Monday, 27 April 2015

Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream (Vegan)

I'm the mom at playgroup who won't let my kid have biscuits, and brings fruit instead. Other parents sort-of roll their eyes, and go, 'yeah, I used to be like that, with my first'. Point taken, I am an uptight, health-nut, first-time mom, but I hope I don't ever get to the point where I don't at least try to provide a healthier option most of the time. That said, while I don't feel bad about 'depriving' my kid of junk food, I do believe in treats. I believe in dessert. I believe in cake, and pie, and ice-cream. Sometimes we just have to wait until we get home to have it.  

Although relatively-healthy vegan ice cream is easy to come by these days (I counted 5 different kinds at Waitrose this weekend, not counting sorbet), I still like to make it at home. It's so easy - only 5 ingredients in my simplified version. Sometimes I don't mind being precise with measurements, but other times I just want to use a packet of this, a bit of that - this recipe definitely falls into the latter category.

You will, however, need a blender and an ice cream maker. I'm very dubious about recipes for ice cream that don't require a normal ice cream maker - I once killed a food processor with frozen bananas. Anyway...

You'll need:
Half a packet of firm silken tofu. The Blue Dragon brand (from any major UK supermarket) packet size is 349 grams, so roughly 175 grams.
A whole packet of coconut cream. Again, Blue Dragon is readily available. The packet size is 250 grams.
1/4 cup non-dairy milk. Non-dairy cream works a treat too if you happen to have some open. A little more or less is fine - mostly this is to get it moving in my blender.
Scant 1/4 cup liquid alternative sweetener. I like Sweet Freedom or Agave for this because they are quite intensely sweet and have a more neutral flavor than, say, maple syrup. But any should do. Brown rice syrup is a little less sweet, so bear that in mind.
A teaspoon to a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Depending on how you like it. Just eyeball it. If you have real vanilla on hand, use it! Those little telltale flecks...

You should store your ingredients in the fridge overnight, and make sure your ice cream maker is frozen ahead of time. In the summer months, I just leave my ice cream maker bowl in the freezer full time (and usually some coconut cream and silken tofu in the fridge) so I can make this on a whim. To make, you just blend all the cold ingredients until very smooth, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the instructions for your machine. Simple! Straight from the machine, it's like a soft-serve, but it hardens up a lot in the freezer. Of course, you can do any sort of add-in or topping you like.

Add-ins or Toppings!
Brownie or cookie pieces. For grown-ups, I might do Oreo chunks (yes, they're vegan). 
Chocolate syrup (Sweet Freedom make a good one, but swirl it in AFTER the ice cream is made.)
Fruit, especially berries.
Walnuts or Pecans

We like it plain with strawberries around here.

This was her first bowl of ice-cream, because I'm not so mean after all. I was all poised to catch the brain-freeze, but it didn't happen!

Also, couldn't help but think how much our health visitor would like this recipe; she advised me to make sure that F. gets plenty of fat in her diet - here's a whole load, with protein to boot!

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*FYI, this recipe appeared on the first version of this blog last summer, but it was worth reposting here at our new place!

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