Keep reading until (or skip to, if you must) the end — there’s a surprise!
Saturday was just sort of one of those days where I had an idea for a recipe and really nothing was going to stop me from making it. First came the idea — a rather sudden, crazy idea to make a vegan eggnog ice cream. To be clear, this is not a crazy idea if you’re one of the many people in the United States who grew up loving eggnog, and who maybe wants to find a healthier (or vegan) recipe for it. But when you’re me, and you grew up hating eggnog, an eggnog ice cream is not exactly the kind of recipe you would expect to be jumping through hoops for, so to speak. But this is the sort of phenomenon that happens when you go vegan or gluten-free (or both). You can have no interest in something for the entire time that it’s allowed in your diet. Then once you’re restricted, suddenly everything carries fond memories and nostalia. I find myself saying things like “but Christmas just won’t be the same without eggnog,” when in reality, the last time I had eggnog during the holidays was probably when I was about six. And I most likely spit it out.
Having my mind set, however, I then decided that I wanted to use yacon syrup — at least in part– as a sweetener. I imagined its sweet, rich taste and syrupy texture would yield a luscious texture for the ice cream. The problem with that idea was that I didn’t have any yacon, and as I’ve mentioned before, it’s not available in most local stores in my area. Nevertheless, determined as I was, I started calling every health food store I could think of in a 20 block radius, thinking that at least one store had to carry it. I was right. A store about five blocks from my apartment — the third one I called — had it in stock.
As I made the trek to my the health food store on a Saturday night, I was reminded that I had chosen “drunk Santa Saturday” as the day of my mission. I’m not sure the official name (or reason for it, actually), but it seems that every year around this time in December there’s a city-wide bar crawl where everyone’s dressed like Santa Claus. By the time it’s dark outside, the city is overrun by obnoxious drunks in bad Santa costumes. When I left my apartment for the store, drunk Santa day was in full force, and I was just wasn’t in the mood to share any narrow NYC sidewalks with them. Still, I told myself that the annoyance of the trip would come with a sweet and icy reward.
I kept telling myself this until, lo and behold, I get to the health food store and the yacon syrup is nowhere in sight. I checked the sweetener aisle, the baking aisle, the airea where the peanut butter and hazelnut butter are. I even look in the supplements section. Nothing. Fulling expecting disappointment, I finally ask the cashier where they “keep” their yacon syrup. She gave me a perplexed look, and I braced myself for the news that I’d been given some bad information when I called. Then, something seemed to register for her. “Wait a second,” she said slowly… “I think it’s over…” her voice drifted off as she headed over to the CHIP AISLE, where she proceeded to pull back a few bags of chips, reach into the back of the shelf, and grap a bottle of yacon syrup. I could think of no other explanation for this other than that the stock boy at my local health food store has been an enthusiastic participant in drunk Santa Saturday.
On my way home, using this unofficial holiday as an excuse to head into a liquor store by myself on a Saturday night (and with no plans to speak of), I picked up one of those one-shot bottles of Bourbon to use in the ice cream. Now, as far as I know, there is really no good explanation for buying just one of these bottles unless you’re using it in a recipe, which you can never really explain unless you’re asked (which I wasn’t), because otherwise you’ll sound like an idiot. And a liar. Plus, there’s really no use for a bag when you’re buying something that small, and there’s nothing you can really feel but entirely sheepish when you slip a tiny bottle of bourbon into your shoulder bag, which I did.
At any rate, the (small) annoyances and (slight) embarrassment I endured for this recipe (really just some general musings masquerading as some sort of rant) were well worth it. At first, Gennaro wasn’t so sure that it actually tasted like eggnog. I was so happy with how it tasted that I didn’t care, I decided it was still blog-worthy. As he continued eating it, however, he changed his tune and thought it “definitely” tasted like eggnog (I guess it’s been so long since he’s had the stuff, too, that he couldn’t remember what it tasted like, either). I say, who cares? It’s rich and creamy, with a boozy aftertaste and a general aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg. Oh, and if you haven’t already assumed as much, I am not one of those people who considers ice cream a summer-only food. Someone’s got to keep the vegan ice cream shops in biz during the winter months! I’m happy to do my part.
Oh, and I have some BIG NEWS (at least for me):
In the spirit of the holidays (maybe some of the drunk Santa love got into me), I am doing my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY. I know, big stuff. And I thought I’d start by giving away my absolute favorite, often-used, tried-and-trusted kitchen tool: a food processor. I can’t tell you the number of recipes I’ve posted on this site that require some sort of food processor prep (see: gingersnap cookies, avocado vinaigrette, cashew cream cheese). And I know there are some of you out there who are in need of one (or a new one) yourselves. So, please, don’t make me feel bad — enter my giveaway for a Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor (a perfect choice for small kitchens or small recipes). To enter, just leave a comment on this post. I’d love to hear which holiday recipes you’ve veganized, some of your holiday stories, or your thoughts on this eggnog ice cream idea. Giveaway will close on Friday, December 17th at noon. Happy Holidays!
Note: this giveaway is now closed
Veggnog Ice Cream:
I used Native Forest brand coconut milk in this recipe because their cans are BPA-free.
1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
1 13.5 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup yacon syrup
5 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Briskly whisk together all ingredients in a chilled bowl until combined.
2. Slowly pour into ice cream machine and let machine run until ice cream is set. For best results, freeze ice cream for another 1-2 hours or until ice cream is set completely. This ice cream will keep a good, creamy texture in your freezer for a few days. To serve, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon.