12/07/2015

vegan triple vanilla ice cream

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You know what I never understood? When people call something "so vanilla" to indicate that it's blah or tasteless or unoriginal. First things first, vanilla is actually a pretty exotic ingredient, which I think is something we can easily forget since it's become a pretty common flavor profile over the years. I don't know when you last visited Madagascar, but it's still on my maybe-someday list. And I feel like we've let vanilla get a bad reputation for being boring. Vanilla isn't boring, at least not when it's done right. Vanilla isn't just a vaguely sweet sugarbomb. It's got a hint of cardamom, of warmth, a very mild but spot on hint of honey. To me, vanilla can be downright fancy. And, bonus: it goes with just about everything.


Still, while I've been making ice cream like it's my job (ahem), something important was brought to my attention: I still had not yet mastered the perfect vegan vanilla. Chocolate, yes. Been there, done that, and it is G-O-O-D. But these two classic flavors are the foundation for a plethora of other possibilities. So I thought, if I'm going to do vanilla, I'm going to do it justice. I'm going to make that vanilla really shine through. How? Take on the flavor times three.

And what better time to try this ice cream out then during Thanksgiving, when there's all pie to pair it with? (Still, it's just as perfect on its own.)

For this recipe you'll need:

2 15-ounce cans organic coconut milk (Full fat is best!)
1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped like this
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot

*A quick note on vanilla sugar: you can probably find this in specialty grocery stores. Just check the baking aisle or the bulk section. If not, no problem: making your own is easy! All you have to do is get an extra vanilla bean (or two), scrape the seeds, add both the seeds and the pod to your sugar, mix well, cover tightly and allow to sit overnight. If you can wait longer, even better, as the longer you allow the sugar to infuse the more vanilla-y it will taste.


In a medium stockpot, add your coconut milk, vanilla sugar and vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds out your vanilla bean pod and add them in - whisk well. (You can add the pod to steep here as well, for any seeds you may have missed and to soak up any additional vanilla flavor.) Bring this mixture to a light simmer over medium heat, whisking vigorously to make sure the sugar is dissolved and everything is evenly incorporated.

Put a few tablespoons (two to three) of your warm mixture into a small bowl. Add your arrowroot and whisk together until completely smooth. Add the arrowroot mixture back to your base. Whisk together for about one minute more, bring back to a simmer and then remove from heat.


Transfer your ice cream base to a large bowl and refrigerate for about 3-4 hours or up to overnight. Once completely chilled, it's time to churn: add to your ice cream maker of choice and follow the given instructions for your appliance. (If you're using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment, like me, the churning will take about 15-20 minutes on a medium speed.)

Transfer your ice cream to a freezer safe container and move your container to the very back of your freezer to harden completely. This should take about 4-6 hours, depending on the coldness of your freezer.


This addition to my ice cream repertoire opens up so many possibilities. I've already come up with at least ten new flavor ideas just sitting here, and that's just the seasonal stuff. (I'm thinking: peppermint stick!) Tasting this one was such a nice reenforcement that vanilla is anything but basic: to รก la mode! 

Know what the perfect vanilla ice cream goes great with (besides everything)?: