Take two because my first try was a textural failure, but more on that later. Yesterday, my friend, Annie, posted a link to a vegan chocolate-banana ice cream, so (of course) I checked it out on The Bear and the Blackberry blog. I had no bananas, but the concept seemed simple enough that I could adjust according to what I did have, and ultimately, it turned out, but not without a little trial and error first.
The recipe calls for hemp protein powder, and I had some soy protein isolate. From what I can tell, the protein was essentially added just to pump up the nutritional value. I dropped in what seemed like an appropriate amount to my attempt at mango berry ice cream, but it entirely destroyed the texture, so I would admonish adders to go a little at a time or not at all to prevent chalkiness.
My last mango down and one miserable attempt to rescue the original ice cream later, I restarted, this time going for a refreshing lemon berry ice cream – a far more successful endeavor. It came out with a sorbet-like texture, despite not being water-based – definitely more so than an ice cream texture; although, it was still creamy.
- 1 cup blackberries (frozen)
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
Serves 2 – 4 people, depending on how much each person gets 😉
Get those berries in the freezer at least a few hours before your start putting this together. You want them to be really frozen.
In a blender, add the zest, lemon juice, agave nectar, salt, and a little bit of the almond milk. Pulse to blend. Slowly add in the fruit, alternating between berries and milk. Blend until smooth. This may take a while to break down the frozen fruits. If you can get that smooth consistency without adding all the milk, that would be ideal, but in my blender, I needed it.
Once everything is blended together, place in a sealable container and put it in the freezer. Let set for at least a few hours – mine set overnight. Once your ice cream is frozen, break up a little with a knife and put back in the blender, just long enough to resurrect it’s creamy texture, scoop out and serve (quickly – it melts fast).
I topped mine with a few roughly chopped candied and salted almonds. There are a few ways to candy nuts, but I did it using a stovetop. 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, 1.5 tbsp water, bring to a boil, and let reduce. When your liquid is down by about half, add approximately a 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, coat, let sit in the pot for a few minutes, turning to keep from burning. When they turn a caramel color, drop the almonds onto wax paper, lightly sprinkle with salt, and let cool completely. Break up, and add to a myriad of meals.
My favorite part about this dish is the color. The flavor is bright and cool, but a little tart (okay with me). You can easily add more sweeteners if you want. I would love to do this ice cream with a little lemon cookie on the side or you could even serve it with brunch. I’m definitely excited to try different concoctions, and next time I have bananas in the house, the original inspiration is getting made!