I know it’s the end of the summer and this seems like an odd time to crave ice cream, but here in Florida, summer never ends. So while the rest of the country begins to shift into fall – experiencing the change of leaves and cooler breezes – Florida continues to experience some of the warmest months of the year. As a result, we’re all sweating and just looking for way to cool off. Enter ice cream; stage left.
If you know me, you know that I love Pinterest. I can get sucked in for hours and completely lose track of time. Sadly, I often times pin too many things to remember and never get to try them out! That’s exactly what happened with my ice cream pins. About 6 months ago, I did a 30-day dairy-free challenge and I stumbled across all of these delicious DF ice cream recipes. At that time, it was still winter and no way was I wanting to eat cold ice cream. So, I created a “Dairy Free” board and pinned these recipes for a later time.
And so they were forgotten. Until about a month ago when one of my good friends mentioned wanting to try her hand at vegan ice cream. She said she’d found some recipes and the light bulb in my head went off. “Oh my goodness,” I said, “I have a bunch of recipes too!” I excitedly pulled out my phone and scrolled happily through my Pinterest app to find these long-forgotten recipes. “We should try some of these and have a taste-testing party at the office,” I exclaimed. She thought it was a great idea and the date was set.
Well, I simply couldn’t make up my mind what recipes I wanted to try. So, in true form, I chose about 5-6 recipes to test. I started making them about 2 weeks prior to our taste-testing, just to give myself enough time to make each one. There was no way I could’ve made all 6 in one day without slightly going bonkers. Plus, spreading them out gave me more time to test what did and didn’t work.
I’ll be honest – I chose most of my recipes based on not needing an ice cream maker. I don’t own one and I couldn’t justify to my husband purchasing one just for the occasion. I did wind up with two that needed to be churned, but I was able to borrow a friend’s. One recipe I simply couldn’t pass up on (pumpkin spice) and the other one I actually didn’t realize I needed to churn it until I was halfway through the recipe!
In addition to the ice creams, I brought along some toppings and mix-ins for my colleagues to try. I made some dark fudge brownies by Ghiradelli for my husband, but he claimed they were too fudgy. He recommended I throw them away. Uh, no way was I going to waste perfectly good chocolate! I also made a batch of chocolate chip cookies that turned out very dry and brittle, so these also were donated to the ice cream party selection!
Today was it – the beloved ice cream taste-testing day. Sadly, several members of our test group were absent from work, so we had a very small gathering. Those who did participate said they enjoyed all the flavors they tested. One tester was skeptical at first, asking me, “Are these healthy?” Apparently I have gotten a reputation for making healthy baked goods around the office! I would rather be known for that than scorned for ruining someone’s diet. And at the rate that I bake, it’s kinda necessary that I find ways to make recipes healthier…both for my waist and others!
I would have to say that my overall favorites were Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Pumpkin Spice. I was a bit concerned about the Mint Chocolate Chip for two reasons: 1) because it was the first one I made and 2) because it had spinach in it. The mint extract masked any spinach flavor though and the food processor chopped it up so fine that you didn’t taste it! The Chocolate Peanut Butter was heavenly. I MAY have overloaded a bit on the peanut butter, but what harm could that do? Unless you don’t like peanut butter, of course. And last, but not least, Pumpkin Spice brought the fall hint to the party. The pumpkin and the spices blended nicely with the coconut milk. Some commented that you could taste the coconut, but it wasn’t overpowering.
Overall, I would say our first taste-testing was a success! Next year, I won’t wait until the end of summer to host this fun party!
Below are the recipes that I sampled for our taste-testing. I hope you find one that you enjoy!
Ice Cream Maker Recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Spice
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
7 oz. pitted dates
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
- Soak the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes, until most of the water is gone. Puree in a food processor. If needed, add a little water until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- In a bowl, pour milk. Add half of the date paste, and the remaining ingredients. Mix by hand until smooth, slowly adding in the remaining date paste.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into the ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Scoop out the mixture into a covered container and freeze for at least 4 hours to set.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 (13oz) can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond milk (can substitute other milk)
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Place all ingredients through almond extract in a blender. Puree until completely smooth.
- Refrigerate 1-2 hours or until completely chilled.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. During the last 2-3 minutes of churning, add the chocolate chips.
- You can choose to serve immediately (consistency will be closer to soft-serve), or pour into a container and freeze 2-3 hours until firm.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream
1 medium banana, cut into chunks
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
2 Tbsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter
- Cut banana and place in plastic bag. Freeze for 4 hours or until completely frozen.
- Pour almond milk into blender and add bananas, Shakeology, and peanut butter. Cover and blend until smooth.
- Serve immediately or pour into a container and freeze 2-3 hours until firm.
Coffee Ice Cream
3-4 sliced frozen bananas
1 cup strong coffee (room temperature)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Brew coffee as strong as possible. Use sugar to sweeten it. I used about 1 Tbsp. for 1 cup. Let it cool.
- In a food processor, blend the frozen bananas, coffee, and vanilla extract.
- Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a container and place back in the freezer for an hour.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 can coconut cream
½-3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
6 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp peppermint extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips
- Chop up spinach place in blender with 1/2 can of coconut cream. Blend until smooth.
- Add the next 3 ingredients (through peppermint extract) and remaining cream; blend again until smooth.
- Mix in chocolate chips.
- Pour into a lidded container and freeze for 3-4 hours until set.