We had a bit of a heat wave in the Northwest few weeks ago and that meant I felt like having loads of cold vegan ice cream and frozen desserts, but the idea of making my own vegan ice cream and/or frozen dessert that is gluten-free, soy-free and grain-free sounded even more appetizing than some store bought dessert. So I turned to dessert queen Aimée Ryan’s first published vegan cookbook, Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-free Ice Creams & Frozen Treats for some ice cold relief.
Based in Surry, in the South East of England, the lovely Aimée makes homey desserts (some are vegan) while also being the creative force behind the crafts & food blog Wallflower Girl. In her blog she shares her clever DIY projects on floral arrangements, body scrubs, and such. She is actually not a vegan (still working on going vegan), however she enjoys experimenting with allergy-friendly and vegan recipes. I feel especially honored to be selected to review her cookbook when it was released in May – thank you Aimée for being so patient with my review and helpful with the recipes.
I’ve had coconut milk ice cream (i.e., Coconut Bliss) before and I’ve always wanted to make my own using the flavors I enjoy. And while I do not have one of those handy ice cream makers, it wasn’t an issue since there is also an extremely helpful “no-ice-cream-maker” method in the cookbook that works like a charm!
Aimée Ryan’s cookbook is available in a paperback copy (only in the UK, USA and Europe as of Summer 2014) and Kindle version via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Her beautifully published photo-packed cookbook features 80-plus recipes, which are all vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free and made using healthy sweeteners with sugar-free options as well, which make them even more appealing for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
In her cookbook you’ll discover something for everyone including dozens of different ice creams including some delicious exotic flavors, classic desserts (i.e., ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes, sundaes and popsicles) along with dessert toppings and vessels (i.e., cones, sauces and sprinkles). Photographic cookbooks are a huge plus and her photographs have an exceptionally rustic and charming feel.
The cookbook includes some useful guides and information that I found helpful and certainly recommend reading before you get started. These sections include a list of the frequently used and easily sourced ingredients as well as suggestions on where to find them. Additional information and advice for special diets and substitutions is also included along with a breakdown of the equipment and tools you will need. She even outlines the healthy benefits of coconut milk and other coconut-based products. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, she has a very helpful tip on how to make ice cream without it and her method worked perfectly for me! But I highly recommend getting an ice cream maker if you don’t have 3+ hours to wait and manually churn the ice cream every half hour.
A few of her recipes that I’ve tried so far include: “Salted Caramel Ice Cream” (Page 32, Healthy Spins on Famous Flavours), “Sweet Curry Ice Cream” (Page 72, Spicy Flavours), “Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwiches” (Page 121, Frozen Desserts & Treats), “Smashed Blueberry Pops” (Page 126, Frozen Desserts & Treats), “Mango Creamsicles” (Page 127, Frozen Desserts & Treats), and “Caramelized Nuts” (Page 151, Cones, Toppings & Sauces). Ingredients for each recipe are simple and easily sourced and her recipes are incredibly easy to make!
Our favorite recipe is the “Salted Caramel Ice Cream” with “Peanut Butter Cookies”, combined to make yummy ice cream sandwiches – they were mouthwateringly good and made with just a limited number of ingredients. I have permission to share these two recipes that I love from her cookbook.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Page 32, Healthy Spins on Famous Flavours
Get the “Salted Caramel Ice Cream” recipe here.
I made sure that the mixture boils before adding the arrowroot mixture and then let the mixture cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature before freezing. I also added a bit of vodka since Aimee mentioned that alcohol provides a much softer consistency that makes it easier to scoop after freezing.
I followed the ’no ice cream maker’ method and it started to thicken after 2 hours of whisking and freezing, I was impressed that it didn’t take long for it to start looking like real ice cream! We love the sweet and salty flavors of the ice cream, it’s so much better than any caramel-based ice cream we’ve tried so far. I think this recipe might finally convince me to get an ice cream maker, just to make this indulgence even easier. We used the Salted Caramel ice cream in peanut butter cookie sandwiches.
Sweet Curry Ice Cream
Page 72, Spicy Flavours
The Sweet Curry Ice Cream recipe is available at Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-free Ice Creams & Frozen Treats (Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).
The Spicy Flavors chapter was my favorite to skim through because the flavors are pretty unusual, examples include Wasabi or Chinese Five Spice. I would love to try both whenever I’m back to the “kitchen.” Small note I would like to the add to the recipe – I would start making the arrowroot mixture after the curry-coconut milk infusion. During the infusion, the color appeared to be a strong yellow, which is a pretty nice color for an ice cream. I halved the recipe, which was perfect for the both of us. I also added a bit of vodka since Aimée mentioned that a bit of alcohol helps to provide a much softer consistency, making it easier to scoop after freezing. The “Sweet Curry” ice cream was pretty unique to make and try, yet not too sweet – and it paired perfectly with the crunchy and sweet “Caramelized Nuts” (Page 151, Cones, Toppings & Sauces).
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Sandwiches
Page 121, Frozen Desserts & Treats
Get the “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Sandwiches” recipe here (cookies only, not the chocolate).
We both love peanut butter cookies. What’s great about this cookie recipe is that they are vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. I substituted “Salted Caramel ice cream” for the “Chocolate ice cream” in these sandwiches because we had just made the “Salted Caramel” and they were absolutely miam! This was the type of dessert you dream about! There were no instructions for making ground almonds so I relied on another blog as a source and proceeded to soak raw almonds, removed the skins before grinding them, dried them for few hours and then ground them again. This process took a few hours in total but wasn’t very labor intensive. This form of ground almonds is also known as almond flour. There are a number of brands that make almond flour, including Bob’s Red Mill.
