Mocha Toffee Crunch Vegan Ice Cream

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Happy summer! It’s past Solstice now, and alternates here between pouring rain and hot hot sunshine. Which is OK – Edmonton in the summertime is pretty nice. I must be adapting to the heat this year, as only a few times so far have I felt like I would melt if I didn’t watermelon or a popsicle or ice cream into me ASAP.

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If you only and up making ice cream rarely this summer, this flavour is definitely a good choice: cool chocolate perked up by a touch of coffee flavour, contrasting with bits of crunchy toffee.

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I’ve included a toffee recipe that results in a candy that may seem rather oily, as that acts as the candy’s “raincoat” and prevents it from softening or getting soggy when mixed in to the ice cream. It’s a nice mix of contrasts and a lovely treat on a hot (or cold!) day.

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Mocha Toffee Crunch Vegan Ice Cream

By Agent Minty.

Ingredients: 

Ice cream base:

  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1c white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 2 cups canned coconut milk

Toffee Bits:

  • 1/3 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 3 Tbsp Earth Balance or other hard margarine
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1.5 tsp water

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together corn starch, brown sugar, cocoa, 1 cup white sugar, salt, and 2/3 cup of the almond milk in a large saucepan. Heat on medium.
  2. Mix the instant coffee with about 3 Tbs of the remaining almond milk. Add to mixture in saucepan.
  3. Keep stirring mixture until sugar is dissolved and it starts to simmer. Turn down heat to medium-low.
  4. Keep stirring while slowly adding remaining almond milk, then coconut milk.
  5. Cook mixture until slightly thickened and glossy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. after cooled slightly, refrigerate for at least three hours.
  7. Toast almonds in a ~350F oven for 2-5 minutes, until lightly golden, then remove to cool, and chop finely.
  8. Melt Earth Balance and oil in a small saucepan, then add sugar, syrup, water, and salt.
  9. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with aluminum foil and tossing chopped almonds onto an area approximately 12×12 inches.
  10. Stir syrup on medium heat until sugar starts to dissolve, then add a candy thermometer and cook, undisturbed, until the syrup reaches Hard Crack stage (300-309 Fahrenheit).
  11.  Give candy one quick stir with a spatula, then pour over the almonds on the cookie sheet. Use the spatula to sweep any extra almonds onto the toffee area. You will get a thin puddle of candy smaller than the cookie sheet itself.
  12. Allow the toffee to cool for at least one hour before breaking into slivers.
  13. Freeze ice cream base according to instructions for your ice cream machine. Add in toffee bits for the last minute of mixing.
  14. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze overnight before serving.
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Easy peaches-n-cream scones

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So, it’s full-on holiday season for a lot of people around here. Many parties and so on. We had an fun party this weekend where a lot of sweet friends came over and became even sweeter after being coated in royal icing and candy to decorate gingerbread houses.

I don’t know about you, but I can feel pretty tired the next day, even if I haven’t had much to drink (probably comes from no longer being in my 20s, too). A lazy post-party Sunday can call for a slightly rich breakfast with very little effort. That’s when you should make these scones.

Peaches and Cream Scones

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 12 large scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 1 Tbsp  (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (about 130g) drained canned peach segments, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 6 Tbsp coconut cream from a can
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) cold Earth Balance or hard margarine
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) shortening
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine peaches, milk, coconut cream, and extracts.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut fat into the dry ingredients until the crumbs are the size of peas.
  5. Pour wet ingredients in and fold/stir gently until everything is combined. Dough will be quite wet!
  6. Plop the dough on the cookie sheet approximately 1/3-cup at a time, with 2 inches between each mound. Divide any remaining dough equally between all 12 scones.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over scones.
  8. Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating sheet once.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Triple Cookie-Splosion Ice Cream

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Wow, it’s been hot around here. Sleeping with no sheets and wet hair to cool down, going through a litre of water on bike rides, running through the garden hose’s spray like a little kid kind of days.

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You know how they say not to grocery shop hungry? Well, you also shouldn’t bike home on a hot day past an Oreo McFlurry billboard. Two days in a row. Or you’ll start getting ideas. This delicious monster came about from my fantasizing while finishing my ride home.

