There are so many awesome things happening with this vegan ice cream, I hardly know where to begin. So, let’s start with the source! Today’s extra indulgent, perfect-for-summer treat comes from the talented Healther Crosby’s new cookbook, YumUniverse Pantry to Plate. Aside from being beautifully designed (the typography! the illustrations!), the concept is also brilliant: “Improvise meals you love—from what you have.” I love it, because isn’t that how most of us tend to cook for ourselves? I’m constantly trying to make the most of what we have on hand, and Heather’s recipes make it easy to do just that. She’s organized her chapters into a series of templates and recipes where you can mix and match to make a meal your own or follow her simple recipes to the letter. It’s great for those of us who like to have options, or the times when we need a little inspiration, and also when we just want someone to tell us what to make. As Heather so eloquently writes, “…meal creation begins from where you are, with what you have, right now.” And with that said, let’s make some ice cream!
Out of all of the dessert options, ice cream is probably my top pick. I worked as an ice cream scooper in high school and part of college and even after being around it for hours on end four years in a row, I never got burnt out. The only reason you don’t see more ice cream on P&H is because 1) it’s basically winter in Boston for 8 months out of the year and 2) asking Aaron to photograph quickly melting ice cream puts a strain on my marriage (ice cream cooperates for no one). The behind-the-scenes of this photoshoot was more chaotic than most, although I will say that Aaron was a really good sport. He even made me a reclaimed wood ice cream holder after I got it in my head that we definitely, definitely needed one. [insert eye roll emoji]
But unlike photographing this ice cream, making it is easy, unfussy, and downright fun. Heather’s done a great job pairing classic flavors—vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon—with fun add-ins and spices. Even if for some reason you don’t make the ice cream, you must make the salted chocolate-covered pecans because they will rock your world! They’re spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and cayenne, and sweetened with maple syrup that gets perfectly sticky and chewy in the oven. I made a double batch, knowing full well that we’d be lucky if half made it into the ice cream.
Thank you, Heather, for sharing your extra dreamy ice cream recipe with us! Pantry to Plate will be getting prime real estate on my cookbook shelf. xo
Note: the caramel in the photos is my 3-Ingredient Vegan Caramel Sauce. Highly recommended if you’re looking to go all out with your ice cream.
- ½ cup (50 g) raw pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup (120 ml) maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Two pinches cayenne pepper
- Two pinches ground cardamom (optional)
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 3 cups (720 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch/flour
- One 3-ounce (85 g) dark chocolate bar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the pecans, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup ¼ teaspoon of the salt, cinnamon, cayenne, and cardamom until the pecans are coated. Scatter on the baking sheet and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from the baking sheet and cool in the fridge.
- Press the vanilla bean pod so it lies flat on a cutting board. Carefully slice down its entire length with a sharp knife and open. Use the back of your knife to scrape out the caviar-like seeds and toss into a large pot. Heat the pot to medium-high and whisk together the coconut milk, the remaining 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup, oil, bourbon, arrowroot, and ¼ teaspoon salt until velvety smooth and starting to simmer. Remove from the heat and chill for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge, until thoroughly cool. Melt the chocolate bar over a double boiler and toss the pecans in the chocolate until coated. Cool in the fridge; chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Process the chilled milk mixture in an ice cream maker until firm but stirrable. Transfer to a freezable container and fold in the pecan clusters until evenly distributed but maintain swirls and chunks. Freeze for 1 to 3 hours, until firm. Thaw to scoopable consistency and serve.