Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Almond Milk Cocoa Nib Ice Cream

It’s summmerrrrr! I finished my finals a few weeks ago, but I felt so crippled from the thousands of words of pretend food writing, so writing has felt like a bit of a struggle.

This ice cream is an ode to the stuffy eyed hay fever sufferers among us, because being allergic to summer is not fun. Friends and family often say: ‘Oh, you look so tired today,’ but really, they’re softening the blow about how shit you look with a runny nose and two black eyes. If you have hay fever, I kind of hope that you will look at this ice cream and immediately have the urge to pick up a scoop and lunge it into your left eye ball as a means of cooling it down.
If you eat the ice cream as soon as it’s churned, you would never guess that it’s a dairy and sugar free alternative. Because of the lack of fat (ish) in the almond milk, the ice cream is more prone to the whole crystallisation thing so it will feel a bit crunchy on tongue if left in the freezer for a few days without being eaten. Hence the tiny quantities in the recipe passively forcing you to eat the whole thing in one go ;)

The cocoa nibs add such lovely coffee notes to the ice cream too, which I totally stole from Alice Medrich, although she chooses to steep her milk in cocoa nibs and then discard them. I quite like the crunch from the nibs, so I just heated them in with the milk and ate them as part of the ice cream. But if you do decide to steep the nibs in the milk, they will lose their texture because all of the flavour will transfer to the almond milk - so whatever you do, don’t keep the nibs in the ice cream if steeping! 
Speaking of ‘coffee notes’, I was recently invited to make corn fritters and chocolate salted caramel tart with Gizzi Erskine and a load of (mostly) fashion bloggers. Yes, there is a plug to follow, but I will admit that I had such a lovely time mingling with bloggers from a different spectrum, even if we might only have our DSLRs in common! Also, who in their right mind would pass up an opportunity to meet Gizzi Erskine? 

So Dolce Gusto, who was in the midst of all this, have just launched their new coffee machine range. I’m a fan of strong coffee, and the pods that go with these nifty machines pack a strong and roasty punch. The pods are nothing like the taste of freeze dried granules in a morning brew, so I think that advocates my banging on about it after a solid month of silence on the blog! (Sorry!). 

I actually purchased an ice cream maker for this recipe, and while it created the smoothest gelato-like ice cream (corn flour aside), these devices are actually more hassle than their worth, unless you’re willing to buy one for no less than £200. Sure, I had soft ice cream in 20 minutes, but I had to freeze the damn bowl for two days to get it (I may have cheekily returned the machine after making this (sorry not sorry)). 
Almond Milk Cocoa Nib Ice Cream

1 ½ cup (365ml) almond milk
30g cocoa nibs
1 tbsp corn flour 
½ tsp salt 
½ tsp vanilla bean paste 
43g agave nectar syrup or 100g sugar 

Salted caramel sauce
I used Paul A young's recipe for salted caramel sauce. But be warned, this recipe does a pretty good job of removing the 'guilt free' element of the ice cream. 


In a heavy bottom saucepan, make a paste with a dash of the milk and corn flour. Add the rest of the milk, cocoa nibs, salt, agave and vanilla and stir on a medium heat until slightly thickened. Once it starts bubbling, remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl. Let cool completely, cover and then refrigerate until completely chilled. Freeze the mixture according to instructions on ice cream maker, or, for a less stressful experience, place bowl of ice cream in freezer and stir ever 20 minutes until thick and gloopy (in a good way). 

Love Em xx

20 comments:

  1. Oh wow! I love this. I'm so gutted I couldn't make it to the Gizzi lunch, I wanted to meet her so much and I could have seen you again!! So many exclamation marks. I'm off to buy an ice cream maker now so I can use it once to make this and return it ;)

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  2. You're back! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!! I hope you are having some time to relax and eat lots of ice cream now that you are a free woman. OMG this ice cream makes me want to go out and buy an ice cream maker today. Especially since I can eat it!!!! This is huge, huge news. :)

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    1. Nora, you dont even need to buy an ice cream maker, this is totally do-able with just a few stirs ;)

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    2. Really? I thought the stirs in the recipe were in addition to the ice cream maker. This is THE BEST news.

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  3. This looks so delicious, I love ice cream! And hay fever sucks! You probably hear this all the time, but have you ever tried avamys? That's something that has helped me and some people I know very well...

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    1. Thank you! No I havent, what is it?!

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  4. Congratulations on finishing your finals! Ice cream is definitely the way to celebrate. Gorgeous looking ice cream and photography.

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  5. DUDE, I love Gizzi Erskine! I'm so freaking jealous right now. Also, of this ice cream.

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  6. Holy crap, you would never know that this was a kinda good for you ice cream! Totally with you on the machine thing though - with a freezer the size of a shoe box, it's rather impossible for me to justify buying one unless its a £200 self-freezing version. Also - majorly jealous you got to meet Gizzi Erskine! How cool!

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  7. Oh wow, ice cream of my dreams! Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Wow I just love this! These cones look so lovely and I can't believe they are semi-guilt free. Horray!

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  9. This ice cream looks beautiful! I've been wondering what ice cream made with almond milk would taste like for ages. I would definitely eat the whole thing in one go so no worries there :)

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    1. It deffo tastes more refreshing than the cows milk variation! :)

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  10. I'll have three cones please - one for my mouth and one for each eye. I am suffering with you on the hay fever front and right now ice cream in my eye sounds like heaven!

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  11. I've got my eye on that almost full jug of sauce in the right of the photo...that along just soothe the suffering from the dreaded hay fever!

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    1. that messy ol' jug of sauce is perhaps the tasted salted caramel i've ever made!
      also, my eyes have become progressively worse since this post - so look at out for yet another hayfeve-post :(

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  12. I think you posted this just to further prove the point that I absolutely need an ice creamer maker as soon as possible. This looks amazing.
    Keep up the awesome stuff.
    Pinning!

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  13. Double scoop, please! Congrats on finishing your finals. That definitely needs celebratory ice cream :)

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  14. Crap, I can't have corn! :(

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  15. Awesome post, thanks for sharing this post..

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