5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato

This week I realized it’s the middle of August. I haven’t posted an ice cream recipe. #gasp!

If you know my work, you know ice cream is my favorite treat. Favorite. If there is another dessert to be had – cake, pie, cookies – it better be paired with ice cream!

In my early cooking days I watched a lot of Bobby Flay cooking episodes (I learned a lot about flavor combinations from his and a few other key cooking shows). I’ve heard him express a similar sentiment about ice cream, that he would choose ice cream anytime over any other dessert. Yes. Exactly.

5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

I do buy a lot of vegan ice creams. Coconut Bliss is one of my favorite brands (hello salted caramel chocolate), but I’m also very fond of Amy’s, So Delicious, and Nada Moo. There’s something special about making your own ice cream, though. It tastes – well – homemade. You can customize to your sweetness and ingredient preferences, and you can taste the love!

Tricky thing is most homemade ice cream recipes require an ice cream maker, and many of us don’t have this appliance (or we may not want to pull it out any given day)! I have a full ice cream chapter in LTEV, but most use the ice cream maker. This Chocolate Gelato needs no ice cream maker. It benefits from a high-speed blender, but more of us in the vegan and plant-based world have a rambo blender!

This is also one of those gem recipes that just “came together”. I tested it one day as a pudding, throwing a few ingredients together, and using dates as the sweetener (with my chocolate chia pudding in mind). It literally took 5 minutes to make. I decided to freeze it, just to see how it would turn out. To my delight it froze beautifully.  With 5 simple ingredients, and 5 minutes of prep (excepting freezing time), I was happy to retest. And retest. And retest. 😉

I think I’ve said enough. Time to make the ice cream! Happy scooping…

5-minute, 5-ingredient Chocolate Gelato - by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen. #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree

5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Chocolate Gelato

ReciPage to print/share

This is by far the easiest frozen dessert I’ve ever made. It doesn’t require an ice cream maker, and it’s still scoop-able after freezing! It tastes so good after blending, you can opt to enjoy as a chocolate mousse or pudding straight away – or freeze to a soft-set for gelato.

1 cup refrigerated coconut cream (from can of regular coconut milk, see note)
1 cup (packed) pitted dates (see note)
1 cup frozen banana pieces
3 TB cocoa powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder or seeds from one vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (see note)

In a high-speed blender (I use Blendtec and the twister jar), combine all ingredients (see note if using a standard blender). Puree until very smooth. Transfer to a container to freeze (see note for mousse/pudding ideas). It will take 4-5 hours to freeze to a firm set, but will soft-set like a gelato in less time (about 2-3 hours). Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Coconut Milk Note: Use regular coconut milk (rather than light) from a can in this recipe. Before using refrigerate it overnight, or for a few days. The thick cream will rise to the top and be easy to scoop and measure. Use only the thick cream.

Date Note: Dates must be soft to easily puree. Some pitted dates can be old and dry. If your dates aren’t soft, try presoaking them in non-dairy milk for a half-hour or so until they soften.

Vanilla Note: I prefer the flavor of vanilla seeds or pure ground vanilla bean, but you can also use vanilla extract if you want to add that touch of flavor.

Blender Note: A standard blender may have difficulty churning the dates and frozen bananas into a smooth mix. You might want to first process the bananas and dates in a food processor, adding a small amount of the milk and then transferring to a blender to achieve a smoother puree.

Idea: As a mousse, try serving topped with fresh fruit or layered in a parfait glass with Vanilla Cashew Yogurt!

Share your feedback anytime about this recipe, love to hear from you!

And thanks to Emma for assisting with food photos!

Vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas Menu with Recipes

Today I’m going to share with you a SLEW of recipes that are ideal for your Thanksgiving menu – but also for Christmas.  You see, in Canada, while Thanksgiving is celebrated, it is nowhere near as large and festive as it is in the US.  So, I have always viewed American Thanksgiving dinner to be very similar to our traditional Christmas menu.  So, I will share with you the plant-powered dishes I make for both our Canadian Thanksgiving AND our Christmas dinner – pretty sure you will find at least a few to add to your own menu!

