Vegan Mint Ice Cream
To me, summer is all about two things: hot days and lots of ice cream.
By Helen Williams
I’ve been a fan of frozen treats since I was a kid: whether it was chasing down the ice cream truck at the Jersey shore, sitting in a favorite booth at a local shop or dipping pretzels in vanilla ice cream (best trick ever, seriously, you gotta try it), I’m a little surprised that I didn’t arrive where I am sooner. Oh yeah, I just recently started up a vegan ice cream business in Boulder County, Colorado. Woo!
I turned my love for the traditional flavors into a full-blown obsession when I started developing my own recipes using organic coconut milk. I like ice cream that is sweet (of course) but not so sweet that the only flavor you get is, well, sugar. It should actually taste like the flavor it’s advertising, like rich cocoa, fresh strawberries or: a cool, refreshing mint!
Mint is often a great go-to ice cream flavor when the temperature really starts to rise. It’s got a level of freshness and lightness that can instantly perk you up. And if you want to learn how to make your own, you’ve come to the right place.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
2 13.5oz cans of organic coconut milk*
½ cup organic cane sugar**
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-6 bunches of fresh mint***
1 ½ teaspoons arrowroot starch****
* You’ll likely find this in the ethnic section of your local grocery store. Or the baking aisle. Sometimes both. Also, go for the full-fat version. It’ll just come out better, trust me. If you really can’t do it, at least go half and half with one full-fat, one lite.
** Don’t do cane sugar? It’s cool. Coconut sugar will work. If you’re not worried about keeping it vegan, you could also do honey, though that will affect the overall flavor somewhat.
*** The star of the show! Let’s talk about mint for a second. First things first, this will really only work with the fresh stuff. You can pull a few leaves off of that overflowing plant in your backyard (right?), swing by the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store or your local farm stand. Mint is popping this time of year. If you can, go for spearmint. It’s a much more mild/naturally sweeter version of mint. Peppermint will totally work, but be more sparing as the flavor can instantly go from must-have dessert to bowl of toothpaste. Which nobody wants, trust.
**** Arrowroot starch is my best friend when it comes to making vegan ice cream. If you peruse the frozen section of your grocery store (damn, you hang out at the store a lot), you’ll find lots of vegan ice cream options (or, “non-dairy frozen desserts”, boo), each with a paragraph of ingredients. To me, many of those are unnecessary. I find that just a pinch of arrowroot helps bind everything together to add up to that silky, scoopable texture we’ve come to expect from ice cream (whether it has dairy milk or not).
Start by putting one can of your coconut milk and your mint into a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined and no large pieces of mint remain. Transfer the contents of your blender to a medium saucepan and add your second can of coconut milk. Heat the coconut milk over medium-high heat. Whisk in your sugar and vanilla until dissolved. Bring to a slow boil and then reduce your heat to medium-low, still allowing the base to simmer. In a small bowl, add your arrowroot and about a half a cup of your heating ice cream base. Whisk together until you see no visible lumps. Add this arrowroot and base mixture back into your stockpot and bring back to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
Allow your mixture to completely cool and then transfer to your refrigerator to chill. For best results, allow it to chill overnight. But if you really can’t wait and you need some ice cream, like, right now, try to wait at least four hours. Anything less than that will probably result in a less-than-ideal texture.
When you’re ready to churn, follow the instructions of your particular ice cream maker. I happen to use the ice cream attachment on my KitchenAid mixer and it works so well, I bought a second one. You know, so I could make two flavors without have to wash and refreeze the attachment. Smart.
Don’t have an ice cream maker? Girl, you’re still invited to the party. Do you have a loaf pan? Or a Tupperware container? Or a generally freezer-safe/food-safe container? Add your chilled base to this and transfer to the freezer. Every 30 minutes, remove it from the freezer and stir vigorously. Repeat a few times until the ice cream is relatively smooth and creamy. You won’t achieve the exact same texture as a traditional ice cream, but it will still be delicious.
Bonus, if you’re the kind of person who likes to add more to your ice cream (present), this flavor goes great with: chocolate chips, of course, crushed up sandwich cookies (as shown in the photos, try not to lick the screen), or simply as is. You can’t go wrong with mint alone!
Did you try this recipe? Tell us what you think! And if you happen to be in Colorado and want to try some of Best One Yet’s vegan ice cream, find out where we’ll be next here.