I have always wanted to try my hand at ice cream making, but sadly my freezer drawers are way to narrow to fit an ice cream bowl, and I’m just not organised enough to hand whisk at half hourly intervals. I haven’t got a Vitamix or Blendtec either, which means I can’t use the freeze and blend technique.
However, when my blogging friend Aimee Ryan (who writes the wonderful Wallflower Girl blog) recently launched her recipe book for coconut milk ice creams, I just couldn’t wait any longer. Those scrumptious recipes were calling to me and I needed to find a way to make them asap!
After trawling the Internet, I found an alternative option available to me – an ice cream maker with in-built compressor. These machines don’t require any pre-freezing of bowls. You simply pour the mixture in and 40 or so minutes later the ice cream is ready. These gadgets are pricier than traditional ice cream makers (which you can pick up for less than £20), but for people with freezer storage issues like me, these machines are perfect.
I especially liked the sound of the Andrew James New Improved 2 Litre Professional Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker. The reviewers had given it 4.5/5 stars on Amazon and, while a pretty sizable piece of equipment (43cm wide x 28cm deep), I love its sleek style and cool blue LED display. My kitchen colours are red, black and stainless steel, so this gadget goes perfectly. Last Friday I took the plunge and ordered the machine…. and it arrived the following morning.
I’d carefully read through all the reviews, so I knew what I was in for. The main negative was that it was a bit fiddly to slot the bowl, paddle and lid into place. These reviews must be referring to the older model though because the set up on the new improved machine couldn’t be easier. I didn’t even bother consulting the manual as it was obvious how to do it.
The next step was to choose an ice cream flavour. Aimee’s ice cream recipes are divided into five chapters:
♥ Healthy Spins on Famous Flavours – Vanilla, Chocolate, Cashew Cookie Dough Chip, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie, Salted Caramel, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha
♥ Fruity Flavours – Coconut, Mango & Passionfruit, Roasted Pineapple, Papaya & Lime, Roasted Plum & Cardamom, Pomegranate, Sweet Melon, Date, Strawberry, Caramelized Banana, Peaches & Cream, Orange, Apricot
♥ Nut & Seed Flavours – Pecan Praline, Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl, Pistachio, Chestnut Caramel, Chocolate Hazelnut, Maple Glazed Walnut, Salted Almonds, Toasted Sesame Seed
♥ Spicy Flavours -Fresh Ginger, Mayan Chocolate, Wasabi, Chinese Five-Spice, Sweet Curry
♥ Dessert Inspired Flavours – Rhubarb Almond Crumble, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Red Velvet Beetroot Cake, Coffe & Walnut Cake, Christmas Pudding
♥ Boozy Flavours – Pina Colada, Rum & Raisin, Apple Cider, Irish Cream, Roasted Cherry & Whiskey, Mojito, White Wine
♥ Floral Flavours -Blueberry & Lavender, Chamomile & Vanilla, Elderflower & Lemon, Orange Blossom, Rose Raspberry Ripple
♥ Herbal & Tea Flavours – Chai Tea, Lemon Green Tea, Fresh Basil & Mint, Malted Maca Chocolate, Earl Grey
With all these lush flavours to choose from, we ended up practically filling the entire book with stick it notes! We’ve decided we’re going to work our way through all the recipes (adapting the boozy flavours to make them child friendly) and, to kick off our ice cream making adventure, Lil’ L chose the Chocolate and Salted Caramel flavours
Following reviewers’ recommendations, I chilled the ice cream maker for 10 minutes before pouring in the chilled ice cream mixture. I didn’t bother using the pouring hole. I just poured the mixture straight into the bucket, slotted it into the machine, screwed on the lid and pressed the button. You can choose different churning times and for our initial trials, I chose 40 minutes. This was pretty much spot on. The ice cream was soft serve consistency and the paddle started to have difficulty rotating.
We could have served it straight away as soft serve, but we decided to freeze it so it could be scooped into cones. Aimee recommends storing the ice cream in a wide, shallow dish so I used my Pyrex lidded glass dish (which I’d previously chilled as my house is so hot at the moment). After three hours we checked on the ice cream, and it was ready for scooping.
All the ice cream recipes in Aimee’s book are dairy free, egg free, gluten free and vegan. Though, at the time of writing, Aimee wasn’t vegan herself, she simply believes that coconut milk makes the best ice cream. The healthiness of her recipes is an added bonus. For the Salted Caramel ice cream, the flavour and colour comes from delicious coconut sugar. After three hours in the freezer, the consistency of the caramel ice cream was perfect. It was silky smooth and soft enough to scoop right away. And it had the most amazing caramel flavour. I find most commercial ice creams sickly sweet, but Aimee’s got the sweetness levels spot on. It was utterly delicious ♥
The chocolate ice cream uses maple syrup as the sweetener (as do most of Aimee’s recipes) and, in addition to cocoa powder, it has dark choc chips melted into it to add even more chocolatey goodness. As a budget-friendly alternative to pure maple syrup, I use Clark’s Original Maple Syrup, which is a blend of maple and carob syrups (around £4.86 for 500ml in Asda or Sainsbury’s (97.2p/ 100ml)). I also watch out for half price offers on Clarks pure maple syrups.
After freezing for a few hours, the chocolate ice cream was a lot firmer than the caramel one so, as Aimee recommends, we left it on the worktop for ten minutes and I heated my metal scoop in hot water. It then scooped perfectly. The flavour was incredible! It’s by far the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and Lil’ L said that it was easily as good as the quality ice cream he’s eaten in Italy. And I couldn’t believe it when ‘M’ enthusiastically tucked in and said how good it was. He isn’t usually an ‘ice cream person’ and tends to decline if you offer it to him. However, these coconut milk ice creams have won him over.
It’s great that Lil’ L’s on his school holidays as he makes a very handy ice cream model It was pretty hard for him to resist the temptation to lick it…
Five seconds later he caved in
I am so pleased that I finally took the plunge and got an ice cream maker. I know it’s going to get used a lot. It will probably take me the rest of the year to work my way through Aimee’s recipe book. I’m especially looking forward to trying the Christmas Pudding flavour! I’m also looking forward to making fruity sorbets, hopefully using fresh berries from my garden.
Many thanks to Betta Living for providing the ice cream maker for these tasty new recipes ♥ Both the Andrew James Ice Cream Maker and Aimee Ryan’s Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe book are available to purchase from Amazon UK. For our US & Canadian friends, Aimee’s book is also available from Amazon.com.
Do you have an ice cream maker? If so, what’s your favourite recipe? If you’ve posted any vegan recipes online, please do share below.
Lovely readers, I just want to let you know that I’m about to take a little break from blogging & social media. I’ll be back towards the end of August. Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to catching up with you all on my return xx