Monday, March 25, 2013

Vegan Almond Milk Ice Cream, Three Recipes To Get Your Summer Started Right


As far as I’m concerned, ice cream is the perfect dessert. There’s nothing more relaxing and comforting after a hectic 


day with kids and work than a little hillock of lush and frosty ice cream sitting in a bowl. But lately my cholesterol has been creeping a little higher, making my nightly indulgence unsustainable. So after some months eating mostly store-bought sherbet and frozen yogurt, I decided to try something new — almond milk ice cream — and I’m so glad I did.
Now no one would ever proclaim me a vegan — after all, I have far too many recipes onBay Area Bites that use pork shoulder as a main ingredient — but I do love the idea of cutting cholesterol and fat from my diet. So, noticing refrigerated almond milk at Trader Joe’s, I started to wonder how it would fare as an ice-cream base. The container claimed it was “rich and creamy” and I also saw it was free of cholesterol and saturated fat. So far so good, but would it taste like ice cream? As someone who’s never really liked soy ice cream — it has too much of an aftertaste for me — I was skeptical but ready to give almond milk a try.

I made three types of ice cream and, no surprise to many vegans out there but sort of a surprise to me, they were all amazingly good, exceeding my expectations on every level. My ten-year old daughter Maddie even exclaimed about the chocolate version “This is better than store-bought ice cream! It’s my favorite!” I have to agree. My three flavors were almond, strawberry and chocolate (recipes below). All are vegan. The first two were delightful but the chocolate was really special, and all are cholesterol and fat free. But don’t make these because they’re healthy for you; make them because they are creamy and luscious. Basically they are everything that ice cream should be, minus the artery clogging component.
Recipe: Rich Chocolate and Banana Almond Milk Ice Cream
Summary: Not to toot my own horn, but this ice cream rocks. I know I’m not supposed to say that. It’s unbecoming to boast that something you made is fantastic. But this ice cream inspired two pitilessly honest ten-year old girls to run around the kitchen yelling “It’s so good!” over and over. So I am breaking protocol and telling you that regardless of your thoughts about vegan recipes or almond milk, anyone who likes chocolate ice cream should make this. Really.
By Denise Santoro Lincoln
chocolate ice cream cone
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chocolate cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Instructions

  1. In a microwaveable bowl or cup whisk 1/2 cup almond milk with the chocolate cocoa and sugar until fully incorporated. Microwave for 40 seconds and then stir.
  2. Place bananas plus the remainder of the almond milk into a blender along with the cocoa mixture and puree for about 10 seconds.
  3. Place mixture in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.
  4. Serve right away or store in the freezer for later use or to firm up a bit more if desired.
Recipe: Triple Almond Vegan Ice Cream
Summary: This one is a true winner. With almond milk, almond butter and chopped almonds, it has a burst of — yes, you guessed it — almond flavor. But unlike other almond ice creams, it tastes like real nuts and not some extract or artificial flavor that was added. This is the real almond deal. I’m actually hesitant to tell you that it is also sugar free, because hearing that ice cream is vegan, gluten-free and sugar free makes it sound like it will taste like paste, but with a banana and almond milk mixed in it had a natural sweetness that was perfect. Plus with all this talk lately that sugar is toxic it might make the recipe actually sound more alluring to some.
triple almond ice cream
Prep time: 5 min 
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp almond liqueur (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except chopped almonds in the blender and puree for 10-15 seconds or until the mixture looks like a smoothie.
  2. Place mixture plus almonds in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.
  3. Store ice cream in a container and freeze for another 20 seconds to firm up a bit before serving
Recipe: Strawberry Almond Milk Ice Cream
Summary: My next foray into almond milk ice cream included lots of strawberries. With a velvety and smooth texture more reminiscent of sorbet than ice cream, this creation was full of a bright fruitiness as well as a hint of almond flavor. Once again using my kids as guinea pigs, I gave them each a big a helping and it was declared “really good” and both had seconds.
strawberry ice cream
Prep time: 15 min 
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice or water
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp corn starch

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 cups strawberries in a small pot with the sugar and water or juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool and then puree in a blender. You can cool the strawberries in a bowl set on top of another bowl of ice water to speed things up.
  2. Mix 1/2 cup almond milk with the corn starch and set aside.
  3. Heat the remainder of the almond milk plus the vanilla in a medium pot until simmering and then add in the corn starch infused almond milk. Stir on low heat while whisking for five minutes to thicken.
  4. Strain almond milk to remove lumps and then let mixture cool to room temperature. Mix into pureed strawberries and then set in the refrigerator until cold (about a half hour).
  5. Chop up the last 1/2 cup of strawberries and then add to the almond milk mixture. Place in your prepared ice-cream maker and let it run for 20 minutes. Place ice cream in a container until ready for use.

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