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Monday, March 15, 2010

Dairy-Free (and vegan) Blueberry Ice Cream


It's been pretty rainy and gross in Connecticut for the past few days. Spring seems to be taking far too long to get here, and I've been taking the opportunity to make a lot of the heavier, blazing oven foods that I know I won't be in the mood for once things start warming up. This weekend, however, I decided that we needed a little taste of summer.

Ice cream is another one of those foods that I thought I'd have to give up once I started getting sick. There are some non-dairy brands available, but they're either pretty pricey or pretty bad, not to mention very limited on the flavor front. Making ice cream at home is actually very easy, and all you really need is a decent ice cream maker (or not: here's a tutorial from David Lebovitz that shows you how to make ice cream without a machine.) I've used a few kinds of machines to make ice cream, but I really like the kind that has a freezable bowl. There's no rock-salt required and they're pretty fool-proof.

Blueberry ice cream sounded like a great idea, so I searched for some pre-existing recipes. Most of them required that you cook the blueberries down before blending them with milk. I like blueberry sauce, but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, so I ditched the recipes and came up with one of my own. I used agave nectar to sweeten the ice cream and I didn't miss the sugar for a second. I also followed the guidelines that I learned over at A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise for making deliciously creamy vegan ice cream.

Dairy-Free Blueberry Ice Cream (vegan)

1 cup of soy milk
2 cups of soy creamer (like unflavored silk creamer, which conveniently comes in a 2-cup carton)
About 1 cup + 1/4 cup blueberries
3/8 cup agave nectar (or measure slightly less than 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
A splash of vanilla extract

Whisk the arrowroot powder and about 1/4 cup of soy milk together in a small bowl and set it aside. In a blender, combine 1 cup blueberries, soy creamer, remaining soy milk, agave nectar, and vanilla. Taste the mixture and adjust if necessary. I started with a cup of blueberries, tasted it, and decided it needed to be more blueberry-y (can that be a word?) and added about 1/4 cup more. Don't worry about the color at this point, it will be almost like a very light pink. 

Pour the blended mixture into a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the mixture begins to look like it's boiling, remove it from the heat. You don't really want to cook the mixture, you just want to bring it to the right temperature for the arrowroot powder to thicken it. ONLY after the mixture has been removed from the heat, add the arrowroot slurry and stir or whisk to combine. During this process, the mixture turned from light pink to deep purple (smooooke on the waaaater.)

Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for about 2 or 3 hours. If you're impatient, you can cool it in the freezer but make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it very frequently. You don't want it to freeze, just get cold.

Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker once your mixture is chilled.

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