My menu is based on flavors and ingredients that were (somewhat) traditional from my childhood.  I say somewhat because there are parts of my Newfoundland food heritage that I didn’t care for and don’t try to preserve (salt beef, boiled cabbage).  But, the elements I loved – like dried savory in a moist breadcrumb based ‘dressing’ I did love.  So, I have reinvented some dishes in more compassionate, healthy – and flavorful ways, plus added my own menu components.  And, I’ll note that our families (my mom, my parents-in-law, and sisters) have said that our vegan dinner is tastier than their traditional turkey dinners (and that they feel better after eating it).

The “Centerpiece”

I think this is where vegans feel stuck for the holidays, because they feel the need to “replace” the turkey.  In my view, I never wanted to replace a carcass on the table.  And, since I always thought that turkey meat was the least interesting part of the meal (there’s a reason I smothered it with gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce), I didn’t care to “replace” that meat-y component to the meal either.  So, for our family, we have never done the Tofurky for Christmas.  You may want to – I’m not condemning it!  Instead, I’m giving alternatives for something like Tofurky, Field Roast, and Gardein roasts, for those of you that want something altogether different (as we always have).  Here are two ‘main dish’ ideas:

1) Festive Chickpea Tart.  This savory tart from Let Them Eat Vegan was featured in VegNews and has received rave reviews.  It isn’t difficult to make, and you can even bake it without a crust if you prefer.  Definitely a holiday “centrepiece”.

2) A phyllo pastry savory main course.  Usually I make the Festive Chickpea Tart for Thanksgiving, and then for Christmas I make a main course with whole-wheat or spelt phyllo pastry.  I choose a savory filling, some of the recipes I’ve used over the years include: Spiced Mushroom and Potato Phyllo Pie from TEV, White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls and Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls from ed&bv, Brocolli-Mushroom-Walnut Phyllo Pie from Vive le Vegan, and most recently I’ve used the Rawesome Nut Dip from ed&bv as a filling for phyllo rolls. While I love all these recipes, I will tell you that the rawesome nut dip is the easiest, quickest filling of them all.  I’ve used it the past couple of years for that reason, and usually double the batch to yield a large enough batch for filling the phyllo rolls.  This year I plan to roast some vegetables (probably some sliced red peppers, fennel, and mushrooms) and layer those with the raw dip.  Phyllo is FAR easier to use than you might think, and it is forgiving.  So, either layer in a casserole dish (I have instructions for doing so in both TEV and Vive), or make phyllo “rolls” (and I have instructions for doing that in ed&bv).  I have posted the recipe today for my White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls!  Plus, the Moroccan Phylllo Rolls recipe and Rawesome Nut Dip recipe are also available.

Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce (from “eat, drink & be vegan”)

“Dressing”

I know there are regional differences whether you call it stuffing or dressing.  We called it dressing growing up, and it will always be that for me.  But, why stuff a bird-bum when you can stuff a gorgeous, fresh winter squash?  Butternut, kabocha, red kuri… take your pick, then stuff it silly!  (Plus, you can always make extra stuffing and bake in a covered dish.  I do just that, because my crew eat a LOT of the dressing!)  I have posted my “All-Dressed Squash” recipe for you!  **Note: Forgive some of the upcoming photos, they were taken several years ago.  I will try to get better photos this year, though I must admit that taking food photos is the last thing I want to do once Christmas dinner is all ready!

Gravy
I have recipes in most of my books for gravy.  In TEV you can find a Mushroom Gravy.  In ed&bv there I have a Thick ‘n Rich Gravy, and in LTEV you can try Rosemary Gravy (pictured with the No-Fu Love Loaf, below).  I am sharing my Thick ‘n Rich Gravy recipe (with an oil-free option) with you today!  😀

Mushroom Gravy from “The Everyday Vegan”

Side Vegetables 

The side veggies might be my favorite.  My secret to particularly scrumptious root vegetables is to ROAST, not boil, them.  Growing up, our parents boiled the veggies – to a pulp.  Boiling takes all the flavor out of the vegetables and then you need a lot of fat/salt/seasonings to make them taste special.  Roasting concentrates the flavors and caramelizes the natural sugars for the best flavors in your root veggies.  Roast them whole, then puree in your food processor or with an immersion blender.  The pureed roasted rutabega (turnip) are spectacular, I really love them, with the infusion of cinnamon (just like my mom used to do)!  I also make roasted sweet potato puree with nutmeg, and then I do a casserole roast of some combo of chopped roasted parsnip/fennel/carrots/shallots.  (And, sometimes I’ll do a mashed potatoes for the girls as they love them.)  In LTEV I also have some ideal holiday side dishes, including: Smashing Sweet Spuds (pictured below), White Bean Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Dijon Green Beans, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, Gingered Broccolini, and Duo of Roasted Fennel.  The recipes for my Roasted Sweet Potato Puree and Roasted Rutabega Puree are now posted.

