In her old age, my mother has developed a sweet tooth I strain to keep up with. She especially loves ice-cream, which I like but hardly ever crave. After stocking up with some store-bought varieties, I decided I would make her some, possibly healthier than the milk-cream-sugar-egg combination.
My forays into vegan ice-cream eating have always been unsuccessful, although I should try one of the myriad stores that are popping up everywhere in Los Angeles. The last time I got curious, and walked into a vegan ice-cream store, I ended up throwing the whole cone after a couple of licks. Not even close to the real thing.
After reading up, it seemed clear that coconut milk or coconut cream had to be involved to supplement the fat of dairy. It was also obvious that to cover up the coconut taste strong flavors would be best suited: anything delicate, like peach, would have been lost. What wasn’t apparent was the use of a liquid sweetener to make the end result creamier – most recipes suggested corn syrup but I went with a mixture of cane sugar and agave syrup the first time, and sugar and honey the second.
I tried both coffee and chocolate and I did love the coffee best (as a disclaimer, I rarely like chocolate ice-cream). The end result is not as creamy as proper ice-cream but it is pretty damn close and, while not forsaking real gelato any time soon, I am entering this variation into my regular repertoire.
2 C cashew milk
1 can full-fat coconut milk (or, even better, coconut cream)
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C agave syrup (or honey)
Pinch of salt
1 ts vanilla extract
1 T vodka (entirely optional)
1/2 C coffee beans, coarsely ground
- Combine all ingredients except coffee and vodka in a pot and heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot. Add the coffee, mix with a spoon and let steep for an hour.
- Strain the mixture and add vanilla and vodka, if using. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
- Spin the ice-cream into an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (in my case, I let it spin for 40 minutes – 45 turned out a bit too long, resulting in a harder ice-cream once frozen).