I scream, you scream, we’ll all scream like crazy ass school girl bitches at a Justin Beiber concert for this bowl of bitchin’ ice cream goodness!
If you’ve been following my blog and adventures on Facebook and Insta for a little while you’ll know that our little family has spent the last few years tripping round Australia like a band of merry gypsies. Although the merry part has become a bit more of a stretch each time I’ve had to cram all our shit into boxes. I start with structure, a sensible plan, calm, organised, rational packing with detailed lists and then quickly descends into fuck this shit, fuck it all, just chuck it in, tape that fucker up and hope it falls off the back of the truck so I can just get an insurance payout and not have to unpack at the other end. But dammit, the bastard boxes kept turning up at our new address each time.
So in the interests of minimising packing pain we’ve made some half-arsed attempts at keeping our ‘stuff’ to a minimum so there would be less for me to throw a tantrum about having to pack. Good in theory, crap in practise when there are certain items of stuff I really, really wanted. Like the ice cream maker I’ve been nagging my husband for – well to be fair I’ve been nagging him for a shit load of things, but an ice cream maker was among them. He kept fending me off with the old ‘when we’ve stopped moving you can get one’ quietly confident that the novelty of the idea would wear off and I’d forget about it or lose interest. Au contraire husband! I freely admit to being fickle and flighty in many things but not my love for the frozen treats, to that I’ve made an unwavering life time commitment.
So when we finally put our roots down for good there was a pretty substantial list of essential things we needed to buy, like beds, a sofa, dining table, TV… so naturally the first thing I did was go out for coffee and return with an ice cream making contraption, oh happy day. We may be sleeping on an airbed but it’ll be with a belly full of gorgeous home-made gelato!
I’m not normally one for vanilla ice cream because it’s a bit bloody, well vanilla really. I like flavour and punch and crunch and surprising tasty morsels in my ice cream but this recipe makes a great base that is really easily sexed up with pretty much whatever your little heart (and belly) desires. I’ve included a few suggestions below that I’ve tried but don’t let that limit you, the world is your oyster, or ice cream sundae, or oyster ice cream sundae even if you want to get all Heston on it. I mean I wouldn’t eat that shit but I’m not judging anyone here…
Get this stuff
1 270ml can full fat coconut cream
I use Ayam brand as it’s the only one I’ve found that is pure coconut cream and nothing else. Seriously, don’t waste your time and money on the ‘light’ versions, if you read the ingredients you’ll see that you’re only paying for water and sometimes stabilisers or other unnecessary (and probably nasty) extras.
1 cup almond milk or your preferred alternative milk
1/2 C vanilla whey protein powder
2 t vanilla essence
2-4 T sweetener of your choice
I usually like to use 2 T rice malt syrup and 2 T coconut sugar, maple syrup or granulated stevia depending on what flavour I want the end result to be. Coconut sugar and maple syrup will add a delicious hint of caramel while stevia is more neutral. Rice malt syrup and stevia also won’t add any fructose sugar hit if that’s something you’re keeping an eye on.
Optional flavour extras and tasty tidbits
- 3 – 4 t ground ginger and if you want to make it really indulgent chop up a few pieces of Hunter Gatherer Gourmet Ginger Crunch and mix chunks through (seriously, this is off the fucking hook!)
- 1/2 C chia berry jam (make your own in about 45 seconds using this recipe Berry Berry Nice Chia Jam)
- 2-4 Tbl cacao or good quality dark cocoa deepening on how dark you like your chocolate, I used 4 Tbl because I like it dark and dangerous. Up the chocolate ante with chopped dark chocolate chunks, cacao nibs or even some chopped up chunks of Black Bean Brownie or Dark Chocolate Hidden Veggie Muffins if you happen to have done some baking and have some on hand.
- Use coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten the mixture and add 1/2 – 1 tsp pink sea salt for a salted caramel version then throw in a few good handfuls of chopped nuts
- Soak some raisins or other dried fruit in booze for a rum raisin style twist, but be careful not to add to much extra liquid plonk as alcohol will inhibit the freezing process.
- Make a superfood powered mint choc chip version by adding 1-2 teaspoons of super greens or spirulina powder, a handful of fresh mint and 2 tsp peppermint essence when blending, then throw in a couple of handfuls of cacao nibs or finely chopped dark chocolate in the last few minutes of churning.
- Coffee, caramel & nut makes for an indulgent treat with a caffeinated kicker. Replace 1/2 C of the almond milk with strong espresso in the ice cream base mixture and churn adding 1/3 C chopped almonds (macadamias also work really well) in the last few minutes of churning.
Make the caramel sauce by melting 1/3 C rice malt syrup 9or maple syrup) with 1/3 C macadamia, cashew or other nut butter of your choice and mixing until well combined to form a thick, glossy caramel.
Pour the ice cream mixture into a large plastic container then stir the caramel through by hand to create a swirl effect rather than mixing it in thoroughly. Transfer to the freezer to finish setting.
If you’re making the ice cream by hand, allow the mixture to reach the point where it’s almost frozen but still soft enough to stir then add in the chopped nuts, stir through the caramel as above.
Do this with it
Throw all the ingredients for the vanilla base mixture into the blender along with any extra flavour you’re using, e.g. cacao, ginger, coffee etc… but leave the chunky bits out.
If you own an ice cream maker simply pour and churn according to the instructions (mine is as complicated as pushing ‘on’, can’t really fuck that up!). If you’re adding extra tasty, chunky bits throw them into the mixture in the last few minutes of the churning time. When the churning has finished the ice cream will be a thick soft serve consistency which is amazing to eat straight away, or, if you prefer it firmer, transfer to an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to use it.
If you don’t have an ice cream fun time contraption don’t despair, frozen treats can still be yours, there’s two alternatives.
The Armstrong Method (by which you get strong arms). Pour the mixture into a plastic container with an air tight lid to stop it getting icy, shove it in the freezer and fluff it with a fork every 40-60 minutes until it reaches ice cream consistency. If you’re adding extra chunks it’s a good idea to put them in when the mixture is about halfway frozen so it’s thickened but still not firm.
The Lazy Bastard Method (no fluffing required). Pour the mixture into ice block moulds and freeze for easy, peasy home made ice cream pops. If you’re adding extra lumps and bits they will sink to the bottom of the moulds which is not the end of the world but, if you want them to be more evenly distributed you can par-freeze the mixture as per the Armstrong Method above then add your bits and smush it into the moulds once it’s started to firm up and is a more malleable consistency.
In the interest of thoroughness and quality control, I’ve made about six batches of this recipe using different flavour variations, and I’m pleased to say it’s produced a gorgeous gelato every time. The result is creamy, smooth and the right balance between soft and firm that it can be rolled into pretty little just-like-a-bought one scoops – or just shovelled straight from container to mouth while standing with the freezer door open beeping at you in panic. Each to their own right?!