Almond Milk — Homemade?!

A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I hosted our very first Thanksgiving dinner. In order to make this dinner as special as possible, we decided to make our own (vegan) ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Ice cream with a homemade almond milk base.

Was it ambitious? It sure seemed like it!

In actual fact: it wasn’t that hard! I was stunned to discover that making almond milk was not only pretty easy, but also kind of fun. Something about squishing that bag of warm-ish water soaked nut mash was kind of cathartic. And the resulting milk was so rich and flavourful!

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It was so awesome, that we even decided to try to make it on a regular basis, instead of always buying our almond milk with its additives.

And for those of you who are thinking “But what about the calcium and vitamin D fortification?!” — fear not! It is entirely possible to just throw a couple of supplements into the milk while you’re blending it up!

I haven’t even gotten to my favourite discovery in this process, though.

The ice cream recipe with its homemade almond milk called for a very high percentage of almonds (almost 1 to 1 with water). Which seemed very expensive to do in the long run. I compared it to other recipes and found that most recipes are closer to 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water, which seemed much more affordable. What was the difference?

Look at all that almond meal from that concentrated milk!

Look at all that almond meal from that concentrated milk!

Having that high concentration of almonds rendered an ultra-thick creamy, rich almond milk. The “cream” of almond milks. It was so rich that I didn’t want to drink it. You see, I decided at the age of 2 that I didn’t like anything other than skim milk, no joke! And I’ve never felt differently after all those years, I just don’t like the rich/thickness of it on its own (in hot chocolate or ice cream, that is a different story…). I had to dilute that ultra-rich almond milk way down until it seemed drinkable. And voila, my own skimmed-almond milk.

But it blew my mind–the fact that you can make almond milk according to your richness preferences! Does that blow your mind or is it just me?

The moral of the story: homemade can be better, and fun. And, of course, customizable!

Book Review: Vegan Ice Cream

Image courtesy of amazon.com

  • Author: Jeff Rogers
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publish Date: May 13, 2014
  • 144 Pages

I cannot quite emphasize how much I love ice cream. Dairy ice cream was one of two reasons I held onto vegetarianism as long as I did before making the jump to veganism. If I had been presented with ice cream made from one of the recipes in Vegan Ice Cream, I would have given up that reason in a heartbeat.

The ice creams in this book are divided into two categories: “Ice Cream” and “Raw Ice Cream”. The regular ice creams are cashew-based and usually sweetened with maple syrup (my favourite!). The raw ice creams are true to the raw manifesto and don’t contain any kind of processed ingredients–they are sweetened with dates (or other fruit). Overall, the ingredients are mainly easy to find in this household, except the non-alcoholic vanilla flavouring. I had to go to whole foods for that, and I gave up on finding a non-alcoholic almond flavouring altogether. (The alcohol content in regular flavouring interferes with the freezing process.)

After poring over all of the recipes and trying to decide among the endlessly delicious options, I finally made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip ice cream. This ice cream was wonderful. It was rich, full of flavour, and had that airy quality that a lot of vegan ice creams are missing (I’m looking at you coconut-based ice cream). My only issue was that the ice cream was a bit too sweet for me. If I were to make it again, I would use a 3/4 cup of maple syrup instead of a whole cup. I suspect the same sweetness level will be found in all of the recipes, but there’s only one way to find out…

I would definitely, definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves making delicious ice cream. Even the non-vegans. Because the world needs more delicious ice cream. And I am seriously considering buying a copy of this for myself–after all, it’s almost time for fresh, local peaches, and there are 3 different recipes just for those…

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. I did receive a free preview copy for review from netgalley, which will expire and force me to buy the book for myself!

Fan Friday #12 – Ice Cream Maker Edition

There are few things in life I love more than ice cream. Becoming a vegan, I had to switch to coconut ice cream (because soy ice cream taste weird), which comes in tiny little Haagen Dazs sized containers, for $7 each. Obviously, not the most economical option. Enter, the ice cream maker!

Fan Friday Presents…The Ice Cream Maker!

As a wedding present, we received a fantastic ice cream maker from my lovely mother-in-law. We loved it so much that we even made time a few days before the wedding to make some ice cream. This first batch (pictured below) was called Banana Split, from the delicious book Vegan a la Mode (go check Hanna out over at Bitter Sweet Blog, where she’s constantly sharing new recipes!).

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Look at it! It looks delicious already!

Prior to this electric beauty, the Cuisinart ICE-30BC, all I had ever used was the manual kind. You know, where you churn it yourself? Yeah, you can imagine how much that got used (read: once).

The second batch we made was some delicious Dark Chocolate Sorbetto — a recipe that came with the ice cream maker. It has 4 ingredients. 4! Which is really part of what makes homemade ice cream so awesome: there’s no crazy preservatives in there. Between that and the fact that I can have large batches of whatever flavour of ice cream I want…well, it’s really a no brainer.

What’s your favourite slightly-indulgent but endlessly awesome kitchen tool?