No-Fu Love Loaf with Smashing Sweet Spuds, Rosemary Gravy, and Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree (left); Traditional Cranberry Sauce (foreground), Phyllo Rolls with Rawesome Nut Dip (right)

Roasted Turnip Puree

Mixed Green Salad

With all the cooked veggies, I like to add a fresh mixed greens salad to the menu.  I keep it very simple with some thinly sliced red pepper, cucumber, green onions, and pomegranate seeds (an easy, festive, colorful touch), and topped with a sprightly dressing.  This Kale-Slaw would also be PERFECT for the holidays, with the combination of apples and cranberries:

From “Let Them Eat Vegan”

Cranberry Sauce

Can’t forget the cranberry sauce.  Forget ocean spray, it takes mere minutes to make your own fresh cranberry sauce using the simplest of ingredients!  My Traditional Cranberry Sauce is easy and excellent, try it!

Dessert

Dessert varies every year.  Some years I’ve made my Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, more recently I have been making my Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping.  Many years I make ice creams!  They are great for many reasons: (1) You can make them in advance; (2) You can customize holiday flavors (I have “egg-nog ice cream” and “pumpkin pie ice cream” in LTEV; (3) add a luscious sauce (like Coconut Caramel Sauce from LTEV), fruit, and/or nuts, and transform them into beautiful parfaits!

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping

And, here are some other recipes that would be ideal for your Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers:

* Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream

* Pumpkincredible Hummus

* Pumpkin Chia and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

* Pumpkin Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce

* No-Fu Love Loaf

* Nicer Krispie Squares

* Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

* Gluten-Free Pie Crust with “Apple of My Eye” Pie Filling 

* “Hello Vegan” Bars

I hope you enjoy these recipes for the holidays. 😀  Truly, a vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas meal can be FAR more delicious than any traditional dinner, wouldn’t you agree?  Please share some of your favorite holiday dishes with my readers!

Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Apples

Did you love caramel and candy apples as a kid?

Sugar-free caramel apples by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree

I sure did, though as a juvenile junk-food-junkie, I opted to eat the caramel or candy – but leave the apple behind (so sad)!  Don’t believe this ‘Queen Bean’ had such a penchant for junk? … Proof that my sweet tooth started pretty darn early… frosting was my gateway to mars bars, fun dip, Mackintosh’s toffee, and pixy sticks.

2 year old sugar boost!

These days I prefer a treat without the processed sugars, chemicals and colors… and a caramel apple that won’t pull out a filling! (The candy of my youth has provided comfortable living for quite a few dentists!)

In my prevegan days, I once made more traditional caramel apples. They were messy, sticky, and SO much clean-up. I can assure you these caramel apples are far easier – yes, some prep and cleaning, but much simpler.

These apples are made with a date caramel, which is pretty effortless compared to stovetop caramel – it just requires a couple of steps (soaking the dates, then draining and processing with a few other ingredients).  Once the caramel is made, you smooth a layer around your apples of choice, and add a coating (if you like).  Here is the caramel, up close!

Let’s talk about the apples for a moment…

I think one of the reasons I never cared much for the actual apple part in those candy and caramel apples of my youth is because it was typically a McIntosh apple.  I’m not a fan of McIntosh apples to begin with – a little sour and mealy for my liking, I prefer a crisp, crunchy, sweet apple like Gala, Fuji, Spartan, or Sweet Orin.  So, as a kid, to bite through a sweet, sticky caramel coating into a sour apple… not my idea of food fun.  Might be appreciated by older kids and adults, but for me – did NOT work.

