“I scream, you scream, we all scream for blended frozen fruit.” Ummm…wait, I don’t think that’s how that went. Blended frozen fruit just isn’t ice cream, no matter how much we want it to be, but it seems to be the first thing people suggest when you ask for a dairy-free recipe. I had to give up dairy a while back due to some health issues. One of the hardest parts was losing out on ice cream. I needed vegan ice cream but I wanted something that was just as good as the regular stuff.
There are some good vegan ice cream brands, but I needed something that was vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and cashew-free, yet still as delicious as what I was used to. That’s kind of a tall order so I decided to start tinkering with something homemade. After a whole lot of trial and error, I cracked the code to the best gluten-free and vegan ice cream! Now I’m here to teach you how to make it for yourself!
There are a few specialty ingredients in this vegan ice cream recipe. Trust me when I say that these are necessary. They each serve a purpose in keeping your vegan ice cream smooth and creamy.
There are a plethora of dairy-free milk alternatives out there. Each serves a different purpose, in my opinion. For the purpose of making ice cream, you want to try to recreate the creaminess of the whole milk and heavy cream you would normally use. The fat in those help to prevent large ice crystals from forming. For vegan ice cream you should use coconut cream. It has a higher fat content and thicker texture than most other vegan milk options.
Since dairy-free milk alternatives don’t have the same fat content as heavy cream, vegan ice cream needs a few extra ingredients to help get the right texture.
First up is light corn syrup. Okay, I know some of you are thinking, “But corn syrup isn’t healthy!” That’s okay. It’s ice cream. It’s not meant to be healthy! Seriously, though, corn syrup serves an important purpose. It helps to keep large ice crystals from forming in your ice cream. If you’ve ever had ice cream that’s a bit grainy, that’s from large ice crystals. The viscosity (or thickness) of corn syrup helps to prevent these over-sized crystals.
Golden Syrup is a type of sugar syrup similar to corn syrup. It’s commonly used in the United Kingdom but is also gaining in popularity in the US. In terms of taste, it has more in common with brown sugar than it does with white sugar like corn syrup and contributes a more robust flavor to your ice cream. The purpose of the golden syrup is the same as the corn syrup, to prevent too much crystallization when freezing your ice cream, but it also offers some delicious caramel notes to your ice cream. It’s available at many grocery stores and on Amazon, but if you absolutely can’t find it, just use more corn syrup.
If you’ve done much gluten-free baking you probably already have xanthan gum in your house. In baking it helps gluten-free flours better mimic the texture of wheat flour, giving them some elasticity. You don’t want elasticity in your ice cream, but that’s not what it does here. Like the corn syrup and golden syrup, xanthan gum helps to prevent over crystallization in your ice cream.
You NEED This Vegan Ice Cream Recipe
It is HOT out right now. We’re having an awfully warm summer up by me, so I’m all about ice cream. Let’s be real, though, I’m always all about the ice cream! There is no such thing as ‘ice cream season’ to me. Ice cream is really a year round treat, don’t you think? So, no matter the weather in your neck of the woods, make this vegan peanut butter ice cream today!
- 1 cup golden (light) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup Baker's Sugar Ultra Fine (or caster sugar)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 5 cups coconut cream
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups ice cream base
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or carob chips )
- 1/2 tbsp neutral oil (increase to 1 tbsp if using carob chips)
- Whisk together the golden brown sugar, baker’s sugar, cinnamon, and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl.
- In a large saucepan combine the corn syrup, golden syrup, and water. Add in the sugar mixture and whisk until fully combined.
- Cook the sugar/syrup mixture over medium heat, whisking frequently, for about 4 minutes. The Cinnamon won’t completely dissolve, so don’t worry about that. Be sure not to let the mixture boil or simmer.
- While the sugar mixture is cooking, add the coconut cream and vanilla to the large mixing bowl and set aside. Once the sugar mixture has finished cooking, whisk it into the coconut cream until fully combined. Refrigerate for at least 12-24 hours. It makes enough for a few batches of ice cream.
- When you're ready to make ice cream, combine all of the ice cream ingredients except the chocolate chips and oil using either an immersion blender in a bowl, or in a standard blender. Put this in an airtight container and allow flavors to come together while the mixture chills in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Add your ice cream mixture to your machine and churn according to the machine’s directions. When the ice cream is almost done (about the consistency of soft-serve ice cream), stream in the melted chocolate as it continues to churn.
- Once ice cream has finished churning (it should hit 21*F or lower on a thermometer), place in a shallow airtight container and place in the freezer for at least 12 hours. When you are ready to serve, let the ice cream sit out for about 5-10 minutes before scooping.