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Funny how food can alter our moods. Well, for me anyway. Back when Charlotte celebrated her birthday, I asked her what birthday cake or cupcakes she wished to have when her friends came over. Her reply was no to either of the two. Instead, she wanted to make their own sundaes. Sundaes? Let me remind you that she turned 13 and for the past 12 years, I have made birthday cakes and cupcakes for her birthday. One cake for each of the family celebrations we had for her. One cake, or cupcakes, for each birthday party she celebrated with her friends. Cupcakes for school where she would offer one to each child in her class plus one for each of her teachers. By my calculations, I’d say that’s roughly 24 birthday cakes and over 300 cupcakes! Not baking cake nor cupcakes for my little girl was a big deal for me. Sundaes? Fine. Sundaes. Oh, but not just any sundae! Home made Madagascar-Bourbon Vanilla Gelato. Home made hot chocolate sauce. And to top it all off, mini peanut-butter cups and chocolate M & M’s.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Gelato                                                                   from Making Artisan Gelato, by Torrance Kopfer

1 Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, 35%

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

(This style of gelato is closer to a traditional ice cream than actual gelato. The lack of egg yolks allows for the subtle nuances between the two types of vanilla to come through.)


Split the vanilla bean in half with a knife and remove the seeds, dropping them into a median-sized saucepan. Add the milk and sugar, and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 170 degrees F/77 C on a thermometer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for a 1/2 hour.

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Remove the vanilla bean pod, add the cream and vanilla extract, and stir. Pour into a clean container, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready, pour the chilled mixture into your ice-cream maker and proceed as per manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the gelato to a container with a lid and place in the freezer to fully harden before serving.




After the birthday celebration came and went, I had come across a stressful situation and had some decisions to make, which I’m not very good at by the way. One evening as I was sitting quietly, contemplating how to go about things, I went into the kitchen to forage for something that might help me along with my decision-making. Nothing in the pantry. Nada in the fridge. But when I took a peek into the freezer, I found some of this gelato which I had forgotten about. Oh, perfect! Whereas the girlies went all overload with this, I kept my vanilla gelato plain and simple. I don’t know why, but eating that gelato really did sooth my mind and help me make my decisions. Weather they were the right decisions I will never know. But it did help keep me calm that evening and I haven’t looked back since!