Cookbook Review: Vegan Ice Cream, Jeff Rogers (2014)

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Should be Called “(Mostly) Raw Vegan Ice Cream”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through the Blogging for Books program.)

I’ve been vegetarian since 1996, and went vegan in the mid-aughts. Along with vegan pizza, vegan ice cream is my absolute favorite – and have tumblogs dedicated to each to prove it. I own one ice cream maker (a Cuisinart Ice-45) and covet a second one (the KitchenAid Stand Mixer & Ice Cream Maker Attachment). No fewer than five vegan ice cream cookbooks line the bookshelves in my pantry. I’ve been allergic to milk my entire life (technically it’s galactose – milk sugar – that’s the problem, but same diff), and have never been able to have “real” ice cream. Growing up as I did in the 1980s, I still remember the Dark Days of vegan processed food: when vegetarianism was fringe and my mom bought my dad’s meatless links in the basement of the local Unitarian Church, and I was ecstatic to have two (TWO!) vegan ice cream options in the mainstream grocer’s freezer: Rice Dream (*shudder*) and Tofutti (which will forever occupy a special place in my heart).

I’m a bit of a vegan ice cream connoisseur, is what I’m saying.

I purchased Jeff Rogers’s Vice Cream way back in 2009, but as of yet haven’t tried a single recipe. For whatever reason (the abundance of cashews? the insistence on juicing everything? the multiple steps and machines required for each recipe?), none of the recipes really appealed to me. So when I spotted a new and revised edition – now called Vegan Ice Cream – on Blogging for Books, I decided to give it a try, in the hope that Rogers had tweaked his formulas. As it turns out, the updated edition contains twenty or so new recipes – along with the seventy originals – but all use the same bases found in Vice Cream. Hopes, dashed.

Just scanning through the book, I had my doubts. From my experience using cashews to make vegan cheeses, I could tell that they alone wouldn’t thicken the batter substantially, and certainly not to the pudding-like consistency needed to make a smooth, dairy-like ice cream. Nevertheless, I did experiment with two recipes prior to writing this review: Chai and Chocolate Pecan.

(More below the fold…)

Chocolate Coconut Crunch Ice Cream

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

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This recipe has a kind of funny backstory: I tried to whip up some coconut milk whipped cream, but didn’t realize that I had to separate the solids from the liquids first. Basically I ended up with grainy (because it was still chill) coconut milk. And because that was my last can of coconut milk, I had to put ice cream on my apple pie instead. So sad, right?

Anyway, this is a coconut milk-based chocolate ice cream with a coconut-chocolate bark. The trick is to break up the bark into super-tiny pieces so you don’t break a tooth on it once it’s frozen (says the girl with all the crowns). Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

P.S. Is this an adorable ice cream dish or what? Goodwill, people!. Good. Will.

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Chocolate Coconut Crunch Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 15 ounce can (1 1/2 cups) coconut milk
1 cup soy milk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut + extra as needed

Directions

1. In a small mug, combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk well and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, remaining soy milk, sugar, and coconut powder; mix well. Heat on medium-high, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and add the arrowroot slurry immediately, whisking well. This should cause the milk to thicken noticeably.

3. Cover and transfer to a fridge to chill for six to eight hours or, better yet, overnight.

4. Next, make the “crunch”! Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Cook for 90 seconds in the microwave, pausing to stir the chocolate every 30 seconds. When done, spoon the chocolate out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spreading it as thin as possible. Sprinkle the coconut shreds on top, pressing down gently with a spatula or spoon. Put the baking sheet in a freezer to chill for about an hour. When cold and hard, break the sheet of chocolate into bite-sized pieces using your hands or a knife. Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer until ready for use.

5. To make the ice cream, process the batter according to your ice cream machine’s directions. You can add the chocolate chunks to the batter prior putting it in the ice cream machine, if that’s easier for you, or as you dispense (or scoop) the frozen ice cream from the machine. Depending on how chunky you like your ice cream, you may have a handful of chocolate-coconut bark left over; these are great on a sundae, or just for snacking!

6. Enjoy immediately or pop it in the freezer for a firmer dessert!

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Vegan Junk Food French Toast Mashup!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

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This leftovers mashup dish combines the best of two worlds, both of which hail from the Lane Gold Vegan Junk Food ‘verse: the prep method from her Sticky Caramel Baked French Toast, paired with the flavors of her nearly-as-awesome (fried) Eggnog French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce.

After I made the Eggnog French Toast last month, I ended up with a ton of extra Butter Rum Sauce. For a while I used it as a dipping sauce for a half batch of gingerbread cookies I’d made (the leftover dough from the Gingerbread Cookie Dough Ice Cream; hello, old recipes!). Then I got to thinking: why not use it in place of the Caramel Sauce to make Baked Eggnog French Toast? After all, both mixes contain the same basic ingredients, namely sugar and margarine. And for the top sauce, I used straight-up So Delicious coconut milk nog in place of soy milk (cutting down on the thickening agents appropriately), for more of that sweet Christmasy eggnog taste.

