Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mint Chip Ice "Cream"

Now that we are mostly dairy free, processed foods free, and refined sugar free, I tend to make my own ice cream, or something similar to ice cream that is just as good. I have been experimenting with different milks, some cooked bases with eggs, other uncooked bases with different dairy free milks, and I have stumbled upon many other blog posts about non-dairy ice cream. I read in one blog that they thought a mixture of almond milk and coconut milk resulted in an ice milk that would not freeze into a solid block. So, I tried this, and I can honestly say, it doesn't freeze into a solid block. This is my first time making it that it hasn't. However, this recipe in its original form is not 100% dairy free, so maybe that had something to do with it. I want to try it again, or at least use the base ingredients again, with no dairy and see how it freezes.

Anyway, here is the recipe, and I truly believe that right out of the ice cream maker (Cuisinart ICE-21 at our house - 1 1/2 quart), it tastes and looks exactly like store bought, full of fat and bad sugars, mint chip ice cream. After it froze in the freezer, it was a little less sweet, but was still pretty good.

Mint Chip Ice Cream with Dairy Free Option
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (Silk original for us)
  • 1 can of organic full fat coconut milk (we use Thai Kitchen Organic, about 13.66oz)
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced (you may be able to use room temp. banana, but I don't know what the results will be)
  • 3/4 cup organic heavy cream (we used Horizon Organic) *omit and replace with an extra frozen banana for the dairy free option. We have not tried this yet, so I would love to know how it turns out for you.
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp mint extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey (omit and use all agave if you will feed this to any children under 1 year old)
  • 2 Tbsp organic raw blue agave nectar *(or your favorite sweetener. I hope to try it with stevia drops. I do not recommend stevia powder for anything as it uses maltodextrin which has the highest glycemic index- 150- of all sugars)
  • 10 drops of green food coloring optional (you could also try using spinach to color. I have read you can't even taste it, but my blender doesn't pulverize the spinach, so I am left with flakes that would be less than appetizing in ice cream)
  • 3/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips (We use Enjoy Life)
Add everything to the blender and blend until smooth. This should thinly coat the back of a spoon. From here, if it is sweet enough for your tastes, Place it in the ice cream maker. If you do not have an ice cream maker, move on  to the next step and place it all in a covered freezer safe container (preferably BPA free). I can't say for sure, but I believe this should be frozen over night or at least six hours without an ice cream maker. While the ice cream maker is running, melt the chocolate chips in either a double boiler or follow the instructions for melting in the microwave. Melt them until they are pourable. In the last minute or so the ice cream maker is running, pour in the chocolate. It will freeze almost immediately. I just used my spoon to shove it down into the ice cream maker and it made chunks and small chips. Another easy option is melt the chips in advance, pour them into a parchment lined 8x8 pan, and place the pan in the freezer. When the chocolate is frozen, pull it out of the pan with the parchment paper, place it in a gallon freezer bag and smash it into chunks and throw them in with the ice cream in the last 5 minutes (or mix them in with the liquid if you do not have an ice cream maker).

This makes 6 cups of liquid. It didn't all fit in my 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker. I strongly recommend against over-filling your ice cream maker because the ice cream will not freeze well. I may be saying this from experience. ;o) This ice cream is truly best straight from the ice cream maker. It was not rock solid when had frozen in the freezer, but it did require a 30 second thaw in the microwave (another reason bpa free is best).

My husband loved it, and it is even a contender in the running for which homemade ice creams I will be making for Liam's first birthday. :) It is now only 5 months away! hehe.

Do you have any experiences with dairy free ice creams? How do you get them creamy without dairy? What sweeteners do you use?

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