I’ve said it before, but one of my most favorite places on Earth is Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some of my favorite childhood (and adulthood) memories include walking or biking around Lake Harriet right before dusk on a warm summer night. If we were well behaved, we would visit Sebastian Joe’s.
Sebastian Joe’s is a local ice cream store that has been family owned and operated since 1984. In addition to ice cream they have delicious coffee and freshly baked goods including popovers and bars – how gloriously Midwestern.
My absolute favorite flavor is Pavarotti. Caramelly, burnt sugar notes, hints of rich espresso, and big chunks of chocolate. Turns out, it is banana and caramel. No coffee!
Since then, I have been combining these flavors as much as possible. I even made P a banana caramel birthday cake with dark chocolate frosting, and I've made several glorious versions of Pavarotti ice cream and gelato.
There is just one slight problem. I don’t want to eat ice cream anymore.
I have been lactose intolerant my whole life. Before it was a ‘thing’. Such a new phenomenon that they ran several painful tests to rule out cancer. I was drinking soy milk and rice milk before they figured out how to make them look more like real milk. They were gray, lukewarm, and pretty much tasteless.
Over my lifetime I slowly incorporated dairy, and I still eat small amounts of cheese. For a while I still ate ice cream! Knowing it would potentially lead to some one on one bathroom time. But now, I don’t even want any. That is like me saying I no longer want to eat cookies. A shocking revelation!!!
Ice cream, even Jeni’s where they process milk differently, makes me feel terrible. It makes me feel sick, like the worst part of a hangover. Even just a couple bites triggers these feelings. It is toxic!
Summer Goal: Vegan Ice Cream
One of my goals for the summer to figure out how to make vegan ice cream. (***SPOILER ALERT: GOAL ACCOMPLISHED)
I tried vanilla, then strawberry, roasted peach, and banana. They were just OK, and are actually still in the freezer... I had four reoccurring problems:
- The taste of the coconut milk was pretty strong, definitely overpowering the strawberry, roasted peach, and roasted banana flavors.
- The ice creams were not very sweet or flavorful.
- Every batch I made had ice crystals.
- Lastly, and potentially most importantly, they didn't have the same structure as ice cream and were not as creamy.
I decided to make Pavarotti vegan ice cream. My first batch of the roasted banana base wasn't very banana flavored, so I decided to roast the banana first. This enhanced the banana flavor while drawing out extra moisture that could potentially lead to ice crystals. It also adds a nice caramel note!
I made a homemade syrup that included coconut oil and maple syrup. The syrup incorporated into the mixture much better than just tossing the fruit in sugar. Several articles I read suggested the addition of corn syrup to help with the texture, I wanted to stick with whole ingredients so corn syrup was not an option.
Finally, I read an article about Salt and Straw. They use cashew milk in addition to coconut milk. On its own, coconut milk wasn’t enough fat to give the ice cream structure like the fat in dairy products would.
I made my own cashew milk, and used just a tiny bit less water than cashews, it was definitely creamier than actually milk. So maybe it is actually cashew cream… But check out the photo below!! That is some great structure right there!!
Instead of pure sugar caramel, I used date caramel. All you need are dates, water, a tiny bit of vanilla (optional), and a pinch of salt. The consistency ends up being PERFECT to swirl. The ice cream is so delicious that it does not even need the addition of chocolate chips!
This has to be one of the very best recipes I've ever developed. I am so proud to share it with you!
Have you ever tried making vegan ice cream? What ingredients did you use? What is your favorite brand and flavor of vegan ice cream? I've never actually tried any before, so I would appreciate the suggestions!
Celebrate these last warm days of summer by making this vegan ice cream! If you do, tell me what you think by leaving a comment below! Or post a pic of your beautiful creation on Instagram, tag me @corrielanderson, and use #itsallofit!
ROASTED BANANA SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL VEGAN ICE CREAM
Recipe Author: Corrie Anderson
Recipe Type: Dessert, Dairy-free, Vegan
Serves: 6 - 7
Roasted Banana Base
- 3 bananas, preferably with a few brown spots on them
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 4 – 6 hours
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup raw sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Salted Date Caramel
- 10 dates
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup water (be sure to read instructions!)
*If you are using an ice cream maker, be sure to freeze the bowl overnight so it is perfectly frozen!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut bananas up into ¼ inch pieces. Toss banana slices into a large bowl with 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Arrange on baking sheet and pop into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. You’ll know the bananas are done with they have crispy caramel edges.
- While bananas are roasting, drain your cashews. Add cashews and 1 ¼ cup water to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If there are chunks in the cashew milk, strain them out. Place in refrigerator until ready to use! You will have extra left over!!
- Add ¼ cup water, sugar, and maple syrup to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved Next, add 5 tablespoons of coconut oil and the rest of the salt. Stir until melted.
- Prepare a large bowl with ice water and a large Ziploc bag, or additional bowl on top of the ice water.
- Add 1 cup cashew milk, coconut milk, sugar mixture, and roasted bananas to a blender. Blend until smooth! Pour mixture into Ziploc bag or bowl over ice water. Let it sit until it is cool to the touch. Then put it in the fridge over night or if you are short on time, pop it into the freezer for about an hour. (I took the freezer route and it worked perfectly!) This is a very important step!
- While mixture is cooling, start making the date caramel. Using fresh dates is the best route, and will result in a smoother mixture. Soak dates for 4 hours, or heat up some water and soak the dates for 10 minutes. Add dates, vanilla, and salt to a food processor. (you could use a blender too, but it is MUCH easier to scrape out of a food processor) Blend/Pulse until mixture is smooth. Add water as needed but only in small amounts!!
- Add mixture to your ice cream maker and churn until mixture becomes firm, just a little bit more firm than soft serve. Pour mixture into a freezer safe container and drizzle caramel over top, stirring very gently, just enough to disperse the caramel! Freeze for a couple of hours (if you can wait that long) and then serve! Keeps for about a week!
** If you don’t have an ice cream maker, add cold mixture to a freezer safe container and stir once every 30 – 45 minutes for a couple of hours.