Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: Ample Hill's Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  “Vanilla Bean” from Ample Hill's Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn's Favorite Ice Cream Shop by Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna.

  • The online recipe for the base can be found here (for those who don't use metric measurements: here).
  • My other vanilla ice cream reviews can be found here.

This was an unusual recipe in that it directs you to steep a few whole coffee beans in the custard, which you strain out just before churning.  It uses only 3 eggs for one recipe, and I found that the custard didn't thicken very much when I cooked it (the recipe has you take it to 165 and ignores the texture).  It also includes a LOT of skim milk powder (1/2 cup!) and it took a lot of whisking to get it fully dissolved.  The coffee beans float which made it very easy to locate them and pull them out the next day.

I used a Madagascar vanilla bean from Vanilla Bean Kings and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract (which I'm trying to use up). 

I really like this recipe. It is nice and smooth and has a lovely flavor. The recipe says you can't taste the coffee, but I totally could. It's obvious in the soft-serve stage, and still faintly detectible once fully frozen.  As much as I love coffee ice cream, I don't think I'd include the coffee beans again - it limits how the finished ice cream can be used, and I found myself searching for the coffee and wishing it were stronger.

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • The recipe in the book calls for 1 vanilla bean and 1.5 tsp of vanilla extract so that's what I did.
  • Turbinado sugar (always).
  • No-temper technique in a double boiler: I put the egg yolks and sugar in the top chamber of the double boiler and whisked them until well integrated. I added all the rest of the ingredients (except for the extract) and turned on the heat. I whisked constantly until the milk powder dissolved, then frequently after that.


  • Same day: Coffee flavor was definitely detectible. Delicious and smooth.
  • Next day:  Coffee was much less obvious in the fully-frozen ice cream. Still smooth and reasonably scoopable (though I wish it were more so).


  • I used 1.25 cups of homemade chocolate chips and also layered in caramel sauce.  I'd intended to make a vanilla-lemon ice cream but I didn't think the coffee flavor would go with lemon very well.
  • I think if the coffee is included, I'd lean toward combining the ice cream with stronger, bolder flavors that don't lean sour.  So chocolate is good, and fruit other than citrus.  Caramels, hot fudge, etc.

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