set out to create a batch of homemade vanilla bean ice cream that will change the way you think of vanilla ice cream. It’s simple, easy to make, and tastes so powerfully and unmistakably vanilla that there’s no mistaking it for anything other than what it is. And if you really must, dress it up with a scoop of edible eggless cookie dough on top.
*Click here to buy Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract | $18
*Click here for a great deal on a 1/4-pound pack of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans | $18
Not Plain Jane Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup half & half
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla bean, halved length-wise
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Combine 1 cup of cream with sugar, salt, and scraped vanilla bean in a medium-sized saucepan
- Heat over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in remaining cup of cream, half & half, and pure vanilla extract
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
- Remove the vanilla bean pods before churning
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.