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The ice cream base is your classic nostalgia white vanilla cream, but the three cookie types – oreos, peanut butter cookie dough, and spekuloos – balance it nicely and add enough crunch and chew to it. The spekuloos do double duty by also adding a mild bit of nutmeg-ish spice. Spekuloos are a Dutch crunchy store-bought cookie, also called windmill, Lotus, or Biscoff cookies. If you can’t find any, use store-bought gingersnaps. It’s important to use ones that are a bit “greasy”, as a low-fat or digestive cookie would go soggy in the ice cream.

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Unlike my previous recipe, this ice cream is not instantaneous – the cooked mixture needs to cool completely before freezing, and then the churned mixture should be frozen for several hours before scooping. However, it scoops beautifully straight out of the freezer, and has a wonderfully soft texture. It’s well worth the wait.

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Triple Cookie-Splosion Ice Cream

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

Ice cream base:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup almond milk, divided
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 Tbsp of alcohol (I chose half vodka and half amaretto)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cookie parts:

  • 3 large spekuloos cookies
  • 4 oreo cookies
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • pinch of salt, two pinches if peanut butter is unsalted.
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped-up chocolate chips

Instructions:

Make ice cream base:

  1. Whisk together sugar, salt, coconut milk, and 1 1/2 cup almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once sugar has dissolved, bring to a medium simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together corn starch and 1/4 cup almond milk in a small cup.
  4. Pour corn starch mixture into simmering base, while whisking continuously.
  5. Rinse cup with remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk and pour into the base.
  6. Whisk continuously while bringing back to a simmer.
  7. Cook while whisking for two more minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and cool at boom temperature for 15-30 minutes.
  9. Stir in alcohol and vanilla.
  10. Transfer to a bowl or similar and cover surface of cream directly with plastic wrap.
  11. Refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours until completely cold.
  12. Transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Prepare add-ins:

  1. Chop up cookies into small bite-sized pieces (about 1 cm across) and place in the freezer to chill for a few minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Cream together all remaining ingredients except flour and chocolate chips. I used a soup spoon in a small bowl.
  3. Stir in flour and then chocolate chips.
  4. Form cookie dough into finger-thick logs and place in refrigerator to chill while ice cream is mixing.
  5. Once ice cream base is frozen, plop approximately 1/5 of it into your storage container, and sprinkle with 1/5 of the chopped cookies. Tear off four or five short pieces of cookie dough and add on top.
  6. Continue filling container by alternating ice cream and cookies, gently mixing a few times with a butter knife to ensure filling is more randomly distributed here. I found I only used half of the cookie dough, but you may use more based on your preferences.
  7. Freeze for at least three hours before serving.

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Instant Gratification Strawberry Ice Cream

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Want some ice cream immediately? This recipe is great because as long as you have a freezer canister already frozen (I keep mine in the freezer at all times just in case), you can have ice cream from start to finish in about half an hour.

This recipe makes a strawberry ice cream pretty much identical to the stuff you’d find sold by the scoop at your local corner store – sweet, fruity, and bright pink. It uses the same type of secret ingredient that my tiger tail ice cream employed. One more ingredient note: if you don’t have a can of high fat coconut milk/cream waiting in the refrigerator, don’t worry. Just use the lower volume of almond milk to compensate for the extra water that will be in the can of coconut milk.

This is your sweet quick fix when it’s 30 degrees outside and all you want for dinner is ice cream. It’s made with staples most people already have in the fridge or pantry. And it comes out of the ice cream maker firm enough to eat right away. Now you have even fewer excuses to wait!

Instant Gratification Strawberry Ice Cream

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes about 3 cups of ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can’s worth of coconut cream, watery portion drained off if you have chilled it beforehand.
  • 1 1/4 cups of almond milk, or 3/4 cup almond milk if the coconut milk was not separated.
  • 1/2 tsp strawberry Kool-Aid powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup strawberry jam

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to blender in listed order. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer to the canister of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the directions.
  3. Ice cream should get quite firm within about 25 minutes.
  4. Store any leftovers in the freezer.

Happy Canada Day!

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I hope you get the chance to enjoy the day off (if you’re Canadian). I’m working in the lab to collect some data in the morning, then heading to a beer tasting with Mme. Minty and her friends.

