Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
I’ve been on a bit of a cleanse lately. No, not one of those diet based cleanses that leaves you clinging to the toilet bowl for dear life, but a house cleanse… or more specifically a linen cupboard purge.
It all started when we decided to give H a bedroom make over for his 8th birthday. We painted the walls, got new carpet, a loft bunk and a Pokemon doona cover, and in the process got rid of a lot of junk. There were broken old toys, math worksheets, odd socks everywhere and a plethora of Woolies collectables (you know those awful cards and discs that Woolworths bring out every few months that kids MUST have….damn you clever Woolies marketing manager!). All that’s left now is the unpacking, and as that is not my responsibility I’m pretty sure it won’t be done this year.
So I got the cleaning bug. Actually, that’s incorrect; I wasn’t cleaning I was clearing. I become possessed by the need to get rid of everything we hadn’t used since we moved in 2 ½ years ago. Out went the baby toys, the change table and the cot sheets (I am now a mother of a 2 year old going on 16 year old princess), gone were the Fireman Sam toys that H loved so dearly and the annoying Lightning McQueen Car that I told them was broken (really, I just didn’t like it so I gave it to the Op Shop so some other mother could be tortured for a bit… sorry!). Then I came to the Linen Cupboard; aka the place you were most likely to sustain a head injury as everything was squeezed in for dear life).
My Linen Cupboard was full of old doona covers that the kids no longer liked (more Elmo), baby sized doonas, 1001 towels and a plethora of top sheets. Now for the uninitiated, the top sheet is the useless one that gets caught in your feet and always ends up half way down the bed. We are not a top sheet family. We are fitted sheets and doona people (not duvets; this was a point of confusion on Facebook recently and I think is a European thing) but it is very hard to buy only a fitted sheet. They normally come in a pack with a top sheet and even pillow covers, which we don’t use either as I prefer the pillows to match the doona (don’t we all have a preference?!). So here I was with a cupboard full of linen I was never going to use and no room to put the things I do use so I went to town on those pesky top sheets and filled three giant bags for the Op Shop. Now my cupboard is not only safe to open but it’s organised. The sheets and blankets are separated according to size, the towels are folded and I even now can find my tablecloths (which only get used at Christmas). There is a certain amount of pride and satisfaction that came with finishing the job.
I also believe in Karma; or in more practical terms ‘if you do something nice for others then niceness will come back to you’. So guess what happened after I’d dropped the last of our 8 bags off at Vinnies? An Op Shop bargain from heaven! My baby sitter found a brand new Ice Cream Maker bowl attachment at her local oppie – for $5. Not only was it so cheap but it matched my Kitchen stand mixer perfectly, and needless to say we have been eating ice cream daily ever since!
In the past I have made no churn Ice Creams but I have always struggled with coconut based Ice Creams as they can be too icy and not creamy like their dairy cousins. Vanilla Ice Cream has always been my nemesis and I’ve never quite got it to work properly… until now. This Vanilla Ice Cream is creamy, not icy and it tastes just like real Vanilla Ice Cream. It also happens to be Dairy Free, Egg and Nut Free, Paleo and Vegan friendly.
I tried making Ice Cream every which way I could find; with egg yolks, with thickeners, without added anything’s and one with half a mint bush. After much experimentation I found this to be my favourite Vanilla Ice Cream. This Vanilla Ice Cream uses Arrowroot to thicken the mixture and create the creamy texture what we all love. The alternative is to use egg yolks, but I found that the extra effort didn’t equate to better Vanilla Ice Cream, and being Egg-less makes it Vegan friendly too.There are several tricks to getting the best out of your ice cream, but I must confess that the new/old Ice Cream Maker machine made a huge difference. It created more air in the mixture and it had the consistency of a self-serve ice cream. Alternatively, freezing the Vanilla Ice Cream in shallow containers then blending it in a food processor also created a creamy Vanilla Ice Cream. The last option would be to simply freeze the mixture straight from the pot but it does create a bit more of an icy Vanilla Ice Cream although still super tasty.
Over the past 2 weeks we have had many different Ice Creams (I tend to get a bit manic about something and do it until I’m bored) and I have a Choc Chip Cookie Ice Cream and a Lemon Curd Ice Cream to share with you as the weather starts to heat up. In the meantime, make this Vanilla Ice Cream and top it with sprinkles, nuts or make your own Ice Magic (this Chocolate when still liquid sets hard when poured over cold Ice Cream). You can make the Vanilla Ice Cream with me with this Podcast too.
Hints and Tips
- If you don’t have any Arrowroot or Tapioca to thicken your mixture, try using Corn Flour instead.
- Do Not let the mixture boil. The mixture will need to thicken as the flour ‘cooks’ (much like making a gravy) and if it boils it may become gluggy. This part can take 10 minutes.
- When the mixture is thickening there is no need to continuously whisk or stir it, as this may actually impede the thickening process. You will need to stir/whisk occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- If adding extras to your Vanilla Ice Cream, i.e. Choc Chips, berries etc, do so just at the end of the machine time or after you’ve blended the frozen mixture.
- If doing a no-churn version allow for longer time. The mixture will need to be frozen (allow 6-8 hours depending on the depth of your containers) then blended. When blending, the chunks will first turn to snow and after 1-2 minutes it will go the creamy consistency you are looking for. If it is too soft, put it back in the freezer briefly to firm up.
- 1 1/2 Cups Coconut Cream (use the thickened cream from an opened can of coconut cream/milk that has been in the fridge overnight. Discard and DO NOT use the watery remains)
- 1 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk
- 1/3 Cup Maple Syryp (or Rice Malt Syrup or Honey) add an extra 1-2 Tablespoons if sweeter ice cream wanted)
- 2-3 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract (more if wanted; do a taste test to be sure)
- Dash Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot (Cornflour can be used instead)
- If using an ice cream machine be sure to place the bowl in the freezer the day before. Be sure to check the instructions as to how long is required (mine is 12 hours).
- In a medium sized saucepan place the thickened coconut cream, 1 Cup of coconut milk, maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Place the saucepan over a medium/low heat and warm slowly, or until the cream has 'melted' and the mixture is luke warm.
- Meanwhile, place the extra 1/2 Cup of coconut milk in a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot, making sure no lumps remains.
- One the saucepan mixture has warmed, increase the heat to medium/high and add the thickened milk mixture, whisking to combine.
- Whisk/stir regualry as the mixture starts to thicken. The mixture will become custard like in it's consistancy. Be sure to whisk/stir the bottom of the pot to ensure that the mixture does not stick and burn. This will take 5-10 minutes.
- Once thickened, allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Place the mixture in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours. Once cooled, pour into the Ice Cream Machine and mix for the required time (mine was 20 minutes).
- Serve immediately or freeze in a sealed container briefly until a bit firmer.
- Pour the mixture into shallow, sealed containers and freeze until set (allow 6-8 hours).
- Break the frozen mixture into pieces and place in a food processor/blender.
- Blend on high until creamy (about 2-3 minutes. It will go grainy first; don't stress it goes creamy eventually!).
- Serve immediately or freeze in a sealed container briefly until a bit firmer.
- Pour the mixture into moulds or a container and freeze for at least 6-8 hours, or until set.
- The ice cream will need to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to soften to be able to be served.
- This method isn't as creamy as the previous 2 but still delicious.