Today I discovered that simple ice cream can be made from a combination of milk, sweetener, and flavorings. This version is root beer and vanilla flavored. My daughter thinks this treat tastes very much like a root beer float.
Easy Root Beer Ice Cream
Makes 6 1/2 cup servings
3 cups 2% milk (lactose free milk may be used instead)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 t root beer flavoring (I used LorAnn brand, available in craft stores)
3/4 t vanilla extract
Whisk all ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Since this ice cream is low fat without thickeners, I recommend enjoying it soft-serve style, right after churning is done.
As I’ve been breaking in my new ice cream maker, I’ve noticed that none of the dairy mixtures I’ve tired have surpassed the smooth, impossibly tiny ice crystals I’ve achieved by pulverizing frozen fruit in a blender. This evening I decided to find out what would happen if I tried to make ice cream with a banana base (a technique described well at Bowl of Delicious). Apparently, the pectin in frozen bananas lends itself to a custard-like creaminess when processed into smoothness with a blender or food processor.
No ice cream maker is needed to make this recipe. It has just three ingredients. Any frozen berries can be used in place of the raspberries if that it is not your preferred “jelly” flavor.
PB&J Banana Ice Cream – Dairy Free
makes 6 1/2 cup servings
4 medium sliced bananas – frozen
1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed slightly
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
Place bananas and raspberries in blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth, stopping and stirring several times so all of the fruit has a chance to be chopped. Add half of the peanut butter and pulse until it disappears into the fruit mixture. Empty mixture into a one quart freezer container and stir in the rest of the peanut butter, leaving ripples in the ice cream. Freeze for at least two hours to harden for serving.
I could have titled this post ice cream experiment number four. Attempts two and three were valuable solely in teaching me firsthand what not to include in an ice cream recipe. Number two proved to me that fat free half and half produces a treat akin to the low budget ice milk of the 70’s that no one missed when it disappeared from grocery stores for good. Trial three taught me that ice cream does need some fat and natural sweetener, unless one has access to industrial strength churning facilities. I so wish I could report that I’d created a decent recipe for 30 calorie ice cream, but my daughter assured me that my mixture of unsweetened almond milk, espresso powder, and sucralose tasted like misery. That combo was so awful that I deleted my pictures of it because the memory of its flavor made me shudder.
This evening’s attempt was free of such calorie conscious nonsense.
Coconut Ice Cream
makes 10 servings
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 cups half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t coconut extract
1/4 t salt
Stir together all ingredients with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. At this point, the mixture can be poured directly into an ice cream maker, but I recommend pouring it first into a blender and pulsing a few times to make it smoother and easier to churn. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. This ice cream may be enjoyed freshly churned with a soft serve style consistency, or it may be hardened in the freezer before serving.