Anyone who is lactose intolerant or goes vegan faces one particular problem at some point and it’s called “ice cream”. There are numerous vegan ice creams on the market but most of them don’t deliver in taste and have far too many additives for my liking bu most of all there is the problem of variety. I am a fan of the simple vanilla ice cream, that is why my post is about the most basic version of it.
There is of course the very basic banana ice cream which merely consists of blended up bananas and I will get to that at a later point. You can use it to add any ingredients you like but it does lack the creaminess of dairy based ice creams. I have tried dozens of recipes and variations. Some came out chalky in taste due to too much corn starch, others just wouldn’t set. Some were too hard when taken out of the freezer and then went into a liquid mass too quickly to be enjoyable.
So here is my version of how to make vegan ice cream. It does contain a good amount of muscovado sugar which you can reduce or replace with any sweetener of your choice but I explicitly chose this type of sugar because it gives the ice cream it’s typical mellow vanilla colour and sweetness that you get when choosing a vanilla ice cream in the store.
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk, each can should be about 400ml (13 to 15oz)
- 4 tbsp muscovado sugar, or any other dark coloured sweetener
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp arrow root powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pour the contents of the coconut milk cans into a saucepan. If it is the first time you use coconut milk in cans then don't be alarmed by seeing a thick layer of rather solid cream and a big part of milky water. That is normal. It happens because the coconut milk separates inside the can. Take a whisk and stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Take about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the coconut milk out of the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the arrow root powder to the small portion of coconut milk in the small bowl. The arrowroot powder will make sure the base thickens once this is added to the bigger pan. Mix until it is perfectly combined and place aside for now.
- Return to the saucepan and add the sweetener, salt and vanilla. Gently heat over low to medium heat and stir until the sweetener is dissolved and all is well combined. Heat until warm but not boiling.
- Pour the arrow root powder and coconut mixture into the warm coconut milk and whisk. Increase the heat to medium and keep whisking - don't leave the pot now. Make sure to whisk it every now and then while making sure the heat is not too high. It is crucial to never let it come to a boil.
- In about 5-7 minutes the arrow root powder will thicken the mixture and you will be left with a beautiful ice cream base that only needs chilling in the fridge. You will know it is done when you can draw a line with a fingertip on the back of a wooden spoon.
- I chill my ice cream base in a small metal bowl and place a plate on top of it. You will have a small layer of skin forming on the top of the mixture. You can prevent that by stirring it every 10 minutes while it cools down. It is not necessary though because the processing in the ice cream machine usually takes care of it.
- The ice cream base should be fully cooled down before you pour it into your ice cream maker. Depending on the type of ice cream maker that you have you will have to cool its bowl a day in advance. Simply read the instructions of your ice cream maker. I bought an extra bowl with mine so I always have one stashed in the freezer for instant use.
- Once the base has cooled take it out of the fridge and pour it into your ice cream maker and run it for about 5 minutes or as long as the manual of your machine suggests.
If it should be too hard to scoop then let it sit on the counter for a few minutes.