You can choose any apple you like for these treats, but I opt for one of the sweeter, crisper varieties mentioned above.  Then… for coatings.  In these photos you’ll see I”ve used coconut (unsweetened), and also grated chocolate (use a vegetable peeler to get some shavings from a chocolate bar).  Obviously if using the dark chocolate these apples aren’t entirely sugar-free – but with a good quality, higher cocoa content dark chocolate, the sugar content is much lower than a milk chocolate.  Then, do you see the other coating?  That is almond meal!  I think it is fabulous with the caramel. You could also combine the almond meal with dark chocolate, that would be incredible. At first, I wasn’t sure if the almond meal would fly, but it DOES.  And, because it is much finer than chopped nuts, it holds to the caramel very well!

I think I’ve talked enough, it’s time to snack! Enjoy…

Healthy, Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Apples gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free

RECIpage link to print/share

1 1/2 cups pitted dates, lightly packed

1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk (to soak dates)

3 1/2 – 4 tbsp raw cashew butter (see note and can substitute)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt

couple pinches freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4-6 organic apples (or more, depending on size)

popsicle sticks or spoons

Coatings: unsweetened shredded coconut, grated chocolate, mini chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries, almond meal!, chopped pecans, etc.

First, combine the dates with the non-dairy milk in a bowl.  Let soak for about an hour.  Then, drain the dates, gently pushing the excess milk through a sieve.  In a food processor, combine the dates with the cashew butter, vanilla, and sea salt (and nutmeg, if using).  Process until very smooth, scraping down the processor bowl as needed, and puree again.  This will take several minutes.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate.  When ready to coat your apples, insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple (if you don’t have any sticks handy, try inverting a spoon so you insert the handle into the apple and you hold the rounded ‘spoon’ end).  Then, simply lift the apple and use a butter knife or spatula to coat your apples with the caramel (not too thick as the caramel is very sweet, but thick enough for it to be substantial and for the toppings to adhere).  Place in a container or on a tray or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and serve, or refrigerate for up to a day before serving.

Nut butter Notes:  I really like raw cashew butter in this caramel for a couple of reasons.  First, it is a very thick/dense nut butter, so it helps make the caramel a little thicker.  Second, it has a mellow, soft taste that works well in this caramel.  But, you could substitute regular cashew butter, or raw/regular almond butter, or macadamia butter.  So, for best flavor I’d choose either cashew, almond, or macadamia nut butter.  If you have a nut allergy, you can either opt for sunflower butter (and maybe add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice – it IS pumpkinfest! – to the mixture to bump up the flavor), or omit altogether and just have a date paste.  This also works if you want to reduce the fat content in the caramel – you can either reduce the nut butter or omit it altogether.

Kitchen Tip:  This makes a softer caramel, easy for spreading.  If you’d like a firmer caramel, simply omit the soaking step, and combine the dates with the cashew buttter (or other nut butter), using the full 4 tbsp (1/4 cup).  The mixture will form into a ball in the food processor.  You can use it to roll for little chewable caramels for children that can be left as is, or coated in grated chocoate (or ground chocolate chips).

Leftovers?: If you have leftover date caramel, it can be kept in a container, refrigerated, for a week or longer.  Use it as a spread for toast, sliced apple or pear, muffins, crisp breads, etc.

Have you ever made caramel apples?  What is your apple of choice?

This recipe has been submitted for the FoodiePages CHEF’S BOX Challenge – wish me luck!

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies and Ice Cream Sandwiches

C is for Cookie, S is for Snifferdoodles (aka Snickerdoodles, read on)… :)

These past few weeks I’ve been pensive.  I think more than I’d like to any given day, but this past month I have felt particularly heavy in thought. September always evokes much mood for me – apprehension about a the school year for our girls, a new routine/schedule to manage, and saying farewell to summer. While fall is a favorite season for many, it’s not for me. I prefer the brightness and warmth of summer, and my vata-nature always feels its best during those warm months. I have also been trying to determine where my work efforts are best directed. I am one person and one mama, with three daughters and a household to manage. I love to blog, to communicate – and of course to create my recipes. I have a stack of recipes needing edits, a backlog of food photos I want to blog and share, and several “ideas” I’d like to pursue. I need three of me to work all of this out!

