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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


  • 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.


  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.


Product Review: Coconut Secret Ecuadorian Crunch Chocolate Bar

13 May

Until very recently, I’ve never been much of a chocolate fan. I don’t know, it’s not that I hated chocolate, I could just kind of take it or leave it. And in most cases, if you offered me a choice between flavors, I’d pick “not chocolate.” But lately I’ve started to really appreciate chocolate, really, really good chocolate in particular, as a great not-too-terrible indulgence (as opposed to the gluten free lemon bar I ate earlier today, which was a straight-up quite bad for me indulgence).

So imagine my excitement when I found this:

Coconut Secret Ecuadorian Crunch chocolate bar — it has no soy, and it’s coconut-sugar sweetened! OMG! Hos is this possible!?!?!? It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? The only thing that could possibly make this more paleo is if it were dairy free, and rest assured their other bars are, but I really, really wanted milk chocolate.

So, how does it stack up?





Absolutely delicious. It has a wonderful flavor and mouth-feel, and the crunch is really appealing. I can’t detect any grittiness in the chocolate itself, but that may just be because there are all these other texture experiences going on. The flavor is the very best that milk chocolate can be, which to me is a very comforting taste.

I will definitely buy these again. It’s a little pricey (at my grocery store, $3.49/bar), but worth it.

Coconut Candy!

23 Mar

I made this coconut candy from Fast Paleo for St Patrick’s Day, using a heart-shaped silicone mold. By arranging three hearts plus one half-heart, then drizzling with melted chocolate, I ended up with a ridiculously cute shamrock treat:

Paleo Candy Shamrock 1

Paleo Candy Shamrock 2

Grain Free “Nutter Butters”

7 Mar

I have a fierce cookie craving tonight. I managed to talk myself out of making a batch of gluten free but very high carb Chinese almond cookies (hooray for not having almond extract!), but the craving was still there.

I started wishing for Nutter Butters. They were always one of my serious junk food vices, and honestly they’re one thing I really miss. I did some hunting online and stumbled on Foodie Fiasco’s recipe for gluten free, grain free, low carb Nutter Butters. I’ve made a couple of her cookie recipes before and although they are not *quite* like your typical sugar bomb, gluten-loaded cookies, they are pretty darn good, and super easy to boot. As an added bonus, these are vegan, so they occupy that weird liminal space on the Venn diagram of “Things paleo loonies and vegan loonies can finally agree on” 😉

Also, I know, I know, I know — peanuts aren’t paleo. I know. This is the “not-really-paleo” part of the byline, okay? I decided a while ago that you will pry my peanuts from my cold, dead, aflatoxinned hands. I bet you could make these from almond butter instead.

Anyway, here’s my adaptation of her recipe:


1 T Adam’s creamy peanut butter1 T unsweetened almond milk (I use Almond Breeze)
1/2 tsp coconut sugar or any sweetener you prefer (stevia, honey, whatever)
pinch salt (optional)


2 T Adam’s creamy peanut butter
6 T unsweetened almond milk, divided
2 tsp coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice as above)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste

Filling: In a microwave safe container, mix the peanut butter, sweetener, and almond milk together, then microwave in three 15 second bursts, stirring in between. Transfer to freezer.

Cookies: Again using a microwave safe container (I just used a Pyrex measuring cup), mix the peanut butter and 3 tablespoons of the almond milk. Cook for 30 seconds, stir, cook another 30 seconds, stir again. Add the sweetener, salt, vanilla extract, and baking powder, and mix well. Stir in the coconut flour, then add the almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well, until you get a cookie dough consistency.

Divide dough into 8 balls, roll each into a log, and flatten each end of each log with a fork, making a little cross-hatch and a peanut shape. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350. Take filling out of freezer and spread a little bit on the bottoms of half the cookies, then put the other cookies on them to make little cookie sandwiches.

Makes 4 extremely rich and filling cookie sandwiches.

These were tasty. Not really Nutter Butters (they don’t have that absurdly crunchy thing going on, and they weren’t anywhere close to as sweet as the “real deal”), but still great.

Double Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

20 Feb

I resisted the chia seed thing for a long time. Seeds as a category are usually dubious as a paleo-appropriate food (we eschew seed oils for a reason), the chia kombucha at Whole Foods looks exactly like bottled salamander egg masses, and I’m generally inclined to roll my eyes at the term “superfood.” The only “superfood” I eat is lots and lots of liver. But one day recently I decided to give drinking a mix of water, electrolyte powder, and chia seeds before running a try, and I found to my consternation that this actually helped me feel a lot better on my run, and had the interesting side effect of causing me to not be hungry for a few hours afterwards. If you are thinking of starting to practice intermittent fasting as part of your paleo / primal lifestyle, chia seeds might be a good gateway to that.

So anyway, I have these chia seeds, and I went looking for other ways to use them. If you’re somehow not familiar with chia seeds, they absorb a ton of liquid and form a thick gel, so they are used a lot as a thickener. One popular use for them is to make pudding. I’ve tried a couple of different chia pudding recipes and this is my favorite so far:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 T unsweetened high-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 T cacoa nibs, either raw or roasted
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste (I’ve successfully used 1 fresh date added to the almond milk and blended [i.e., with a blender] and 1 T maple syrup, but there are plenty more options)

Put all ingredients into a container with a lid and shake vigorously. Put in refrigerator. After about 15 minutes, shake again. Let sit another 15 or so minutes and shake a third time. Let stand several hours until very thick.

I find the chia seeds and the cacao nibs give this a genuinely pleasant crunch. It’s like tapioca pudding, but better, mostly because it doesn’t make me feel awful.

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