Mocha Toffee Crunch Vegan Ice Cream

Mocha Toffee IceCream-2

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.

Mocha Toffee IceCream-1

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.

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.

CookieSplosionText

Citrus sherbet for summer

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Summer is really, truly here now! Sun and warm breezes, lots of cycling. Long enough days to stay up a little later and wake up a little earlier. Good times and sunshine call for a constant supply of frozen treats in this house, so I whipped up a batch of sherbet.

Citrus Sherbet-1

Shebet is nice because it has the refreshing qualities of a fruity sorbet, but a richer taste because of the “milk” added to it. It’s still lighter and slightly icier than full-milk ice cream, so I feel like it justifies eating some every night after supper.

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Citrus Sherbet-4

This specific recipe departs from the usual orange sherbet to include notes of lime and grapefruit, preventing it from being too sweet or cloying. This scoops beautifully right out of the freezer without needing to be thawed at all – all the more reason to consume it often!

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Happy summer!

Citrus Sherbet

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red grapefruit
  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 limes, or 1 lime + 1/4 cup bottled lime juice
  • 1 cup drained, tinned mandating orange segments
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup (like Rogers syrup or dark corn syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 + 1/4 cup almond milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Juice all of the citrus fruits.
  2. Shred the zest from: 1 orange, 1/2 lemon, 1/4 grapefruit, 1 lime.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree canned orange segments and citrus zest.
  4. Combine juice, zest mixture, syrup, and sugar in a large saucepan.
  5. Stir mixture over medium heat until sugar and syrup are dissolved.
  6. Add coconut milk and 1/2 cup almond milk and bring to a low simmer.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup almond milk and corn starch.
  8. While juice mixture is simmering, add in corn starch mixture and stir until glossy and slightly thickened, about three minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm.
  10. Stir in rum and vanilla, then store in fridge for at least two hours until completely cold.
  11. Freeze ice cream in your machine according to the manufacturer’s directions.

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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:

PC brand - little red paperclip

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!

ice cream closeup

The Challenge: Vegan Whipped Cream

I am inspired to try to make a vegan bûche do noël for Christmas this year. This is a French confection usually consisting of: a thin chocolate cake layer in an arch filled with frozen chantilly cream, ganache, praline, and chocolate sheets, sitting on a nutty cookie base, all glazed with chocolate. Sounds delicious! Sounds very un-vegan! Why did I decide to do this?

1. I had a batch of candied ginger chocolate ganache in my fridge last week that I made too soft for truffles,

2. Ever since reading the back-entry on Foodbeam I was kind of impressed, and

3. Annick and I are hosting the family dinner and I want to knock their socks off.

I’ll post all about the bûche if it works out, but right now my main focus is the frozen chantilly cream (sweetened whipped cream). It is hard to make a vegan substitute, and as many people can attest to, store-bought soy ice cream just doesn’t taste great.

At Chez Minty we  have been using whipped coconut cream as a substitute for whipped cream for a couple of years, with moderate success. It’s tasty on hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, and in strawberry shortcake. The problems are that is has a slightly bitter coconut taste, and it’s denser than dairy whipped cream. Not only that, but I had never before tried freezing it. I needed something that when frozen and then slightly thawed would come out like a softish ice cream.

I could make soy or almond milk ice cream, but I don’t have an ice cream maker, and freezing, mixing, freezing, and mixing   too laborious on top of an already labour-intensive dessert. I want something I can whip up, pour into the mould, and then freeze.

That said, my first attempt last week was with whipped coconut cream. I added a bit of rum, vanilla, lemon juice, and icing sugar. It tasted delicious, but not once I froze it. It hardened to a brick, and once it was semi-firm, a spoonful of it was far too greasy tasting. Think a spoonful of whipped, sweetened vegetable shortening.

Tonight I tried again.

I bought Silk coffee beverage, which is a soy-based creamer substitute, full of additives and stabilizers. (For those of you that are curious, on its own it tastes only mildly soy-like. It doesn’t taste as strongly as natural soymilks – it definitely has that processed taste. It’s not as fatty tasting as I was expecting, though it has 1g of fat per 15mL/tablespoon.)

Liquid Ingredients

Silk soy creamer, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla

My plan was to use the coconut cream as a fat base, and then add the Silk creamer to thin it out and add some protein and carbs to stabilise it. I think that in my first attempt, the coconut cream alone was too heavy for much air to be whipped in.

I decided to embark on my culinary experimentation in a scientific manner. I actually measured the volume of ingredients going in, the fraction removed for each sample (I couldn’t use volume as a gauge since that would change as I whipped it), and took pictures and notes.

I started with the same base, and added more Silk and/or sugar for each sample. I will check on my frozen samples tomorrow, but here is a summary of what I did tonight:

1. Coconut cream base:

1 can high-quality coconut milk, refrigerated >4 hours.

The Best Coconut Milk
Rooster Brand Gold Label Coconut Milk

15 mL good-quality rum

5 mL vanilla

1.25 mL lemon juice

30 mL icing (powdered) sugar

Remove the coconut milk from the fridge and open it without shaking. Spoon off the fatty cream from the top and put it in the COLD bowl of your mixer. This should be about the colour and consistency of shortening, and should comprise at least 90% of the can’s contents. Discard the watery liquid at the bottom of the can.

Stiff!

Stiff Peak in the whipped coconut cream base

Start whipping the coconut cream. Add the other ingredients, stopping to scrape down the bowl every now and then. Whip for about 2 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Total approximate volume: 410 mL

2. The additions:

Cold Silk creamer

Extra icing sugar

Add 40 mL Silk to the bowl and whip for 2 more minutes.

Total approximate volume: 450 mL
I removed 1/8 of the batch at this time, and called it Test #1.

Add 20 mL Silk to the bowl and whip for 2 more minutes.

Total approximate volume: 410 mL
I removed 1/5 of the batch at this time, and called it Test #2.

Add 5 mL icing sugar to the bowl and whip for 2 more minutes.

Total approximate volume: 325 mL
I removed 1/4 of the batch at this time, and called it Test #3.

Add 10 mL Silk to the bowl and beat for 2 more minutes.

Total approximate volume: 235 mL (I recorded this a little differently in my notes, so forgive me if it doesn’t quite add up here!)
I removed 1/3 of the batch at this time, and called it Test #4.

3. Observations:

Test #1

Test #1 had firm peaks

Test #1, 10% Silk

-Firm peaks, soft taste in my mouth, smooth on the tongue.

-Not overwhelmingly coconutty, nor bitter.

Test #2, 15% Silk

-Firm smooth peaks, soft taste in my mouth, a little airier, still smooth on my tongue.

-Lighter tasting than #1. Still a slight coconut flavour, but no hint of soy yet.

Test #3, 15% Silk, extra sugar and beating

-Slightly firm peaks, I would call this “fluffy” and a bit fragile. Very airy.

-Very light taste compared to original coconut cream, but comes apart a bit on my tongue.

-Similar to how I remember dairy whipped cream.

Test #4

By Test #4, things had gotten soft and airy

Test #4, 20% Silk

-Soft peaks, falls off my finger and inverted spatula.

-Tastes thin in my mouth and definitely comes apart on the tongue rather than coating it. I couldn’t really call this very creamy anymore.

-Looks a little “gritty,” sort of like soft peak meringue.

So far test #2 is my favourite. I’ll see for sure tomorrow!

Next Post: conclusion of the test after freezing and tasting

Ready for freezing

R-L Tests 1, 4, 2, and 3 ready to be wrapped up to go in the freezer

See you next time!