When I’m in these pensive times, I find comfort in simple things. Food is one of them. If I’m not sitting with a hot tea and some dark chocolate for a few moments of comfort, then I might be baking – because that also reminds of the good and simple things in life.  Taking a handful of ingredients and turning them into something fragrant and sweet to flow through your home. To have a little goodie to give your kiddos, and see their smile when they take that first bite.

And cookies are one of my favorite things to create and bake. When I was testing this Snickerdoodle recipe for LTEV, our daughter kept calling them “Snifferdoodles”. I loved the name – and as you can see in the book, it stuck. Recently I transformed these Snifferdoodles into ice cream sandwiches for the girls (fine, for me  – because if a piece of chocolate and tea doesn’t give me a comfort fix, ice cream surely will). I’m sharing this recipe with you today, because maybe you are also feeling some ‘fall blues’, or finding yourself absorbed in thought. Let’s hope that it takes just a couple of batches of cookies to figure things out. 😉

Snifferdoodles wheat-free, soy-free (link to print/share recipe)

I had originally called these Maple Sugar Snickerdoodles. However, one day our middle daughter called them Snifferdoodles. I loved the name so much I had to go with it! They are delicious, and terrific for bringing to school or other parties, where allergies such as to peanuts, nuts, wheat, and even chocolate are always an issue.

3/4 cup + 1 tbsp spelt flour

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp oat flour

1⁄3 cup unrefined sugar

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp (rounded) baking soda

¼ tsp cinnamon (see note for anise “biscochitos” adaptation)

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp organic neutral-tasting oil (ex: avocado, almond, etc)

For coating:

2 tsp unrefined sugar (fine textured)

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda, mixing well.  In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just incor- porated. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 5 minutes.  While the cookie mixture chills, mix the coating ingredients together in a separate small bowl.  Remove the cookie mixture from the fridge, and take small spoonfuls of the batter (about 1⁄2 tablespoon each; see note) of the batter and roll in your hands to form balls. Place on the prepared (you will still need to coat them, so just place randomly on the lined pan until ready to move to that step). Continue until you have used all the batter. Roll each ball in the coating mixture, and then place back on the lined pan, this time spacing out the cookies evenly. Do not flatten them! Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out), let cool on the pan for no more than a minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.  Makes 15-18 snifferdoodles.

If This Apron Could Talk:

I make these cookies a little smaller than most of the others. They are perfect for little hands when bite size. Because they are smaller, you should get a yield of between 18 to 25 cookies, and the baking time will be only 10 to 11 minutes. If you choose to make them a little larger, the yield should be 13 to 15 cookies; bake for 11 to 12 minutes.

You may have extra sugar mixture after coating the cookies. Don’t throw it away! Use it to sprinkle on ice cream, bagels, toast, yogurt, or cereal!

Ingredients 411:

If the batter is a touch dry when mixing, use another 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of oil and mix with another smidgen (about 1 teaspoon) of maple syrup. Depending on the brand of flour used and/or time of year, this is a good trick. Simply fold the oil and syrup into the batter, and repeat if needed. Just don’t overdo it—the batter should be thick and not too wet or oily, or the cookies will spread out flat and join when baking.

Make It More-ish!

After making these cookies, I learned about biscochitos, which are Mexican cookies flavored with anise and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. To make a biscochito instead of a Snifferdoodle, omit the 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon from the batter and replace it with 3⁄4 to 1 teaspoon of aniseeds, crushed just slightly between your fingers before mixing in (if you love that licorice flavor, use the full 1 teaspoon, or more)!  The cookies will look the same, just taste different!

You can also make different shapes with the batter, if you first refrigerate it for 20 or more minutes to get firmer. Roll out about 1⁄4 inch thick and cut into shapes before dusting with the cinnamon sugar.

To make ice cream sandwiches: Let ice cream soften in the refrigerator.  Once ice cream is softened enough to easily scoop/spread, get started. Spread a layer of ice cream on the flat (under) side of one cookie.  Place the underside of another cookie on top, and lightly press together.  After making 3-4 sandwiches, transfer to freezer immediately to set.  Continue in batches, freeze until firm, and store in a sealed container.

