Last month, when I was experimenting with my creamy raw macadamia nut milk, I came up with this luscious ice cream. It’s smooth, rich, and chocolatey with hints of coffee flavor, chunks of almond and dark chocolate, and ribbons of homemade caramel. Despite all this decadence, it is free from dairy (obviously) and refined sugars, obtaining it’s perfect sweet, caramel flavor only with dates. While it is still a special treat, it is far healthier than the traditional ice cream that will begin grabbing the attention of the masses as the weather starts warming up.
Now you know I’d rather walk on my lips than to criticize anybody, but if you’re looking to eat for health and beauty, traditional dairy ice cream is probably the worst thing you could eat. That’s right dairy ice cream, I’m giving you the stink eye. If ethical reasons aren’t enough to keep you away from the stuff, consider what dairy might be doing to your looks (not to mention your insides). If your goal is clear, glowing skin, traditional ice cream is made of two major ingredients that happen to be two of the major acne aggravators: dairy and refined sugar.
The famous Harvard Nurse’s Health Study (summarized here) found a direct link between dairy consumption and acne. This is due to several factors, the major one being that milk is loaded with hormones. And that’s including organic milk. A typical glass of dairy milk has over 60 hormones (even if it’s raw, organic, and the cows weren’t given growth hormones). It makes sense, milk is the secretion of cows mammary glands, and just like human animals, mammals have to be pregnant or recently given birth to lactate. This requires high levels of hormones. If you’ve ever breastfed or been close to someone who has, you understand the surge of hormones that goes along with pregnancy and lactation. I always find it interesting when individuals fear tofu and soybean products and avoid it like the plague because of “hormones” and then consume animal products, which contain actual hormones (as opposed to plant phytoestrogens, which act much differently in our bodies) but that is a whole other post! I digress. Dairy milk also effects blood sugar, causing a huge spike in insulin, much like drinking a glass of coca-cola. Now add a bunch of refined sugar, which we know causes inflammation, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances, (and subsequent acne, wrinkles, and slack skin, not to mention chronic disease) and that giant bowl of conventional dairy chocolate ice cream isn’t looking so good anymore.
Or maybe it is. I mean, really, even when we know a food isn’t doing our health or looks any favors, if we’ve grown up enjoying it, have happy memories associated with it, and its cold, creamy, sweet, and satisfying, then heck yes, it still looks pretty darn good. My daughter seemingly came out of the womb knowing that ice cream was a good idea. Maybe it’s just ingrained in our DNA. So, what to do if you’re an ice cream lover, but don’t want to load your body with sugar and dairy? Well first of all, I highly recommend setting aside about $30 for an inexpensive ice cream maker. You can have so much fun with this little machine; we use ours all year round. There are ways to make vegan ice cream without a machine, as well. Check out this awesome guide for tips to making raw ice cream from Nouveau Raw, including ideas for freezing your ice cream without a machine.
Making your own ice cream can be as simple as blending frozen fruit in your food processor or blender to make a naturally sweet frosty treat (as in my nectarine strawberry nice cream and apple spice nice cream) or add just a few more steps to create a traditional tasting ice cream confection. Although there are thankfully many dairy free vegan ice creams on the market now, I personally prefer the creaminess of fresh homemade ice cream. Making it yourself also means you have control over what goes in it.
This spring and summer treat yourself to something extra special, and try your hand at making your own healthier ice cream!
Vegan Mocha Caramel Ice Cream with Almonds and Chocolate Chunks
Makes about 3-4 servings
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts (or sub cashews)
- 1 + 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1/4 cup of cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp of Dandy Blend (for coffee flavor, can leave out or sub in a shot of espresso)
- 1/4 cup of homemade date caramel (plus more for swirling in. You’ll want to make the entire recipe’s worth)
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp of almond extract
- pinch of sea salt
Add ins: 1/3 cup date caramel, 1/4 cup chopped vegan dark chocolate, 1/4 cup chopped raw or roasted almonds
- Soak cashews and macadamia nuts for 2 hours in filtered water. Drain and rinse.
- Add all ingredients to your blender (high speed blenders work best). Blend on high until very smooth. Pour mixture into a container with a lid and place in the fridge for a couple of hours. You could leave it overnight too.
- Pour the chilled mixture through your ice cream maker, following the manufacturers instructions, adding in the optional chocolate, almonds, and extra caramel after about 10 minutes. After about 20 minutes or so, you’ll have soft serve textured ice cream. I chose to freeze this for a couple hours in a glass, lidded container, for a scoopable ice cream, or you can eat it right away.
- Ice cream is best eaten the same day or next day. It will lose its creamy texture after a couple of days in the freezer.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, see my link in the post for tips for making ice cream in your freezer without a machine.
These will also make yummy ice cream pops, if you have a popsicle mold.
Do you make your own ice cream at home? What’s your favorite flavor??
Links and resources:
raw vegan ice cream making tips: http://nouveauraw.com/raw-recipe-templates-and-development/how-to-make-raw-ice-creams/