Vegan Eggnog Ice Cream

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

Directions:

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.

Share

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

The next few months are going to be an exercise in simplicity and restraint. Simplicity because I don’t have time to make elaborate — even borderline complicated or time-consuming — meals. Restraint because creating new dishes and spending time in the kitchen is my passion.

I had heard that studying for the bar exam would be like a full-time job. Somehow I thought I would be able to post as often as I’ve been posting — even cook almost as often — on the side. I’m beginning to think I was wrong. So, I’m going to try to show a bit of restraint in the coming months. I’m really trying to make this my first and last bar exam. Therefore, for the next few months, less recipe-creating and more quick, easy and healthy recipes to get me through the summer. This is one of those recipes.

This two-ingredient frozen yogurt recipe is vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. It’s a wonderful, healthy and filling summer dessert, with probiotics, fiber, protein and Omega-3s. At first I was a bit hesitant to post a recipe for yogurt that calls for two things: 1) yogurt and 2) sweetener. Can we say duh? But then again, some of my favorite “recipes” are not recipes at all but rather ideas I never thought of: the idea of strawberries stuffed with peanut butter that I found on this site, or Mario Batali’s “asparagus a la plancha,” which is really just asparagus rubbed in olive oil, cooked over a skillet and lightly salted. Next time you’re craving something slightly sweet and healthy, try this quick and simple yogurt topped with fresh, summer berries.

Frozen Yogurt:

1 24-oz. container unsweetened, plain Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla-flavored liquid stevia

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt and stevia until incorporated.

2. Turn yogurt mixture out into ice cream machine and turn on machine.

Share

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Well, I’ve had my ice cream machine for a few months now and the novelty has yet to wear off. I’ve been making ice cream so much that I get antsy waiting for the bowl to re-freeze between batches. I’ve learned — and this info might be of use to others with a Cuisinart machine — that it takes over 24 hours for my bowl to freeze completely (even though the instructions say about 4-12 hours). That’s a whole day without making ice cream, which is quite the test to my patience (but probably for the best).

I know my posting has been a bit spotty lately. Trust me, I’ve been cooking, I just haven’t had much time to share my recipes. The transition from law school to the real world and wedding planning have taken on toll on my free time, which usually consists of posting here. But fear not, I have a lot of recipes in the arsenal that are waiting to be shared.

My blog posts also suffered a bit of a setback due to a broken computer. Not a broken computer as in low memory, slow performance, a damaged hard drive, or any of that. I mean, I literally opened it up one day and the screen just collapsed and parts started falling out. It had had enough, I guess. May I just add that it is not cheap to be technologically “with it” these days? A few months ago the screen on my phone shattered. A few hundred dollars later, I had a new phone and a new, more expensive plan. Same with the computer. I’m pretty sure they design these things to have a short shelf life. There must be some pre-programmed directions telling our electronic devices to break down after a certain period of time so that we have to go out and spend more money. Oh, well.

I’ve been on a mint kick lately. I just LOVE fresh mint. I’ve been putting it in my smoothies with frozen strawberries, Chocolate Greens Superfood Powder, soy or almond milk and a few drops of vanilla stevia. It’s so delicious — and a great energy boost! But the mint really makes it special. I’ve also been putting fresh mint into my salads. Stay tuned for a tabbouleh recipe with fresh mint this weekend or early next week. This mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe is made with agave, but the chocolate chips are actually made with the NuNaturals vanilla stevia in order to reduce some of the overall sugar. I’m usually try not to mix sweeteners in recipes (just one less ingredient to have to worry about), but here, I think the agave improves the texture and creaminess of the ice cream, and the stevia adds a nice hardness to the chocolate. I took a tip from Ricki Heller over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and added some carob powder to the recipe to cut some of the bitterness of the stevia. You can always experiment with other sweeteners if you’d like.