*For those of you waiting on more from the Plant-Powered Kids series, my apologies as I won’t be getting a new post out this week.  Please subscribe to my blog for any new updates.  Enjoy the cookies. :)

Does baking or cooking bring you comfort as well?  What do you most love to create or bake?

Cardamom-Scented Peach Ice Cream

Hey, my local friends!: I will be signing books at Choices Market in South Surrey on Saturday, 11th, at 1pm.  Hope to see you there! 

Every summer I’m anxious for the arrival of fresh, organic peaches.  Often, I’m overzealous and buy them too early – when they are pricey, and lacking that natural juicy sweetness when harvested at the right time.  But, there is that golden window in the summer… when organic peaches are abundant – and affordable!  This is the time to stock up on these glorious stone fruits.  White peaches are my all-time favorite, but you can use any variety of peach (or nectarine) in this recipe.

I first posted a photo for this ice-cream on my facebook page, just a week or two ago.  So, for those of your anxiously waiting (and stocking up on those peaches)… now’s your time to indulge!

Cardamom-Scented Peach Ice Cream gluten-free, soy-free (RECIpage link)

1 cup cubed/sliced peaches or nectarines (see note)

1/2 cup frozen banana, in chunks

1 can coconut milk (regular, not lite)

1/2 cup soaked cashews (or 1/3 cup raw, unsoaked, see note)

3 – 4 tbsp coconut sugar (see note)

1/2 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk

3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave nectar, see note)

couple pinches powdered stevia (optional, can add more sweetener, see note)

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/4 teaspoon (rounded) guar gum

1/8 tsp ground cardamom (if you love the flavor of cardamom, you can use a little more, up to about 1/4 tsp)

1/8 – 1/4 tsp pure almond extract (optional, but adds lovely light fruity essence)

Add-in (optional) 1/2 – 2/3 cup chopped peaches or nectarines (to add in at end of churning)

In a blender (I use a Blendtec), combine all the ingredients (except reserved 1/2 – 2/3 cup peaches) and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of blender as needed (this may take a few minutes with a standard blender). Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker (follow the directions of the specific model, see note below), and churn until the mixture is of soft-serve consistency.  Once ready, add reserved peaches (if using), and let churn through for another minute. Transfer to a container to store in the freezer.

Ice-Cream Maker Note: I am often asked which ice cream maker I use.  I have the KitchenAid ice cream bowl attachment that works with the KitchenAid mixer.  So, if you have a KitchenAid mixer, you can pick up this ice-cream bowl at a fairly reasonable price.  I love this unit.  It doesn’t take up much space (I store it in the freezer!), there are a couple of attachment paddles that are easy to use, and I’ve had my bowl for at least four years and it works beautifully.

Peach Note:  Try to resist adding more peaches in the blended mixture.  As irresistible as they are, adding too many to the blended mix will make your ice cream a little icy rather than creamy.  That’s why I call for adding 1/2 – 2/3 cup of chopped peaches after – to add as chunks to the ice cream if you want that additional peachy flavor.  If you don’t have ripe peaches, mangoes are a fine substitute!

Cashew Note:  I have given the option to use soaked cashews as they will blend more smoothly if you don’t have a high-speed blender.

Sweetener Note:  I typically use about 3 tbsp each of coconut sugar and maple syrup to this blend.  Then, I add a pinch or two of stevia, as the ice cream is not excessively sweet with the amount of sweetener included.  I like keeping the ice cream a lighter creamy color, so I opt for a pinch of stevia to bump up the sweetness.  But, it’s up to you.  You can certainly add the extra maple syrup and coconut sugar – it will darken the ice cream just slightly, but if you aren’t taking photos – no biggie!  Also, the sweetness of your mix will depend on whether you are using vanilla non-dairy milk or plain (vanilla will be sweeter).  So, taste your mix and adjust after blending.  Note that the room-temperature mix will seem sweeter to the taste buds than when the mixture is actually frozen. So you may want to make your blended mixture just a touch sweeter so the final ice-cream product has just the right level of sweetness!

Note: Also try making my Chai Peanut Butter ice cream – it’s getting rave reviews from my readers!

Have you made ice-cream at home before?  What is your favorite?  

Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free)

During dinner this past week our middle daughter asked:  “Mommy, we don’t know what heaven will be like, how do we know we will like it?

My heart tugged and I said: “you’re right honey, we don’t know what heaven is like“… “I think you get to do your most favorite things in heaven all the time, like sing and dance and go swimming and be with people you love and have dogs all around you and eat ice cream“.

She giggled and asked: “can the people all be dogs?

(This girl really loves dogs!)  I replied emphatically: “yes, I think they can if you want them to be!!

She then asked: “and I can eat ice cream whenever I want?

…”Yep, I sure think you can!“, I replied.

I cherish these innocent talks with our girls.  We talk about heaven occasionally, because they understand that their poppy Burton (my father) is in heaven, and we regularly speak of him as their guardian angel.  And, we have talked about our loved ones being in heaven with our beloved animals.  I always try to keep the conversation light and happy because I know at the heart of the matter is some fear of the unknown and sadness surrounding mortality.

So, we joked about how we would eat our favorite foods and just do whatever the heck we wanted all of the time!  She has my fondness for ice cream, so of course we elaborated on the topic of “ice cream heaven”!

The next day on facebook I get this message from Kristi:

“Just made Chai Peanut Butter ice cream. I think this will be served in my Heaven. OMG! YUM!!!”

I chuckled to myself and the coincidence gave me a little shiver.

Let’s have a little taste of heaven on earth.  Today I am sharing that celestial Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream (photo credit: Hannah Kaminsky, bittersweetblog.wordpress.com)

Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream gluten-free, soy-free (recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan)

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1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (regular, not light)

½ cup natural peanut butter (can substitute almond or cashew butter if you prefer)

1 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk

3/4 cup coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar), (see note)

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp allspice (see note)

¼ tsp ground ginger (see note)

¼ tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp sea salt

Pinch or two ground cloves (see note)

¼ tsp (rounded) guar gum

In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until thoroughly mixed, stopping to scrape down the blender bowl once or twice, if needed. Transfer the mixture immediately (see note) to an ice-cream maker (follow the directions of the specific model, this is the one I use), and churn until the mixture is of soft-serve consistency.

Adult-Minded: If you generally like more spices in such sweets as gingerbread, pumpkin pie, spice cookies, and cakes, you can round the measures of the spices cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and ginger, and add a pinch more of cloves.

Ingredients 411: If using vanilla nondairy milk, you might want to adjust the 3⁄4 cup measure of sugar, starting with a little less, because vanilla milks are sweeter than plain. Keep in mind that the room-temperature ice-cream mixture will taste sweeter than when frozen.

Savvy Subs and Adds: Coconut sugar has a caramel flavor, and likewise a caramel-type flavor with undertones of coconut. It is a delicious and lovely sugar; however, if you can- not find it, try Sucanat or another unrefined sugar in its place.

Enjoy this heavenly dessert, and I wish you a sweet day!

How To Make a Vegan Ice Cream Cake (with Sparklers!) and Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting

Spring is a busy time as we have one girl’s birthday in April, and then another daughter’s birthday a couple of weeks later in May.  Our eldest turned eleven in April and asked for an ice cream cake.  Supposedly it’s the ‘cool’ thing to have at parties now.  I wasn’t worried, I’ve made them before.  Actually, it’s one of the easiest cakes you can make – it just takes a few prep steps and planning.

Step 1:  Start with a spring-form pan, it makes for easy slicing and serving later!  Line it it with a layer of vegan cookies.  Here, I used the sandwich cookies and separated them because they are rich enough and almost too sickly to have a full cookie as a base and side.  You can use another cookie – or a layer of cake as well.

 

Step 2:  Choose your ice cream victims.  These were mine:

I liked the idea of layering different flavors, and varieties that had “extras” in them.  While lately I’m particularly partial to some of the Coconut Bliss flavors, these were on special at our local store, so it was an easy decision.  Plus, I knew our daughter would love the flavor combinations!

Step 3: Take one pint out in advance, about 20 minutes beforehand to soften at room temperature.  Keep the other pints in freezer.  Once softened, you carefully add scoops and smooth it out on the base.  I started with the Cherry Amaretto for the base.

