Tahitian Vanilla Bean Star Cookies and Eggnog Ice Cream

You probably all don’t know this, but I just got back from vacation. :P And on this vacation I bought vanilla beans. A lot of vanilla beans. Although most of the beans I bought came from Taha’a, French Polynesia, I also bought some in Vava’u, Tonga.

The quality of the Tongan beans doesn’t compare to the Tahitian ones and my Polynesian friends scoffed when I showed them my purchase. Visually  I knew the quality wasn’t there, but they smelled like vanilla and the price was right–10 beans for $5. I figured I could use them when vanilla isn’t the star of a recipe or maybe to make vanilla sugar.

Last Saturday, I invited my intrepid pastry sous-chef Diego over to help me get back into the post-vacation baking swing of things. When I asked him what he wanted to bake, he told me ice cream. Okay, not really baking–but I heart ice cream so all is good. We flipped through The Perfect Scoop looking for a recipe I hadn’t made and had all the ingredients. We came upon Eggnog Ice Cream. Not only did it meet my criteria, it was also seasonally appropriate. Score!

{I realize Diego is holding a duster and not a whisk in the above picture, but he also likes to clean in addition to baking.}

The original  recipe calls for vanilla extract, but I decided to test out my Tongan beans and used two of them instead. The ice cream is wonderful. Not only is it perfectly creamy, it packs a punch of flavor with the perfect combination of vanilla, nutmeg, and booze. Oh, yes–not only do I heart ice cream, I heart boozy ice cream most of all {see: Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Tiramisù Ice Cream, Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream}.

You can find the recipe for Eggnog Ice Cream HERE. Note: To sub the vanilla beans, I scraped the seeds into the sugar and rubbed them with my fingers until the sugar was moist and fragnant. I then added the milk and 1/2 the cream into a medium saucepan with the sugar and vanilla seeds and pods. Once heated, I let it seep for 30 minutes and then proceeded with recipe as written.

I paired the ice cream with a cookie in which vanilla beans are the star (ha ha) of the show: Tahitian Vanilla Bean Star Cookies. The recipe comes from the Sunset Magazine 2009 Holiday Cookbook special issue and doesn’t specify what type of bean, so use what ever type you have on hand.

The cookies are simple butter cookies with the ingenious addition of a vanilla bean. No need to refrigerate before rolling and cutting, so if you are a speedy baker you can have cookies in less than an hour. {I am not a speedy baker}. I may change the name of these cookies to Tahitian Vanilla Bean Bliss Bites. These are now my go to roll and cut sugar/butter cookies. YUM.

You can find the recipe for Vanilla-bean Cookies HERE. {Note: I also used the scrape seeds directly into sugar and rub method here. I find this a better method for mixing the seeds into the sugar.}

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21 thoughts on “Tahitian Vanilla Bean Star Cookies and Eggnog Ice Cream

  1. Welcome back! I don’t know how I lived before Perfect Scoop. I made the egg nog ice cream for Thanksgiving and it was fabulous. Can’t wait to try the sugar cookie recipe.

  2. How fun that you had your pastry chef back! Both the cookies and ice cream look fantastic. I enjoy a glass of eggnog or two around the holiday season, I’m sure that it’s even better in ice cream form.

  3. Diego is so cute! Egg nog (preferably with booze) and butter cookies are so delicious together, and I’m sure egg nog ice cream would be even better than a glass of nog!

    I’m trying to convince my husband that we need to go to Tahiti so that I can save money on buying vanilla beans.

  4. I’ve seen this recipe for eggnog ice cream on a few blogs recently and it always looks wonderful, especially here with the seeds from the vanilla beans! I need to find time to make it before the holidays are over. Love the cookies too – the perfect pairing for the ice cream!

  5. What a great deal on the vanilla beans, even if they aren’t the best ones ever.
    Those cookies look amazing. and the ice cream does too. I love the vanilla bean specks in both. so lovely!

  6. Hey! I’m finally catching up on some blog reading and everything looks fab over here. I love that pic of Diego with the feather duster. So cute! All of your vacation pictures were wonderful, too. Thanks for sharing them!

  7. Yum. I just got The Perfect Scoop for Christmas; trying to decide what to make first. I added vanilla bean to my TWD Sablés. Same technique–rubbed the seeds into the granulated sugar in the recipe. Really good.

  8. He’s going to make some lucky lady a fine husband some day! :)

    Both the ice cream and cookie look terrific. I’m thinking it’s not to late for the eggnog ice cream.
    ~ingrid

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