Patriotic Recipes for Memorial Day and 4th of July

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – With a Patriotic Twist

I don’t want to lock myself into anything here, but: Oh. My. Goodness.  I may never buy store bought ice cream again.  My handsome husband bought me my first ever ice cream maker for Mother’s Day and I am in love. I have never tasted better ice cream, and I can’t wait to experiment with m new favorite appliance and make all kinds of new flavors.

The flavor of this ice cream is AMAZING, as it should be, since I simmered a split open vanilla bean in the milk for half an hour.  So yummy.  So, so yummy.

Vanilla beans can get expensive, but Trader Joe’s sells them for a very reasonable price, and during the holidays, Costco sells them in packs of 12, so I always stock up then.  Incidentally, Costco is also seling my new easy peasy Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for $32.99- worth every single penny, if you ask me, especially since you don’t need to mess with rock salt, etc.

I decided to make this a patriotic, 4th of July dessert by adding red and blue M&M’s the mixture at the very end.  I think it turned out super pretty and very festive.  Don’t add them till the VERY end though, because the colors will bleed and you’ll end up with purple ice cream with brown chocolate lumps in it. 🙂 This ice cream would also be delicious with peanut butter cups or butterfinger in it.  Really, almost anything.


(Makes ten 1/2 cup servings at 236 calories a piece)

3 cups half and half
1 whole vanilla bean
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar

Pour the half and half into a medium saucepan.  Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use the blunt end to scrape out the seeds.  Stir the seeds and bean pod into the half and half mixture.  Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl or mixture.  Mix on medium speed (with hand mixer or Kitchenaid mixer) for about two minutes until the mixture is thick, smooth, and pale yellow in color.

Remove the vanilla bean pod from the half and half and pour out one cup of the hot liquid.  With the mixer on low, add the cup of ht cream to the egg mixture in a slow and steady stream.  When thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Transfer to a bowl, and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard.  Chill overnight.

Place into your ice cream maker as directed.  Add M&M’s if desired, at the very end of the mixing process.  After it comes out of the ice cream maker, chill at least another 4 hours before serving.


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