Finally, I hope you all are enjoying the new site design. I tried to keep the general feel the same while making the interface a bit more user-friendly. I’m still working on some things (I am definitely not a coding aficionado, by any means) but I’m hoping you’re liking the look in the meantime.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk

2 teaspoons potato starch

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup fresh mint, minced, tightly packed

Chocolate Chips:

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened carob powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla stevia

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whish together coconut milk, agave and potato starch until starch is dissolved into mixture. Add in mint. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and turn on.

2. Meawhile, whisk together all ingredients for the chocolate chips until smooth. Set aside.

3. After ice cream has had about 10-15 minutes in the machine — or until the mixture has begun to freeze — slowly drizzle in the chocolate mixture. The coconut oil will harden the chocolate as it hits the cold ice cream, so it should break up into tiny little chips as it goes in. You may want to test with a small amount first just to make sure ice cream is cold enough.

4. After you’ve added the chocolate, continue to run machine until ice cream comes together to desired consistency. Serve.

Share

Lite Raspberry Sorbet

The stevia streak continues, this time with a little flavor boost: vanilla. I’ve tried stevia in ice cream before with not so great results, so this raspberry ice cream — sorbet? sherbert? — came as a pleasant surprise to me. It had just the right amount of sweetness, no bitter aftertaste (my toughest dessert critic, Gennaro, can back me up on this) and a nice texture — if you eat it right away, that is. The longer this ice cream is left to set in the freezer, the more icy and flaky it becomes. Not inedible (and I imagine a good addition to a smoothie) but it’s annoying to wait for it to thaw back to a creamy consistency, which takes a bit of time.

So, it’s not perfect (re: the freezing-too-long issues mentioned above), but this ice cream is quite unexpectedly good considering it’s sugar-free, low calorie, vegan, and super simple to prepare. It’s an especially nice after-dinner sweet for when you’re — ahem — looking to fit into your wedding dress in August…

Stevia Raspberry Ice Cream:

2 cups frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon arrowroot

1 13.5-oz. can lite (or light) coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavored liquid stevia

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, toss raspberries with arrowroot and heat over medium heat, stirring occassionally, until raspberries break down into a sauce-like texture. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine raspberry sauce with coconut milk and remaining ingredients in ice cream machine and prepare according to your machine’s directions.

Told you this one was simple!

Share

Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream

This recipe was made possible by my future mother-in-law, who took a cue from my post about not having an ice cream maker and bought me one as a shower gift. I was so excited to get back to New York to start using it. There was one point in time where I thought ice cream makers were novelty items that collected dust in the cupboard. Then I developed a penchant for the vegan, agave-sweetened ice cream at Stogo and realized I couldn’t afford to keep up my delicious but expensive ice cream habit. That is, unless I learned to make my own.

It started with no machine ice cream — an icy yet creamy mango version was good enough to tide me over. But I knew that I couldn’t go machineless forever. So that’s where this gift came in handy. Sugar, whenever I use my new machine (which is sure to be often), I’ll think of you!

Of course, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing from there. The whole “vegan” part of it wasn’t exactly as easy as I thought it might be. I’m still in search of a great soy-based recipe. But for now, another coconut-based version will do. The difference, I think, between the two is that coconut milk — even the light kind — has naturally more fat than soy milk. Next time I use a soy base I may try to fatten it up a bit. Plus, I’m not sure if this makes a difference or not, but the coconut milk I used was the Thai Kitchen variety, which contains guar gum as an emulsifier. Perhaps that helped create some of the creaminess of this version. I think some additional experimentation may answer some of these questions. But for tonight, I’m going to enjoy this mocha version without any further questioning as to why it turned out while the others didn’t. I’ll leave that for another day. What I am wondering is how this one turned out so creamy and rich when I used light coconut milk (which has only 45 calories and 4 grams of fat per serving) and no additional fats. I feared it would be too icy in texture, but I don’t think that’s the case. Good to know, at least, that loads of fat is not a prerequisuite for good ice cream. I did make up for the lighter ice cream by sprinkling with a few toasted pecans, as pictured.

