Mmmmmm….. Ice Cream.
Harvesting just four cups of shelled, raw almonds from the almond tree in my backyard certainly got my creative juices flowing! Last week I made some almond cheese, this past weekend I made apple muse with some my son using homemade almond milk, and today I am making almond milk ice cream!
For someone who does not eat animal products of any type (no dairy or eggs), this is a wonderful way to make ice cream. Or for those that worry about Teotwawki scenarios (the end of the world as we know it), this would be a great treat (as long as you still have a freezer going) without a lactating mammal around. For me, I just wanted to try it out.
I did a lot of research online and found quite a few recipes for almond milk ice cream! Some included regular cow’s milk (or cream) to make it more creamy (not necessary) and others included coconut milk (a good alternative, but not very sustainable).
So, as I have done many times in the past, I gathered several recipes that looked good and tweaked them into something that sounded good to me! First I found this recipe for Vegan Almond Milk Ice Cream. It sounded really good, but two tablespoons of sugar sounded like a lot – at least to me. Then I found another recipe called Voluminous Vanilla Ice Cream, but again was bothered a bit by the addition of so much sugar – 1-2 tablespoons per serving? But the addition of salt – just a smidgen – intrigued me. Another recipe I found was Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream. This one added egg yolks and xantham gum, the latter of which I do not have hanging around my kitchen right now.
So, after a day of researching dozens of website recipes, I learned that you can make almond ice cream with just plain almond milk, though it might be a bit “thin”. However, to thicken the ice cream and make it a bit creamier, the addition of coconut milk and/or a banana will do the trick. And, since both almond milk and bananas are naturally sweet, the addition of sugar isn’t really necessary. Cool.
I decided to dive right in. I have almonds, so I can make almond milk. I have a couple of bananas on my countertop getting kinda brown and spotty (don’t judge me please), and I have some wild blackberries in my freezer that are calling my name. So, that’s settled. I am going to make almond, banana, blackberry ice cream. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Here we go ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
First things first – make the almond milk!
I soaked one cup of whole, fresh, unpasturized almonds overnight in water in the refrigerator. This is supposed to hydrate them so that the resulting milk is creamier, but I have made almond milk before without hydrating the almonds first, with barely a noticeable difference. To make the almond milk I added 1 cup of hydrated almonds and 2 cups of water to the blender and processed until the almonds were pretty much pulverized! You can use more almonds for a thicker milk or more water for thinner milk,
but 1 cup of almonds to 2 cups of water is pretty much the standard recipe for almond milk. Strain the milk through the a strainer to get 1-1/2 cups of almond milk. If you don’t have enough milk, just put a little more water into the blender with the remainder of the almond meal and process again. Then strain. You should have enough almond milk now.
To blanch or not to blanch – that is the question. Either way. I have found that when you soak your almonds for at least 12 hours, the skins slip off pretty easily without blanching. If you make almond milk with fresh almonds and leave the skin on, the milk is strained off the pulp anyway and doesn’t effect the color much.
So, do whatever floats your boat!
DON’T THROW OUT THE ALMOND PULP!!!!! Spread out on a cookie sheet and let it dry, either in a dehydrator, low oven or your kitchen countertop. Mix it around as it dries so it doesn’t form big huge clumps. This makes a wonderful addition to pie crusts, quick breads like banana bread, fried chicken coatings, etc.. The uses are endless! Here’s an idea: toast the almond pulp to bring out more of that “almondy” flavor, then make chocolate truffles and roll them in the toasted almond pulp! Mmmmm…. sounds delicious doesn’t it!
Once the almond milk was made I put it back in the blender (I cleaned out all of the pulp first) and threw in a banana. Oh – and a smidgen of a pinch of sea salt. This was blended until smooth.
That’s when I added in about 1/2 cup of partially thawed wild blackberries and blended again, blending just enough to get some purple color, but leaving the berries partially intact.
I put my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Bowl in the freezer last night, so it would be good and cold, and with the machine running, the ice cream mixture was poured into the Ice Cream Maker Bowl. No, I have not been paid or rewarded in any way from Kitchen Aid to say this. I wish! I let it go for about 10 minutes, until I could see that the ice cream was pretty much set up. This is just a judgement call – you have to experiment a bit to see when you think your ice cream is finished.
The ice cream is then put into another container and then into the freezer to harden up a bit more. You could serve it right out of the ice cream maker, but it isn’t really hardened up yet and melts really fast at this point. It’s better off in the freezer for at least an hour or so. If you need to store the ice cream longer, make sure you put it in an airtight container, otherwise the ice cream could pick up some funky smells from your freezer.
How does it taste? Fantastic – especially if you like banana ice cream. It has a distinct flavor of banana overlying blackberries. Can’t really taste any almonds. It is really smooth and creamy though, so I have no problems with the texture. The next time I do this (tomorrow?) I am going to try just using the almond milk (no banana) so I don’t get such a pronounced flavor of banana. Or, maybe not use such a ripe banana. Or I could go with the flow and make Banana Chocolate Chip or Black Walnut Banana ice cream. The possibilities are endless!
You should really give this a try. Then, come back and tell me what you think. You may have some suggestions or a better recipe – or both! I want to know about your success and your failures – good and bad – so we can all learn more!
UPDATE: I have been experimenting with making Frozen Yogurt from Almond Milk Yogurt. If you would like to read about my process and how to make Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt (I think it’s better than the Almond Milk Ice Cream) you should click HERE.
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