Did you know that the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States is Vanilla? According to the NDP Group’s National Eating Trends In-Home Database, 27.8% of people favor vanilla ice cream above all other flavors!
I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for vegan ice cream. I personally have a real affinity for all-things dairy, but sadly a bunch of my friends simply cannot eat it. So, I caved, and made vegan vanilla bean ice cream. The texture was perfect. The flavor was a little sweet, but I was so impressed at how beautifully it thickened (considering it was made with soy milk, which is essentially water-based) that it overshadowed the sweetness of this treat.
This vegan vanilla treat is the second layer in my upcoming Watermelon Bombe. You know, watermelon rind is green, then it has a white layer (name, anyone? is it pith? rind?) and then the actual watermelon fruit itself. So hold on to your hats folks because this means that the Watermelon Bombe is going to be revealed very soon!
A few months ago I made Soy Latte Ice Cream and while the flavor was terrific, the ice cream was a little icy and watery. I blamed the poor consistency on the fact that it was my first foray into vegan treats, and knew that I would have to try again. This vegan ice cream was my chance for redemption and ka-ching, I hit the jackpot. Had it not worked, I would have still blogged about it, but would have been a major whiny pants!
A little ice cream lesson if you will:
Fat does not freeze, fat is good (well, sort of…please don’t take that out of context!) and fat is smooth and creamy. This is why “full-fat” aka cream-based ice creams are, well, creamier. If you try substituting skim milk or other lower fat dairy products in place of half-and-half, whipping cream or even whole milk, you’ll notice that the next day, the ice cream is rock hard and you’ll actually need an ice pick to eat it.
Well, water based products (like soy milk) tend not to have as much fat, and therefore get icier and freeze harder. Egg yolks could be of assistance in the creaminess department due to their emulsifying properties, but then this recipe would not have been vegan.
So, the general consensus is to add 2 tbs of arrow root flour to the mixture. Let me tell you, it thickens beautifully and makes the ice cream ever so creamy. It was honestly like magic.
Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted from The Vegan Scoop
2 cups soy milk*
1 cup soy creamer
1 tbs vanilla bean paste (I would suggest using 3/4 of a tbs next time)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs arrow root flour
*I used 1 cup of vanilla soy milk and 1 cup of regular soy milk. I would not recommend this as it was too sweet, but I had it in the house and didn’t want it to go to waste. Next time I’ll only use regular soy milk. You live and you learn.
Mix 2tbs of arrow root flour with 1/2 cup of soy milk and set aside.
In the meantime, heat the soy creamer, remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy milk and sugar in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edges. Do not let it boil. Once hot, remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the soy milk and arrow root flour mixture. You will notice that the mixture begins to thicken, almost like when adding milk to an instant pudding mixture. Continue stirring until the entire mixture is blended and then add in the tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.
Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating at least 2 hours. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll notice that this ice cream will churn faster than non-egg based recipes but on par with custards. Remove from the machine and eat or put in a freezer safe container to store.
The Verdict: Other than the fact that this recipe was too sweet (mea culpa…I should not have used vanilla soy milk) it was still pretty yummy. Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of dairy-free ice cream because that’s not really ice cream thankyouverymuch but all things considered this was really quite good! Being that this was made with soy milk (and not coconut milk or cashews) it had a slight soy aftertaste, but that’s to be expected. And like I said earlier, the texture was perfecto!
Stay tuned for the watermelon bombe extravaganza…