For my next experiment, I’m curious as to some of your favorite flavors. Perhaps I could try to tackle one of those next. Growing up, I always liked “Blue Moon,” though I fear the novelty of blue ice cream has worn off with age. These days, I’m digging coffee (hence, the mocha) and simple flavors like vanilla bean and coconut with a simple fruit sauce to top it off. I’d love to know some of your favorites.

Mocha Ice Cream:

1 13.5-oz. can lite coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchens)

1 tablespoon arrowroot

1 tablespoon ground coffee

1/4 cup brewed coffee

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2/3 cup agave nectar

Directions:

1. Whisk together all ingredients except agave. Pour into a medium-sized saucepan and heat over high heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until mixture begins to simmer, whisking occassionally. Remove from heat and whisk in agave nectar. Set aside to cool.

2. When mixture has cooled, pour into a glass bowl or glass, 1-qt. measuring cup. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

3. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and proceed according to directions.*

* my machine is a countertop Cuisinart. If you’re using a countertop machine, be sure the mixing bowl is completely chilled in refrigerator — which can take up to 24 hours — until completely frozen through.  

Share

Mango Ice Cream

mango ice creamI live about 5 blocks away from a dangerously good vegan ice cream shop called Stogo. All of their ice cream is agave sweetened, they use organic ingredients, and it is really good. As I said, it’s dangerously good. Every once in awhile, Gennaro, being the keeper that he is, brings me home a pint of the coffee ice cream. Just because. I remember one particularly trying finals week when I just ate Stogo’s coffee ice cream for breakfast one day before an exam. I know ice cream for breakfast — even vegan, organic, sugar free ice cream — is not really in keeping with the otherwise healthful lifestyle I’ve embraced since embarking on an allergy-free diet. But sometimes life demands demands a little reckless gratification, like coffee ice cream in the morning. Below is a photo I took of a half-eaten bowl of Stogo’s coffee ice cream over warm brownies — one of my favorite treats.

stogoAs much as I enjoy a ready-to-eat pint every once in awhile, I’ve always been curious about making my own vegan ice cream at home. What’s stopped me up until this point is the simple fact that I don’t own an ice cream maker, which I thought was a deal-breaker when it came to homemade ice cream. Turns out, I thought wrong. With the likes of Dave Lebovitz explaining that a good quality product can come straight from the freezer(with a little patience and some manual labor, that is), I was all about it.

Why not just buy an ice cream maker? My poor kitchen just can’t take another gadget, I’m afraid. With little space and lots of old pots and pans practically falling out of the cupboards when we open them, an ice cream maker just doesn’t seem like a  great idea right now. Maybe when we overhaul the kitchen come wedding time in August, we’ll create some extra room. But I’m afraid an ice cream maker sounds like more effort than it’s worth at the moment — the effort being finding a place to put it!

So, I’d rather transfer my effort into making a slightly more labor-intensive ice cream without a machine. The end result is inevitably a bit icier, but it’s quite tasty and makes for a great low carb, no-bake vegan dessert. The intermittant blending is really to create some air and get a nice fluff. It also helps to break up the ice crystals that will tend to form when anything freezes directly from liquid to solid. Enjoy this ice cream right away out of the freezer, as it tends to melt a little quicker than traditionally-made ice cream. It’s great topped with diced, fresh mango or toasted, flaked coconut.

Vegan Mango Ice Cream:

1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk (not light)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2/3 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Ener-G egg replacer

10 oz. frozen mango chunks (about 2 heaping cups)

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients except mango in a blender. Add mango and blend until smooth and no chunks remain. Pour into a glass baking dish with a lid. Place in freezer.

2. Freeze mixture for up to 6 hours (may take less or more time, depending on freezer), removing every hour and a half to two hours to beat mixture. Beat using handheld electric blades or an immersion blender until ice cream is fluffy. Return to freezer and repeat a few times until desired texture is reached. Best when enjoyed shortly after preparing.

Share