Coffee Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

I was never much of a coffee person until, ironically, senior year, the year that is supposed to be carefree and relaxed. Well, I’m sure it will be, once I get into college. But for now, I’m on the application grind, meaning I usually need the help of some coffee grinds to keep me energized. What’s so great about this homemade coffee ice cream is that it isn’t sickeningly sweet like the kind you’d find in the grocery store–it’s more bitter and darker. It doesn’t resemble the real thing; it is the real thing. This recipe uses whole coffee beans infused into the milk and cream.

You may be asking why on Earth I’m making ice cream when it’s 30 degrees outside (winter track started on Monday and I’m already missing sunshine, tank tops and sunscreen). The simple response is that, while there are like seventeen different foods tied for second place, ice cream is my favorite food in the entire world, and I will never not want it. I definitely encourage you to invest in an ice cream maker; if you already have a KitchenAid mixer then it’s pretty hassle-free to just buy the ice cream churner attachment, which is what I have. Although all ice cream is undeniably delicious, you’ll never know quite what it’s like to have freshly churned ice cream until you try it for yourself. It’s a whole different beast.


  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 cups whole coffee beans (decaf or regular)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coffee grinds

Place the milk, sugar, beans, salt, and half a cup of the cream in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it is very warm and maybe a little steamy, but not boiling. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about an hour.

Pour the remaining cream into a large metal bowl. Set the cream-filled bowl over another, larger bowl filled with ice. Set mesh strainer over top the bowls and set aside.

Reheat the bean and milk mixture over medium-high heat until once again very warm but not yet boiling. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks together. Pour the hot milk-bean mixture very slowly into the egg yolks, whisking constantly (you want to temper the egg yolks, but not make scrambled eggs out of them). Scrape the beans-cream-egg (yum) mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-high heat with a flat, heatproof spatula until the mixture gets thick enough to coat the back of the spatula and you can run your finger across the coating and not have it run–about 5 to 8 minutes. Be careful: don’t stop stirring and don’t let it cook too fast.

Pour the custard through the strainer and into the bowl of cream. Press on the coffee beans into the strainer to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.

Refrigerate the mixture until completely chilled-preferably overnight–and freeze according to ice cream maker’s instructions.

Happy dining!!


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