Food experiment of the week: almond milk “ice cream”

9 Aug

I like how when it comes to making ice cream, the paleo types and the vegan types somehow manage to find common ground.

After that amazing but OMG DAIRY FILLED squash casserole, I thought I’d try my hand at a really simple dairy free ice cream solution, store-bought almond milk. I know intellectually that this is about the worst possible non dairy ice cream base. There’s a reason most of us rely on coconut milk, and that reason is creamy, creamy fat. But I have a LOT of cartons of unsweetened almond milk in the house because I use it for so many things (including many of my medieval food adventures) that I figured it was at least worth a try.

So: can you make passable ice cream using commercial almond milk?

Answer: …sort of.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Almond Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Sweetener of choice to taste — I used a whopping 4 T of palm sugar, pushing this right out of the healthy zone and into “planned indulgence”
  • Pinch salt
  • Optional: vanilla extract (be warned the alcohol content can impact freezing)
  • Optional: giant heaping blob of nut butter of choice. I used peanut butter, because I have made peace with the fact that I am not going to give up the Devil’s Legume, but a better choice would be almond butter.

Recipe:

  1. Pre-freeze your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Mine has to be frozen for 24 hours prior to making ice cream, so I just always store it in my freezer.
  2. Place first five ingredients in a mason jar, put on the lid, and shake it like you mean it.
  3. Freeze according to your machine’s instructions.
  4. When nearly frozen, add nut butter of choice and let mix until “swirled” in.

As predicted, this didn’t have a very good texture. I suspect that there are some simple fixes, like adding chia seeds or even gelatin to bulk up the ice cream base, but really, the better option is to just use high-fat coconut milk or even homemade almond milk (which tends to have more fat than the store bought stuff). It was, however, pleasantly chocolatey, and the peanut butter was really good.

I may do some experimentation with hazelnut milk next. Hazelnut milk is one of life’s great pleasures, and I think hazelnut milk chocolate ice cream has the potential to be AMAZING. I could even add hazelnut butter to it for some extra oomph.

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