|Posted by imperiomichelle on July 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM|
I said in my last post that nothing says summer more than lemonade. . . well, maybe that's not quite true. There is, after all, ICE CREAM.
Cold, creamy, sweet, and overall delicious, who can say no to a bowl of the stuff? And especially if it's mint chocolate chip and easily made vegan with the use of vegan liquid sweetener and dairy-free chocolate chips?
Mint chocolate chip has always been one of my favorite flavors. I mean, the cool taste of mint is scrumptious enough by itself, but add in smooth, melty cashew-and-rice-based ice cream and trusty ol' mini chocolate chips and it suddenly rises to a whole new level of sophistication. The ice cream base is part cashew and part cooked brown rice, giving it the richness of the cashews while keeping it on the lighter side with the rice. For a thick, full-bodied ice cream, all cashews can be used, and full-fat coconut milk can be used in place of the almond milk to make it over-the-top rich. For me, though, this ice cream hit the spot.
Mmm. . . mint, chocolate, cashews, and rice. How can you go wrong?
I sweetened it with half dates and half honey, though you can replace the honey with another sweetener such as agave or maple syrup for vegan. Using all dates gives too strong a flavor to the ice cream, I've found.
As for the mint flavor, I used both fresh mint and peppermint extract. Mint just tastes so refreshing, and it pairs perfectly with this ice cream. (I had some extra cashews, so I made some chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter-flavored ice cream as well, but I still liked the mint the best!)
I was hoping the addition of mint sprigs blended into the ice cream mix would turn it a pretty pastel green, but it barely made a difference in the color. Next time I might add in some spinach to boost the color and nutrients.
After blending it all together for a good two minutes or so (it may take longer, depending on the speed and quality of the blender; I used a Vita-Mix), I got this.
At this point, you could throw it into an ice cream maker and churn it there, but as I don't have an ice cream maker, I went the freeze-and-blend route. I poured the mix into a shallow, freezer-safe container and let it harden overnight. (I know, I know, who wants to wait? But patience has its reward!)
Once frozen, cut out some chunks, blend them gently. . .
And, presto-chango, ice cream!
You may be tempted (as I was) to eat the frozen ice cream straight out of the freezer, without blending. It's delicious that way too -- after chipping away at it bit by bit until I'd eaten more of it straight-frozen than blended, I should know -- but it doesn't have the extra ice cream oomph that blending gives it. I know, more things to do before eating this stuff, but just think about it: would you rather have melted and re-frozen ice cream, solid as a popsicle, or fluffy, fresh-from-the-carton ice cream?
For those of you who said the former, go ahead and eat the frozen blocks to your hearts content. But as for me, let me go the extra mile to blend it. Yum!
I got a little hungry during the photoshoot.
Now go! Make some ice cream now!
Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from the 7 Secrets Cookbook
Heaping 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight (or for at least a few hours) and drained
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup dates (I used 5 Medjool dates)
1/3 cup honey (or sub agave or maple syrup for vegan)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 - 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Mini chocolate chips
- Place all ingredients except peppermint extract, ice cubes, and chocolate in blender and blend until smooth. I blended for about 2 minutes.
- Starting with a scant 1/4 tsp, add peppermint a little at a time until desired mintyness is reached.
- Add ice cubes (this cools the mixture; alternatively, more milk or water can be used) to total a volume of 5 cups*. Blend just until smooth.
- If you have an ice cream maker, churn in ice cream maker, adding chocolate chips near the end of the churning. If not, pour into a shallow, freezer-safe container and freeze overnight or until solid. When ready to eat, cut out blocks and place in blender with chocolate chips. Blend into a soft serve-like consistency. Enjoy!
*If your blender isn't strong enough to blend blocks of the frozen ice cream without liquid, leave out this step and add the liquid when blending.
*The ice and water in this recipe may add a slight icy texture to the ice cream; if a creamier texture is desired, less ice can be used and/or more fat added in the form of cashews or a higher-fat milk such as coconut.
Per 1/8 the recipe, using 1/2 cup chocolate chips:
Sat fat: 3g