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Here’s a quick un-recipe for a red-and-white treat that’s perfect for celebrating our national holiday.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

  • One batch of scones or quick biscuits. I recommend making my scone recipe, but adding an extra 2 Tbsp of sugar to the dry ingredients.
  • One can of coconut milk, mixed with a little non-dairy creamer or milk. You can use my whipped cream recipe and a stand mixer, or toss it all into a canister-style whipper, like I did for these pictures.
  • Lots of sliced fresh strawberries mixed with a bit of white sugar. I use 1 Tbsp per 1 cup of sliced strawberries, but adjust to your taste.

Instructions:

  1. Bake the biscuits and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the strawberries and sugar and set aside at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. Prepare your whipped coconut cream.
  4. Assemble by halving your biscuits, and layering them with strawberries and whipped cream.
  5. Repeat previous step until everything is gone and you have a bit of a stomach ache.

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Vegan Greek No-gurt and Granola

Closeup Vegan Yogurt

I am exceptionally proud of this recipe. This will be a game-changer to those of you who love the creaminess of yogurt but choose to go animal-free. This is better than the chalky stuff that was available six years ago. This is creamier than the lumpy cultured soy product that’s been around for years. This is on par with the current coconut and almond yogurts, but with less sugar, refined and plant-based starches, and way more protein.

Don’t believe me? See the bottom of this post for a detailed nutritional comparison…. I won’t put it here to bore the people just looking for vegan food porn.

I’m working on a cultured version right now, but this stuff tastes just as good anyway.

Imagine it layered with fruit and cereal for breakfast. Smeared onto tacos instead of sour cream. Swirled into soups for awesome creaminess. Dive in!

No-gurt and granola

I have also included a protein-packed granola recipe to go with it. It uses a hearty mix of seeds, grains, and nuts to keep you full.

A few notes about special ingredients:

The yogurt uses agar-agar, which I also used in my previous marshmallow recipe. This is an animal-free gelatine-like product, commonly used in asian desserts. It can be found at asian grocery stores, or at organic foods stores. You can buy flakes or powder. I prefer powder, as it is more precise to measure. My measurements are using powder, so if you can only get flakes, go by weight. It is assumed that you can use 3x the volume when subbing flakes for powder, but I have not personally tried this.

I use Soya Flakes, also called Rolled Soya, as a major ingredient in the granola. I’ve seen it online from Indian import stores, and from a british muesli store. If you’re Canadian and can get to a Bulk Barn, this is your best bet. If you can’t find soya flakes, no sweat. Use more old-fashioned oats, or try rolled Kamut flakes for a heartier crunch. I haven’t posted nutritional information for this recipe, as I suspect everyone’s choices will make macronutrient values vary.

Vegan Greek No-Gurt

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package traditional tofu (340g), not pressed
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream from a can – if you want less fat, use light canned coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp +1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp (4g) agar-agar powder

Instructions:

  1. Puree tofu in a food processor or high-speed blender for at least one minute.
  2. Stir, scraping down sides of bowl, and process for at least another minute, until it is completely smooth to touch and taste.
  3. Add coconut milk, 3 Tbsp of almond milk, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  4. Process for one more minute, scrape down bowl, and puree for another 10 seconds.
  5. Whisk agar powder into remaining 1/4 cup almond milk in a small saucepan.
  6. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a gentle boil.
  7. Turn down heat and whisk continuously for another two minutes until the agar is completely dissolved.
  8. Take a spatula and scoop out approximately 1/4 of the tofu mixture into the agar mixture. Whisk well.
  9. Heat mixture for another 30 seconds, whisking continuously, then add another scoop of tofu mixture to the pot as before.
  10. Remove agar-tofu mixture from the heat. Start running food processor.
  11. Slowly transfer the warmed mixture into the running food processor.
  12. Process for another two minutes, until smooth and slightly cooled.
  13. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 20-40 minutes (I just place the bowl of the food processor straight into the fridge).
  14. Once the mixture has solidified, return to the machine and process for 30-60 seconds until smooth.
  15. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to ten days.

