May 20, 2014 Leave your thoughts
I have finally mastered the art of the vegan cheesecake. It’s taken, er, over a year, but I’ve finally created a dairy-less product that actually tastes like sweet-yet-tangy cheese.
There are a few secrets to a successful ice cream, but my number one piece of advice is always to add STUFF. By stuff, I mean chocolate, swirls, crunchy things, chewy things, salty things…anything that can provide textual and flavor contrast.
While the ice cream base tastes delicious on its own (I often find myself licking the spoon in the process), add-ins make everything better. Especially when those add-ins are sweet, sticky wild blueberries and crunchy, toasty cookie crumbs. Ben and Jerry were onto something as they started dumping in brownie pieces and candy bars into their ice cream!
See that swirl action? I love the contrast of the purple and white against the nearly-black of the blueberries and golden-brown of the cookie crumbs.
So, I have a little secret to share: I want to open my own COMPLETELY vegan and gluten-free ice cream parlor. Maybe not today or next year, but sometime and some point in the future, preferably somewhere warm where fresh food can be grown year-round. I want the flavors to be creative yet delicious, and the ingredients to be as local as possible with the growing seasons in mind. It’s a little difficult to think about in somewhere like Connecticut (where very little grows from the beginning of November to sometime in April), but perhaps out in California or on Hawaii. (Hey, a girl can dream!)
It’s just an idea, of which I have many. But for now, I just enjoy testing (and eating) a crapload of ice cream.
If you’re looking for a sweet, filling treat for the last weeks of spring, this is a great choice for those who like ice cream AND cheesecake. It will also be great later in the summer, once blueberry season finally comes. Think about how delicious it will be with fresh, overly-ripe berries…yum…
Ready to get ice-cream making? I hope so! Let’s get started.
First, soak 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews in a water bath overnight. Come morning, strain them and give them a quick rinse under cold water.
Combine them in the blender with 2 cups of full-fat coconut milk, the juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup), 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or coconut nectar (or honey if not vegan), 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil, 2 heaping tablespoons of arrowroot powder, 2 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Blend on high until nice and creamy, then transfer to a small saucepan.
Whisking vigorously over medium-low heat, bring the “ice cream” mixture to a bubble. Once you see little bubbles float to the surface, turn the heat down to low and whisk until thickened, about 4 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and press through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any clumps. Put in the fridge to cool down for at least 4 hours, longer if you have the time.
Next, make the blueberry sauce.
Today, I decided to use a 10-ounce bag of wild blueberries because they’re adorable and packed with flavor. You can also use regular blueberries, too, and if they are frozen, you should thaw them at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before making the sauce.
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries and the liquid that accumulated while they were thawing (or 1/4 cup of water) with 2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar, a small squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Use a spoon to break up the bigger berries and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 cup of blanched, slivered almonds with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Squish the “dough” into a large, flat disk using wet hands and gentle pressure. Bake until the edges turn golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, and be careful not to burn!
Using your hands, crumble the giant cookie into tiny little pieces. Let sit on the counter to cool until you are ready to make the ice cream.
When all of the ingredients are cooled. pour the ice cream base (NOT the blueberries) into the ice cream maker. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for how long to churn; for me, it took about 15 minutes. During the last five minutes of churning, pour in one half of the blueberry mixture, followed by the majority of the cookie crumbs when two minutes remain.
Scoop out the ice cream into a large glass dish and swirl the remaining blueberry sauce on the top. Add the remaining cookie crumbles, too!
Freeze until solid, about 4 hours, and transfer to the fridge for 1 hour before you’d like to serve. (Because of the lemon juice and the water from the blueberries, this ice cream is a bit prone to iciness–putting it in the fridge to “warm up” helps with thawing!)
Enjoy all of that fruity, toasty, tart goodness…
What is your favorite berry? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!