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I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet
Announcing the 2nd Santa Cruz Vanilla Festival
Friday, September 29, 2017 • Santa Cruz, CA • Come Meet the Queen!
– Learn More & Buy Tickets –
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Ice Cream, Sorbets, etc

Orange Sorbet and Creamsicles

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Can it really be possible to have summertime without frozen desserts? Anyone who fondly remembers the ice cream truck or going to an ice cream parlor and indulging in some of the amazing options, would agree that it would be a pretty boring summer without ice cream dripping down our sleeves whether it’s a simple bowl of frozen sweetness or indulging in a sundae, milkshake or popsicles.

Nectarine Sherbet

Dished Nectarine Sherbet - logo'd & framed

Nectarines have such a delightfully tangy flavor, and it wouldn’t be summer without the juice of one running down your arm – it’s always sad to see the season end. One way to prolong your enjoyment of this summer fruit is to freeze them into luscious nectarine sherbet.

*Note – Allow 2 days preparation before planning to serve. One night to freeze the freezer bowl and one night for the sherbet to ripen.

Hot Fudge

Hot Fudge

This decadent Hot Fudge recipe, from Gourmet Magazine, is everything you’d expect from this traditional favorite dessert topping. Chewy and gooey, smooth and shiny, it’ll dress up everything from your hot fudge sundae to your cakes and brownies. Perfect served hot over ice-cream or even just a chilled spoonful, straight from the jar, it’s sure to become a household favorite.

Strawberry Ice Cream

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Vanilla is still America’s favorite Ice Cream flavor, which comes as no surprise to us! According to Food & Wine magazine, to celebrate July being National Ice Cream Month, the International Dairy Foods Association conducted a survey, which found Vanilla and Chocolate to be the two top sellers, in that order. Strawberry is the top fruit flavor, so we’re pretty sure you’ll be pleased with our deliciously refreshing recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream!

Blackberry-Vanilla Sundaes

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On the California Coast, blackberry season begins when summer is already in full swing. The berries are slow to ripen as even on warm days the evenings are cool, so there aren’t evening hours to help turn the berries from red to black. When they’re finally ripe, it’s easy to forget the long wait for the reward of their sweet burst of flavors. And, the additional reward is when other summer fruits wind down, there are still blackberries into early autumn.

Peach Delight Frozen Yogurt

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Homemade frozen yogurt has become one of my passions this summer. I’ve especially enjoyed using freestone peaches and strawberries. You can use berries, nectarines, mangoes, and even poached apples or pears with most of the juices drained. Simply follow the basic recipe and adjust sweetener (use sugar if you prefer) to taste. I add a little sugar to the fruits to get the juices running; you can skip that step if the fruit is already juicy.

Vanilla Coconut Cream Ice Cream

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Just about everyone has a summertime ice cream memory. We didn’t have the Good Humor Man where we lived, but when I was eight and my brother was four we visited our Connecticut cousins and discovered the joy of the arrival of the Good Humor Man in the neighborhood and the art of begging for a popsicle or ice cream bar.

Lemon-Vanilla Granita

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One of the delightful things about granitas is that you can switch out the flavors and add herbs or spices without screwing things up. This is not baking where everything must be precise. Switch out the lemons for limes or pomegranate juice or watermelon or whatever comes up. With lemon granita you can easily add rum and have a Daquiri Granita or tequila and salt for a Margarita Granita. If you switch from lemons, to limes, add lots of mint to the lime zest/sugar syrup, remove it before freezing, add a little rum and, voila, you have Mojita Granita. Don’t add more than 2 – 3 tablespoons of alcohol to the granita mixture as it might not fully freeze, but you can serve the granita in glasses and pour a little more rum over the top.

Plum-Vanilla Sorbet

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My all-time favorite plums are Santa Rosa plums, created by none other than the famous Luther Burbank, who lived in the Santa Rosa Valley at the turn of the twentieth century. The flesh is yellow and red, super juicy and sweet, and the skins are tart purple. They have a heavenly flavor whether you eat, cook or bake with them. I planted a Santa Rosa plum at my home and have missed both the plum and the Blenheim apricot tree since moving.

