Friday, May 16, 2014

Creamy Hazelnut-Pecan Ice Cream:

Yes it's dairy free, but I don't think you need a food allergy to love this stuff. 


We've been on somewhat of a "food journey" for a while now. When you're trying to eat a diet that mostly consists of no processed sugar, no artificial ingredients, no dairy and no gluten, ice cream is all but impossible. Sure there are commercial dairy free ice creams, but in my opinion, the almond milk ones taste gritty and the coconut milk ones are too light and have a weird texture. So, what's there to do (because I am not about to deprive myself!)?

Buy an ice cream maker:

You can get a decent little ice cream maker for around $50 bucks. I have a Cuisine Art and it works great for us. 

Next, comb the internet looking for recipes that fit your needs (i.e., dairy free, sugar free, yada ya...).

The one common thing that I found with all of the delicious looking recipes, is that all of their pictures had these perfectly scooped balls of ice cream... And mine? Well it tasted great but it was more like soft serve. Not what I had in mind. Then if I'd try and freeze it, it would turn out brick hard and icy.  

So what's their secret?? And why is no one telling?? I think I've figured it out:


       *Gelatin absorbs the extra liquid and acts as a stabilizer: no ice crystals.

       *Alcohol doesn't freeze. Adding a little into your ice cream helps prevent it from becoming an ice cream brick in the freezer. I use a vanilla that's made with alcohol and problem solved. If yours doesn't, then throw in a little vodka. Calm down now, I'm talking less than a tablespoon;)

*Blender because I found that it adds air into the milk and that also helps in our solid-but not brick hard- ice cream attempt.

*The quality of milk is important too. If you want to avoid needing to put raw eggs yolks into your ice cream, you need something that's really high in fat. The brand of coconut milk I use is off the charts amazing. Sometimes the cans are literally coconut cream. I stumbled upon the brand Golden Star (at Wal-Mart of all places!). I hope that WholeFoods never catches wind of this brand because it's the first I've found that the only ingredients are water and coconut milk! That's it, nothing else. And the quality of this milk is absolutely unsurpassed by any other brand I've tried. It's the first coconut milk that I've been able to put the can in the fridge over night and then make whipped cream using the entire can-it's that thick and creamy. And it doesn't even separate. Did I mention that at $1.48, it's half the price of other coconut milks? Oh and bonus-the can is also BPA free! I want to hug these people. I went back and bought every can they had on the shelf. It's that good.
Ok, now on to the recipe. It is sooo good! You can play around with the amount of nuts, but I wouldn't add more until you've made it once.

  • 1 can of cold coconut milk (I refrigerate mine overnight. You don't have to do this, but it works better).
  • 1/4 Cup honey (I use a raw honey that's mild in flavor)
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla*
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Gelatin (I've only used Great Lakes and it has no flavor)
  • 1/4 Cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 Cup pecans (plus about 1/4 cup, give or take, of chopped pecans for later)
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
                                            *Add about 2 teaspoons of vodka if your vanilla is alcohol free

Start buy adding your hazelnuts, pecans and one pinch of salt into the blender and make somewhat of a nut butter:

You'll have to stop a few times and shake it around but in the end, it should look like this:

Next, add the vanilla and honey and blend. It'll be really thick.

Then add about half of the can of coconut milk and blend for a minute or two, until it's nice and smooth. It should look like this:

Now add the rest of the coconut milk, scrape the sides and blend for about 30 seconds or so. You don't want a bunch of froth, so you don't want to over do it on the blending the second time around. It should look like this:

Pull your ice cream bowl out of the freezer and follow your directions. I let mine go for about 5 minutes after it starts to look like soft serve:

After running for about 15-20 minutes in your ice cream maker, scoop it out of the ice cream maker bowl (do not leave it in there or you will either ruin your bowl getting it out, or you'll lose your batch of ice cream) and put it into a different freezer-safe bowl:

Stir in your chopped pecans, put a lid on it and put it back into the freezer for a few hours while it hardens up. 

I haven't had any trouble scooping mine out, but if yours is too hard straight out of the freezer, just let it sit on the counter for a couple of minutes.

This is by far the best dairy free ice cream I've ever tasted-let alone made! This is my personal recipe. If you try it and like it, feel free to share it!