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 dairy and sugar free. 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 the 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!
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
- 365ml (1 ½ cup) almond milk
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 30g cocoa nibs
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 45g agave nectar syrup or 100g sugar
For the 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 large heavy bottomed saucepan, make a paste with a dash of the milk and cornflour. Add the rest of the milk, cocoa nibs, salt, vanilla and agave syrup and stir on a medium heat until slightly thickened. Once it starts bubbling, remove from the heat and pour into a large, clean freezer-safe bowl. Let it cool, then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. Use an ice cream maker to churn into ice cream or place the bowl of custard in the freezer and stir every 20 minutes for 3 hours until thick and smooth. Serve with caramel sauce.
Love Em xx