Frozen Custard with Chocolate, Mexican Cinnamon, and Chile

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Helado de chocolate mexicano
From Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition, by Chef  David Sterling

David says, “When I eat this memorable and rich ice cream, I am always reminded of what the Mayas must have experienced when they were spiritually transported by chocolate. Since there are no recipes for chocolate desserts in regional cookbooks, I based my formula for this ice cream on what we know of the Maya and, later, Aztec recipes for the chocolate beverage

Tin Roof Ice Cream

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 My grandsons were asking my daughter for stories about her childhood and she told them about the box freezer her grandparents kept in their basement filled with ice cream. Wide eyed, they wanted to know what her favorite flavor was. She told them Tin Roof Sundae. Despite it’s popular surge in the early 80’s, Tin Roof Sundae has since declined both in popularity and availability, but when the boys heard it was made with peanuts, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream they knew they had to try it.

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

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Who doesn’t love the divine, inimitable flavor of pure vanilla ice cream? While it goes with everything – pies, cakes, tarts, cobblers and more – it’s perfect just by itself or with so many other possibilities such as a lovely caramel or fudge sauce. Yummm!

Unfortunately, finding pure vanilla ice cream in the marketplace is a big challenge. Ever since the beginning of the 21st century there have been high-end pure vanilla substitutes called Natural Flavors. These substitutes are made with vanillin from plant sources other than vanilla beans. While they may  smell and taste a lot like pure vanilla, natural vanillin, found in many plants besides vanilla, only contains part of the flavor profile of pure vanilla. So while they are a reasonable substitute, if you want to make certain that the vanilla ice cream you eat is made with pure vanilla and has all the amazing flavor notes contained in pure vanilla, purchase small-batch, artisan vanilla ice cream. Or, make your own.

I Scream Sandwiches

I Scream Sandwiches by Jennie Schacht (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; May, 2013)

Nothing screams SUMMER! louder to any kid than the ice cream truck bell or a trip to an ice cream shop.  For kids lucky enough to have a mom who makes homemade ice cream, it’s summer heaven, but even a dive into a store freezer for an ice cream sandwich will do in a pinch. You may remember, however, that unless you score an “It’s It,” most ice cream sandwiches have soggy cookies and artificially flavored ice cream.  We tolerated them — and kids still do — because they are cold and sweet.

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream on Brown Butter Blondies

 From I Scream Sandwiches by Jennie Schacht

Jennie says: With rich caramel echoed at every level, this one is all about extravagance. You could use store-bought dulce de leche to flavor the ice cream or make it using sweetened condensed milk, but making it yourself from fresh milk, while it takes a bit of patience, is easy and fun and immensely more complex and flavorful.

A Knock-Out Vanilla-Bean Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe!

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Fresh off the press, Jennie Schacht’s latest book, I Scream Sandwich is out in time for summer. Here’s what she says about the following recipe:

The It’s-It company began selling scoops of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, all cloaked in chocolate, at San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach in 1928. By the time I moved to the area in 1978, the It’s-It was a well-established local phenomenon. I’ve filled my version of the novelty with a not-overly-sweet vanilla frozen custard.

Things To Do With Vanilla Ice Cream

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Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

This is a selection from Alice’s book that directs readers to different recipes she has in the book. You will need to read the book for the recipes that are highlighted, but this will give you good ideas for adorning vanilla — or other– ice creams. First, how about a recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream?  And if you’re not up for making your own, buy the best quality vanilla ice cream you can afford as many don’t actually contain pure vanilla extract!

Why do our customers love Rain's Choice vanilla?

  • You get MORE FLAVOR because we use 20% more beans in our extracts than is required by law!
  • 99% of all vanilla products are imitation. Ours are 100% PURE!
  • We carefully choose all products to assure best QUALITY & FLAVOR!
  • Our farmers are paid a FAIR PRICE.
  • Our vanilla beans are SUSTAINABLY grown.
  • Everything we sell is ORGANICALLY grown.
  • Your purchase here supports our HUMANITARIAN efforts.

Thank you for supporting The Vanilla Company and our farmers! BUY HERE now.

For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see "Why is Vanilla so Expensive?"

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