This is the trickiest layer because the ice cream will lift up some of those cookies at the bottom.  But, if the ice cream is soft enough and you go with the flow (don’t stress, it’s only ice cream cake!), it works fine.  I had to reposition a couple of cookies but that was it.  To smooth out the ice cream, it helps to run a spoon under hot water, dry it off, and let the heat of the spoon help you smooth around that top layer.

Step 4: Pop the pan in the freezer to let that layer set up before adding the next layer.  It will take about an hour to set up again, maybe more.  Check it, and once it is hard and set, you are on to…

Step 5: Next layer!  Take out your next pint to soften, for me that was the Peanut Butter Swirl:

I think that was my favorite layer. :)  See how frosty the pan is in that picture?

Step 6: Now, the pan goes – yep – back into the freezer.  Same drill, give it an hour or so.

Step 7: Take out last pint to layer… here, the Cookie Dough:

I take back what I said.  I think that was my favorite layer.

Step 8: Back into the freezer (technically you could have far fewer steps if you used one or two large pints of the same flavor and simply mixed in some ‘extras’).

With that, you’re DONE!  You can garnish the top as you like – adding some cookie crumbles or crushed nuts or the like.  I kept it simple and grated a little dark chocolate over the top, just to make it look even more pretty.  Take the cake out about 15 minutes before eating, then open up your springform and you are ready to slice and serve!

We added sparklers to our daughter’s cake – boy, was that a hit!

And, I literally had about 5 minutes to try and snap a couple of pics of this cake before the masses swarmed in!

Aren’t those layers pretty?

 

The kids were happy campers.  Who am I kidding?  I was a happy camper.  Ice cream is my most favorite dessert!

On to cake #2 (actually cake #3, read on).  This was for our youngest daughter, who turned 3 in May.  Her birthday is so memorable because labor kicked in on Mother’s Day that year.  I was laboring all day with her and she was born the next morning.  I knew this little mite would have me running circles with that Mother’s Day prank she pulled. 😉  And I was right!

She’s now three and she still hasn’t eaten cake.  She just doesn’t want to try it.  I think the frosting freaks her out or something, like it’s some mysterious new food frontier that she doesn’t want to take part in.  (If only she knew!)  Actually, I’m quite happy that she isn’t interested in cake just yet.  But, we couldn’t have her birthday without one.

I made my “All-Purpose Vanilla Cake” from ed&bv, but used spelt flour instead of white flour – you need about an extra 1/4 cup – and I also reduced the sugar a titch.  Then, I frosted it with one of my newest and most favorite frostings – Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting from LTEV.  I doubled the batch because I like extra!  I created this recipe as one of my soy-free frostings that are included in LTEV (since most vegan frostings are soy-based, and folks were asking me for alternatives).  This frosting is also gluten-free (and I have a gluten-free cake recipe in LTEV as well).

Sidebar note: This isn’t actually the cake from our 3 yr old’s birthday.  I made a similar one, but didn’t get time to take proper pictures.  So, THESE photos are actually from our the month before, when our eldest had her birthday.  Because, as moms know, you need to make a cake for the actual birthday, and a cake for the party!  So, that brought me up to 3 cakes in 3 weeks!  :)

Anyhow, back to the important stuff.  The frosting!  This frosting is like having a not-so-sweet marshmallowy dreamy layer on your cake.  It’s thick and luscious and frosting happiness!

YUM!  Can you see the flecks of vanilla seeds in there?  I love vanilla beans.  And Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting.  

Whose birthday was it again? 😉

Have you ever made an ice cream cake?  Have you tried this Macadamia Mallow Frosting?  What are your favorite cake combos?

Vote for YOUR favorite Plant-Powered recipe!

Got some fun for you today! :)  I know many of you are anxiously waiting for your copy of Let Them Eat Vegan (if you haven’t ordered yet, check out the special promotion on until the 6th).

So, while you are waiting, I thought I’d give you a little teaser, or rather, a taster!

Hop to my facebook page and vote for one of these six images*:

The recipe that gets the most votes will be published here, on this blog, later this week!  (Please remember to “click” your top pick on facebook, rather than list it here – votes are being tallied on my author page.)

Can’t wait to see which recipe you choose!

All photos by Hannah Kaminsky.