3-Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—-the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—-to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:43-48, The Message

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

It’s been one of those weeks. Rich blessings, steady work, hand pies with my old roommates Wednesday night—but with a few mean-spirited people thrown in, too. Most mornings, you know what I’m fighting for in my heart? The ability to stop focusing on, and sinking into discouragement over, the mean-spirited people. Tim and I were talking about this yesterday—about the friends you can’t share good news with because they’ll be jealous, about the miserable people who spit out meanness because of how unhappy they are inside, about what interacting with unkindness and spite does to our own hearts (namely that seeing hatred in someone else always makes me see it in myself, and seeing that doesn’t feel good). You can eat ice cream while your heart is sorrowful, you guys. Don’t let anybody tell you different.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

One of the most shocking things about Jesus when He was on earth was that He preached a message of being kind to your enemies. I read that quote above, from His famous “Sermon on the Mount,” as recorded in the fifth chapter of Matthew, and I think, He was and is not like anyone else. When you look at the things He taught, actually, He was always turning life upside down: Rejoice when you’re persecuted. Be glad to be small. Don’t worry about your life, even when it looks like there are things worth worrying about. Everything He teaches feels counterintuitive to my nature. When someone hates you for no good reason, love him anyway. Forgive him. Pray for him. Trust me. It all sounds well and good until I ask you a question and you freeze me out, or I tell you I love you and you say, So what? I don’t want to be mistreated. I don’t want to be hurt. But He was.

While Tim and I were falling asleep last night, curled up facing each other in our double bed, I whispered to Him, “I’m thankful we can trust what He’s doing, even when we’re disappointed.” He nodded his head. “And I’m thankful for a place to sleep tonight and for you to talk to.” He smiled the way that crinkles his eyes and makes me want to pinch his cheeks. Right there in the literal darkness, we did battle with the metaphorical darkness hovering over us the last few days. I am thankful to be in Nashville, to have a full fridge of food, to have steady work, to have the comfort of His Word. I am thankful He’s at work in what looks like disappointment. I am thankful He hears our prayers. I am thankful for dinner tonight. I am thankful for that vanilla ice cream and for how it tastes so good. As we spoke the gratitude, the feelings followed. As we fought to see Him, He assured us He is here.

3-Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream

Serving Size: One quart

The first time Tim made this ice cream (way back in March!), I called it my favorite vanilla of all time. I stand by that today. It’s so simple. It takes three ingredients and lets them shine. Of course, as is the case with three-ingredient recipes, the quality of ingredients matters to the results:

We used raw goat’s milk—raw cow’s milk would be the next best thing, followed by pasteurized whole milk, and then perhaps coconut milk. Whatever milk you choose, you want an option with high fat content; that helps warrant the lack of cream in the recipe.

As far as vanilla beans, I know they’re expensive; we’ve started ordering them online in bulk. And the maple syrup is Grade B organic (which I hear is getting a name change soon!). For more on maple syrup in ice cream, see this post.


  • 21/2 cups raw goat’s milk
  • 4 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup maple syrup


Put ½ cup milk into a Vitamix or other high speed blender. Scrape four vanilla beans into the milk. Add 1 cup of maple syrup.

Blend on high until thoroughly incorporated.

Add enough additional milk (about 2 cups) to make a total of four cups of mixture. Process in one-quart ice cream maker.


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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

24 thoughts on “3-Ingredient Vanilla Ice Cream”

    • Thanks, Alex, it’s always fun to hear from you guys. We like the way you demonstrate a gracious, generous spirit on and offline.

  1. I had a long relationship with someone who just could not be happy for me, no matter what it was. Any time I would share good news, this person would immediately follow with a negative comment or found a way to “one-up” my good news by making the conversation about her. Eventually, I realized that this was toxic and I had to leave. It was difficult, broke my heart, really, but this person was constantly bringing me down. I focused on keeping close and fostering those relationships with those people who were truly happy to be around me and for me, and vice-verse. I’m truly grateful for each one of them.

    About the ice cream – I have never tried goat’s milk ice cream but would love to. I can see where the tang would be a lovely addition to ice cream. And honestly, how happy does it make you to see vanilla bean flecks in that pure white cream? I know it makes me very happy! It is the simple things, right?

    • Heather, Yes! Flecks of vanilla beans are such a beautiful feature in ice cream, and I love hearing someone else love them, too! And I know what you mean about toxic relationships, as well. A conversation Tim and I have often is the one about loving yet still setting boundaries. That’s hard to navigate. I will say this, though: Most of the people who can’t be happy for other people are, deep down, struggling with unhappiness deep inside themselves. They want to be loved, like we all want to be loved, but some brokenness is sabotaging their own efforts towards it. It’s super easy for me to see in other people, harder to see in myself, but it’s in both places, I am sad to say.

  2. Whatever you are going through right now, I am happy to hear that you feel God’s presence. It’s such a comfort in times of sadness to know that the Lord who rules over everything is here with us and hears our prayers.

    • Indeed. Thanks, M. It seems this life is always smashing the hard and the sweet up next to each other, but there is a constant—He is the constant—and the only real comfort worth holding on to. I see His beauty in the sadness and the painful, too, but it’s a moment-by-moment fight to release my grip on what I want to control, over and over again.

  3. This is so beautiful and hard-hitting at the same time. Just this morning I thought about how when my heart and mind feel shrunken and emotionally dehydrated, it’s so hard to give living water–grace, love, and kindness–to others.

    Also, we NEED to order vanilla beans. What am I doing with un-beaned ice cream???

    • YES. Tim said something like that, too. We are limited, and we don’t have inexhaustible grace inside us, and when I feel that lack and dehydration, it reminds me of the thing I like to forget: I NEED HIM. I need Him even when I don’t feel like I need Him, but He is gracious to use pain to show me what was true all along. I really do need Him. Also, PS, vanilla beans! Aren’t they the best?

  4. “Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle”. And I see it, even now, in this post. Love to you in whatever you are in the middle of right now. Will whisper prayers for you tonight as we go to bed.

  5. “Rejoice when you’re persecuted. Be glad to be small.”

    Definitely needed to hear that today. When I catch myself sinking into worry or complaining about negative people in my life, I say a little thank you prayer that I was able to catch myself and then I try to see life from the other person’s perspective and what their good qualities are. And if that doesn’t work, I stop and find gratitude in a season of sadness and anxiety because it reminds me of more joyful times or moments when my mind was at ease. Wishing you the latter soon!

    • Kelly, I need to hear it all the time, too. I’m finding though that when you start giving thanks right in that moment of difficulty or frustration, it’s like something actually changes. That hard moment becomes a different kind of gift. Such a wonderful mystery.

  6. Shanna, this is so incredibly beautiful to me right now! I’ve just read Anything by Jennie Allen, and she’s written, so similarly inspiring as you, about real deepness in our relationships with each other and especially our letting go of ourselves with God. I’m so encouraged to look towards simple thank-giving for Something (from that Only Some-One). Especially as it’s hard and true.

  7. This makes me think of the ice cream in plastic bags we used to make with the kids at summer camp. I think it was basically just milk sugar and vanilla, but on a hot summer day it was perfect and it would occupy the kids for a good half hour!

  8. Raw goat milk ice cream… I think Tim and I must float on the same dream wave length. Obviously I’m going to be making this. <3

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