Vegan Peanut Butter "Munchies" Ice Cream

Why, hello there. It's been a little while...since May, actually. Between not having any baking equipment in my New York City housing set-up and traveling to and fro ever since I got back home, I haven't baked in months! Not gonna lie, I felt a little rusty at first. A little unconfident, a little out of practice. I feel the same way about this blog post. This feels like the written equivalent of starting a speech with a big fat, "Um..........." 

Luckily, I had a little inspiration to get me going. My travels in the past couple weeks took my family and I to Arizona to visit some family friends. One of them realized recently that she's lactose intolerant, and of all dairy products has found it toughest to eliminate ice cream from her diet. As ice cream enthusiasts, Audrey and I were wholeheartedly sympathetic and vowed to find a good non-dairy ice cream recipe for her to make the minute we got home.

Have you had non-dairy ice cream before? I've tried a few non-dairy ice creams from the supermarket before in the spirit of curiosity, but haven't found anything that made a truly satisfying replacement. They were made with almond milk or rice milk, and while the flavors were fine, they just weren't creamy enough to cut it.

This recipe uses coconut milk as the non-dairy substitute. (I used full fat coconut milk for maximum creaminess, but you could use non-fat as well if you wanted to cut back on fat content.) I am happy to report that it was every bit as creamy (and tasty) as regular ice cream! 

Going in, I was curious whether the coconut flavor would still be detectable beneath the peanut butter and mix-in's. It was, a bit. But not in a bad way. If you're not into the idea of peanut butter/coconut ice cream, I have two solutions for you. One: Use more peanut butter. The recipe can handle the extra, and adding another 1/2 cup or so would eradicate the coconut-y undertones, I am confident. Two: Like I said, this recipe is versatile. You can forgo the peanut butter altogether and mix another flavor into the coconut milk - something more compatible with coconut, so the flavors aren't fighting each other. Like mango, or pineapple (with a little dash of rum, maybe? hmmm?).

This recipe produces a delicious frozen treat that has all the creaminess of ice cream with none of the dairy. If you subtract the peanut butter, it makes an excellent base for any flavors or mix-in's you want to experiment with. Do you love cookies'n'cream ice cream? Toss in some Oreos! Is rocky road your favorite? Mix in some chocolate chunks and marshmallows. You can make this ice cream exactly what you want it to be, based on whatever you're craving. And because it's so creamy and delicious, you don't feel like you're missing out on anything!

- Molly

Vegan Peanut Butter "Munchies" Ice Cream

3 1/3 cups full fat coconut milk

1/2 cup cane sugar

2/3 cup peanut butter

optional: 2 tbsp PB2 for more intense PB flavor

mix-in's of your choice

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1/4 cup of the milk, sugar and peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter has melted then add the remaining milk. Bring to a boil and continue whisking for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate until cooled. Once cooled, pour the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream machine and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the mix-in's once the ice cream starts to thicken. It takes 30 minutes for my machine to make ice cream, and I added the chocolate after 10. Eat ice cream immideately (it will be somewhat soft) or transfer to a container and freeze until ready to consume. Thaw for about 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Inspired by Oh, Ladycakes and Ample Hills Creamery