Two ice cream recipes in a row, folks… I can’t even hide my obsession. Normally, I would try to stagger ice cream recipes in between some healthy smoothies, or maybe even a veggie-filled salad or savory dish, but by golly I can’t help it. I’m excited! Guys, it’s VEGAN FRENCH VANILLAAA!!!!!
It’s a classic. And while I love my multi flavored mocha-almond-caramel ice cream creations, and the cherry filled frozen treat from my last post, there is just something so amazing and nostalgic about a simple bowl of french vanilla ice cream.
My real excitement comes from finally cracking this recipe. Figuring out how to make a custard-y flavor of any kind in a vegan treat has opened up so many possibilities! In case you didn’t know, the difference between regular ol’ vanilla and French vanilla, is egg yolks. That’s why traditional French vanilla has a yellowish tone, and more complex custard flavor, compared to the creamy white color and flavor of plain vanilla.
In order to get that custard flavor, I had to use some, um, unusual ingredients. Some of you are going to think I’m crazy. What the heck is she thinking, putting those traditionally savory and/or just plain weird ingredients in ice cream?? Well, I might be off my rocker, it’s entirely possible, but it sure makes for some delicious French vanilla ice cream.
For the creamy base, I used my usual go-to combination of cashews and coconut milk, nothing crazy there. As for sweetness, dates and maple syrup always do the trick. In order to get that custard flavor however, I went out on a limb (and risked ruining an entire batch of ice cream and wasting a LOT of perfectly lovely ingredients) and added that fabulously egg-y combination of nutritional yeast and Indian black salt (kala namak). These are the same ingredients which give new products like The Vegg vegan egg yolk and Follow Your Heart VeganEgg egg replacer their convincing flavor.
You’re going to have to trust me here when I say the results are absolutely delicious and taste so much like the French vanilla ice cream I remember from my pre-vegan days. It’s absolutely delicious with my 4 Ingredient Caramel Sauce, but I especially liked it blended with a little chilled decaf or herbal coffee for an quick and easy coffee shake. Ohhhh so good, friends!
I would love to know if you give this one a try! Let me know in the comments, and be sure to tag your photos #feedingyourbeauty on Instagram.
Vegan French Vanilla Ice Cream – Dairy free, Egg free, Refined Sugar Free
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for about 4 hours, rinsed and drained
- Cream from the top of 1 can of full fat coconut milk (save the liquid at the bottom for smoothies)
- 1 1/2 cups dairy free milk (I used macadamia milk)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 large medjool dates, pitted (or 2 more tbsp of maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 – 3 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 – 2 pinches of black salt/kala namak (I buy mine at a local Indian food market, or you can buy it online)
- 2 or 3 pinches of turmeric, for color (optional)
Blend everything in a high speed blender until very smooth and silky. Taste, and add more sweetener, or more nutritional yeast and black salt (for more custard flavor). Blend and taste (and add) until you have the level of flavor and sweetness you prefer. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, then run through your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pour into a freezer safe container and cover (I used a large rectangular glass food storage container with a lid). Freeze until firm enough to scoop.
Alternate instructions, using a Vitamix or other high speed blender:
Blend everything as above, then pour into several silicone ice cube trays. Freeze until just solid, then empty the cubes into your Vitamix. Blend, using the tamper, until you have a soft serve ice cream texture. Pour and smooth into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm enough to scoop, 1-2 hours.
If you don’t have a high speed blender, I have some ideas. First, substitute 1/2 – 3/4 cup of raw cashew butter for the cashews and use extra maple syrup to sweeten instead of dates. Blend everything in a regular blender or food processor, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours. If you have an ice cream maker, follow the original directions at the top. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, try freezing in ice cube trays and then use a food processor to blend the slightly thawed cubes into a soft serve texture (make sure your food processor is strong/new enough to handle it!). Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until firm enough to scoop. Or you could try freezing the mixture in popsicle molds (and then dip them in chocololate, yum!).