Vegan Vanilla Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Such a light and yummy treat for the tail end of summer

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Basic instructions follow…

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The cookies in this ice cream are a simple vegan shortbread, made with 1 c. flour, 1/4 c. coconut sugar, 1/4 c. coconut oil, and a little sea salt and vanilla extract, that are then baked at 350 for about ten minutes. But you can use any cookies (or cake or brownie scraps) that you have on hand. I really wanted a vanilla cookies and cream, so I made a quick batch just for this.

The ice cream base is even simpler. Two cans of Trader Joe’s coconut cream, 1/4 c. maple syrup, a little sea salt and some vanilla bean paste. You can use any brand of coconut milk or cream, but one thing I like about the TJ brand for ice cream is that it has xantham gum in it. That way, you don’t need to add any extra thickeners. So if you use a coconut milk that is 100% straight up coconut, you might want to add about a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot starch (or about 1/8 teaspoon of xantham gum) to the base.

If you are not a strict vegan, try using honey instead of maple syrup for the sweetner. Not to keep plugging Trader Joe’s or anything, but I really like their organic raw honey in ice cream. It has a mellow, almost caramel-like flavor and adds a nice texture to the finished product. Incidentally, you can use regular sugar, but I find that liquid sweetners are better in ice cream recipes.

I often come across vegan ice cream recipes that don’t cook the base before freezing, but I am not a fan of that method. The major reason is that cooking lightens the coconut flavor, yet it also smooths out the texture, so the end result will have a creamier consistency, more remnicent of traditional dairy based ice creams.

After cooking the base, let it cool for about two or three hours before freezing it. A lot of recipes claim that you should refridgerate the base overnight, but I don’t think that’s totally necessary, especially when making small batches like this. Just make sure that the ice cream bowl you’re using to freeze the base is completely frozen.

I use a KitchenAid ice cream maker. It usually takes about fifteen to twenty minutes of churning. Once the ice cream starts to rise to the top and has the consistency of soft serve, it’s ready to be packed up and frozen. At this point, I add the cookies by swirling them in.

Now is when you really ought to wait for it to freeze overnight before eating. While that soft serve consistency is amazing when the ice cream is first frozen, the cookies are still hard and crunchy.

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