I added additional ground almonds (about 2 tablespoons) to compensate for our ‘creamy’ peanut butter. Perhaps the peanut butter she called for was thick and some peanut butter products have different consistency. It was a little bit sticky to roll into balls, make sure you have extra ground almonds on hand for this potential scenario. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and flatten or press round with your hands. Her recipe did not indicate the thickness or dimensions of the cookie once flattened, and my batter ultimately produced 12 cookies – i.e. 6 sandwiches.
Since the cookie dough spread and thinned out as it baked, my cookies were a bit too thin. This made assembly of the sandwiches slightly difficult. I placed the cookies on the baking pan in the freezer for about half an hour instead of 10 minutes to give them some extra rigidity for assembly. Next time I will try and make my cookies a bit thicker.
Smashed Blueberry Pops
Page 126, Frozen Desserts & Treats
The Smashed Blueberry Pops recipe is available at Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-free Ice Creams & Frozen Treats (Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).
I made a full batch that produced a total of six popsicles, three flat and three star-shaped popsicle molds. The flat one holds ½ cup or 4 fl. oz and the star-shaped holds about 3.4 fl. oz, so in total about 22 fl. oz. I wish the recipe yields quantity size in oz or cup, not # of lollies since the size can vary considerably between molds. The batch produced more than the “Mango Creamsicles” recipe (reviewed below). I used an immersion blender instead of a regular blender, which worked well. You might have to scoop chunky blueberries for every mold since they stick to the bottom of the mixture bowl.
Not overly sweet and with a distinctive creaminess provided by the coconut milk; my fresh blueberries weren’t quite tart enough so I couldn’t taste the blueberries very well. I might try this recipe again with frozen blueberries and a bit more sweetener.
Page 127, Frozen Desserts & Treats
The Mango Creamsicles recipe is available at Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-free Ice Creams & Frozen Treats (Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).
I made a full batch and it filled only three flat popsicle molds. The recipe called for six lollies. Each flat popsicle mold holds 1/2 cup or 4 fl. oz, so approx. 12 fl. oz in total. The batch is smaller than the “Smashed Blueberry Pops” (reviewed above) batch. I wish the recipe reflected quantity size in oz or cup so I had a better idea of how many it would make using my molds. The mango flavor is lovely, creamy and the title of the recipe accurately depicts this dessert. This is my favorite popsicle flavor, I find it creamier with frozen fruit (i.e., frozen mango). Perhaps I will try this recipe with other frozen fruits such as bananas, berries, kiwis and the likes.
Page 151, Cones, Toppings & Sauces
The “Caramelized Nuts” recipe is available at Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-free Ice Creams & Frozen Treats (Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).
I used roasted unsalted peanuts and halved the recipe. I baked them for less than 10 minutes, due to a halved recipe, to ensure that they didn’t burn. The caramelized nuts were moderately sweet, sticky, crunchy and complemented the “Sweet Curry” ice cream (reviewed above) perfectly. I would recommend doubling this recipe for the “Sweet Curry” ice cream because the more caramelized nuts, the better.
In addition to the recipes I’ve already tested and included, I am particularly interested in trying her ‘Boozy’ flavors including Piña Colada. I’m not back in the U.S. at the moment but hopefully I will get a chance to try them before summer is completely over! I would also like to try making her ice cream cones, tuiles and wafers next time since I’ve never made my own vegan ice cream cones!
This cookbook is perfect for people with food allergies or sensitivities (which makes it so versatile), anyone who loves coconut milk and just about everyone who loves frozen desserts and ice cream. If you like unique and bizarre flavors, Aimée has it all. If you love booze, Aimée does that too. If you don’t like coconut milk, then this is not the cookbook for you, but I find her recipes absolutely tasty and undeniably yum! Like I mentioned in my introduction, I’ve had coconut milk ice cream products before, but I find her homemade ice cream recipes more delicious than the ones I’d tried (i.e., Coconut Bliss). And yes, this cookbook has single handedly convinced me to get an ice cream maker. I don’t mind setting aside 3 plus hours to churn some ice cream, but given how much I plan to use this cookbook – it will be worth it to invest in an ice cream maker.
The lovely Aimée of Wallflower Girl is hosting a worldwide giveaway here and she is giving away a copy of her “Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-Free Ice Creams & Frozen Desserts” book to one lucky Vegan Miam reader. If the winner’s address is within the US, UK or Europe they will receive a paperback copy and if the winner’s mailing address is outside of the US, UK and Europe they will receive a Kindle version.
Use the Gleam widget below to enter for a chance to win a copy of her cookbook. You can come back everyday for a bonus entry or tweet again. The closing date is 11:59 PM 31st July 2014.
• This is a sponsored Giveaway provided by Aimée of Wallflower Girl. Open to international readers.
• The Giveaway ends 11:59 PM 31st July 2014. (Pacific Time / PST).
• One winner will be drawn randomly by using Gleam and will be notified via a certified vegan miam email, unless otherwise stated. Winner must respond with current/correct address within forty-eight (48) hours or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be drawn.
• One winner will receive a paperback copy or Kindle version of “Coconut Milk Ice Cream: Vegan & Grain-Free Ice Creams & Frozen Desserts” cookbook depending on country of residence. Entrants from outside the U.S., UK and Europe will receive a Kindle version if selected as the winner, only entrants with a mailing address in the U.S., UK and Europe are eligible to receive a paperback copy.
• Prize will be shipped directly to the winner by Aimée of Wallflower Girl. VEGAN MIAM is not responsible for any unsent, lost or stolen prize(s).
Have you ever had coconut milk ice cream – which are your favorite ice cream flavors?