I was really excited about all of the spices sent by Debbie, but the vanilla bean was the most exciting of all. I've seen plenty of people writing about using vanilla bean, but haven't ever purchased any. After this fun adventure, I'll be changing that!
Just in case any of you had a notion that I might be a fun and exciting person, I'm here to dispel that thought. My favorite ice cream is French Vanilla. You can keep your pricy, fancy Ben & Jerry's flavors; I want the plain, boring, solid, reliable French Vanilla. Breyer's was always just fine with me.
But this is even better. Try this; you will simply adore it.
FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2" vanilla bean
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
In the microwave heat the milk until very warm. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch and sugar until thick and light colored. Slice the vanilla bean open, and scrape all the black powdery substance out of it. Lay the bark aside. Pour some of the warm milk into the yolk mixture, then scrape all of it into the milk container. Microwave again, stirring with a whisk every 15 seconds, until the mixture puffs up in your container. Whisk the 1/2 cup cold cream into the milk/egg yolk mixture, and place in the freezer about 2 hours, until it just begins to freeze around the edges. See the little black vanilla speckles in here? Yum. About 15 minutes before the milk mixture is cold, whip the remaining 1-1/2 cups of cream until it's soft, and place that in the freezer also. After 15 minutes, remove both the milk mixture and the cream, stir together with a whisk, and process according to your ice cream maker's directions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, return them to the freezer, and stir with the whisk to break up ice crystals every 30 minutes or so, until it's "soft serve" consistency.
This ice cream is creamy. It's sinfully delicious. Did I tell you that vanilla is my favorite flavor?
And having seen this suggestion many times, I stuck my vanilla bean bark in a small jar, with 3/4 cup of sugar. It smelled like vanilla after only a few hours. I'm looking forward to trying it in tea, and maybe cooking, too! Any other suggestions?