And it worked! Sweet, sticky eggnog french: IN THE OVEN! No hot oil required.

So here’s how you do it.

 

Baked Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients

1-2 cups vegan butter rum sauce (I used the recipe in Vegan Junk Food, but you can find similar recipes online, e.g.); make sure it’s thick, like maple syrup
6 thick slices of Italian bread
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt

Directions

1. Lightly grease a 9″x12″ baking pan. Pour in the butter rum sauce – about a cup, or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange the sliced french bread in the pan, so that no pieces overlap.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the nog, nooch, flour, cinnamon, and salt; whisk well to combine. Pour the nog mix over the bread. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour prior to baking.

3. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until most (but not all) of the nog has cooked away and/or thickened into a syrupy consistency. Serve immediately!

 

The Great CriFSMas Food Roundup, 2012 edition!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

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A basket of chai cookies, oatmeal cream pies, and eggnog cookies for our neighbors.
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You guys, I did so much baking this holiday season! Instead of buying my family the customary vegan treats from etsy, I had the bright idea to make everything my own bad self. (“Make everyone’s presents by hand, she said. It’ll be fun, she said.” reads a mid-December entry in my journal.) Several weeks and a dozen or so batches of cookies later, and I am wiped out. Good thing I have extra cookies to keep me going, eh?

Many of the recipes are from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which I’m quickly growing to love. My mom gave it to me a Christmas or two ago, but given my awful track record with cookies and other baked sweets, I hadn’t gotten much use out of it. (Until now!)

Much to my surprise, everything came out wonderfully! Not a single burned cookie in the bunch. I think the secret is in the parchment paper. I’ve been resistant to using the stuff in the past, because it feels like I’m wasting paper or something. But it really works! Pro tip: as long as they haven’t picked up any cookie residue, you can reuse sheets of parchment paper several times to save money and resources. This is especially helpful if you’re baking multiple batches of cookies in a single day.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of all the holiday goodies to pass through my kitchen (and gullet! yay the imagery!) this month. Mostly cookies, but also fancy nuts, truffles, ice cream, pizza, and pasta!

 

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Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur (page 228) – Mine didn’t come out quite as plump and chewy as the ones pictured in the book, but I think that’s because I made the cookies a little smaller than suggested.

Actually, that was a trend pretty much across the board – I ended up with more, slightly smaller cookies vs. fewer, larger cookies (the latter being the norm for me). It was all good though, because the smaller cookies were a better fit for the tupperware I used to pack and ship them. Score!

Chewy or not, these were still super-delish, though not nearly as nommy as some of the other cookies I tried.

(More below the fold…)

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Friday, July 13th, 2012

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My very first homemade coconut milk ice cream turned out to be a complete accident. I was making the coconut milk/agar “slurry” for the Coconut Strawberry Sorbet and completely messed up my calculations. Instead of 1/4 teaspoon of agar to 1 cup of coconut milk, I used 3/4 teaspoon! Since readjusting would give me enough “slurry” for THREE sorbet recipes, I decided to make an even quart of the stuff and use it in a more traditional ice cream recipe. Behold! Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream. Chocolate, coconut milk, coconut extract, and shredded coconut: deliciously decadent and seasonally tropical! Not as healthy as a fruit-based frozen dessert, but who cares? It’s summer, live a little!

Below I’ve included two variations of the recipe: one with agar powder, and another using arrowroot powder, which I prefer as a thickening agent in ice cream. Agar worked much better here than it did in the Coconut Strawberry Sorbet, but this ice cream still came out a bit sorbet-y. Also, agar is expensive, yo!

Enjoy with: chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, shredded coconut, and/or in a big fat honkin’ waffle bowl.

 

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Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream (with Agar)

(Makes roughly one quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon agar powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar + extra to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Directions

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the agar powder and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for several minutes, whisking all the while, until the agar has dissolved into the coconut milk.

2. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and whisk well. Sample the batter and add extras to taste.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Mix in the vanilla and coconut extracts, whisking well.

4. Chill the batter in the fridge for four to six hours or more.

5. When you’re ready to make the ice cream, process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Add the shredded coconut in the last ten minutes of the machine’s cycle, or stir the coconut into the ice cream as the machine dispenses it (or as you scoop it). Enjoy immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer for a few hours for a firmer dessert.

(More below the fold…)

Vegan Problem #438

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

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That awkward moment when you put chocolate sprinkles on your ice cream, only to discover that you grabbed the thyme by accident.

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I thought I managed to pick it all off for the picture, but apparently not.

That’s okay, my Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream Sundae is still delicious. (Recipe coming … not soon, exactly, but it’s in the queue!)