High-Protein Granola – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2.5 Tbsp fine, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 6.5 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 roughly chopped raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup rolled soya flakes
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (If not vegan, can substitute half volume for creamed honey)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Combine oats, soya, coconut, seeds, and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, spices, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.
  4. Microwave oil mixture on medium power for 30-60 seconds, until it is runny.
  5. Stir liquid mixture briefly, then pour over dry oat mixture.
  6. Mix with a wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are lightly coated.
  7. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until mixture is fragrant and nuts/seeds are lightly toasted.
  9. Cool for an hour before breaking granola into small clumps.
  10. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

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 Nutritional Comparison

My No-gurt:

125 mL (1/4 of recipe) has:

  • 120 calories, 7g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 7 g protein, 13% RDA Calcium, 10% RDA Iron

A popular brand of coconut yogurt (using full-fat coconut cream):

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 100 calories, 3.6 g total fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 16.4 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 1.4 g protein, 25% RDA Calcium, 4.2% RDA Iron

A popular brand of almond yogurt:

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 71 calories, 4.3 g total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 9.3 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 2.1 g protein, 28.6% RDA Calcium, 2.8% RDA Iron

A popular brand of cultured soy product:

125 mL (calculated from 170 mL serving on label) has:

  • 107 calories, 2.1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 17.9 g carbs, 10.7 g sugar, 3.57 g protein, 10.7% RDA Calcium, 1.1% RDA Iron

Yes, mine has more calories and more fat than the others, but it tastes awesome… and the protein is great if (like me) you’re trying to put on muscle in the gym!

Christmas Ice Cream – Candy Cane Crackle

Canadian readers will probably be familiar with President’s Choice Candy Cane ice cream. It came out in 1995 and was immediately my favourite ice cream ever. Rich vanilla ice cream with chunks of candy cane and ribbons of hard chocolate that crackled when you scooped some out. Our whole family looked forward to eating it for dessert in December. It underwent a redesign about five years ago and hasn’t been the same since – now the ice cream is minty, there are red and green globs of candy instead of broken candy canes, and the ice cream itself isn’t as rich. I don’t have a picture of the old version, but here’s what it looks like now:

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I have tweaked the recipe over the past two years until it is as creamy and crackly as I remember. It is with pride that I’m sharing it with you now… hopefully it will be a Christmas favourite with your family, too!

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Christmas Crackle Ice Cream

The vanilla base is modified from the French Vanilla ice cream in Hannah Kaminsky’s Vegan a la Mode, but the rest of the ideas are my own. Note that this recipe makes a large batch of ice cream – lots to share!

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 Tbsp Bird’s custard powder (for whiter ice cream, use half custard powder and half corn starch)
  • 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 can gold (high-fat) coconut milk, left in a cool place to separate
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla paste, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp vodka
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, or shortening
  • 6 Tbsp chocolate chips
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of crushed green and red candy canes (red only is fine, the addition of green is just prettier to me)

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the custard powder and 1 cup of milk in a saucepan until thoroughly dissolved.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Slowly warm the mixture on low to medium heat, whisking the whole time.
  4. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring heat to medium.
  5. Add in remaining almond milk and salt.
  6. Stir until the mixture thickens.
  7. Meanwhile, scoop out fatty portion of coconut milk (should be 1 1/4 to 1 2/3 cups) and microwave for 30 seconds to soften.
  8. Once the mixture on the stove is the consistency of a light pudding, take off the heat.
  9. Stir in coconut milk and vanilla.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  11. Add in vodka.
  12. Cool for at least two hours, stirring occasionally to break up the “skin” that forms.  If you forget to stir, just whiz the mixture for a few seconds with an immersion blender before freezing.IMG_2533
  13. Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze until the ice cream is quite stiff.
  14. Meanwhile, melt together the chocolate chips and coconut oil
  15. Add the crushed candy canes and mix in the ice cream maker for only about one minute. Adding the candy canes too early will allow them to bleed – you’ll get grey ice cream!
  16. Scoop out about half a cup of ice cream, drizzle melted chocolate in thin strings on top. Aim for thin layers!IMG_2543
  17. Repeat until all of the ice cream is used up. You’ll have a little chocolate left over.
  18. Freeze for at least two hours.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas!

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