Raw cacao ice cream
The days of making raw ice cream with frozen bananas are over. You hear that? O V E R. Because I found a way to make raw ice cream that doesn't involve it having a weird banana undertone. Unless you like the weird banana undertone - then, by all means, enjoy your banana ice cream. But for those of us who are sick of the freaking bananas, I found a solution. And best part about this ice cream? Only the fact that it doesn't contain any dairy or refined sugar, but tastes like real ice cream. That alone is reason enough to celebrate.
I had my doubts about this stuff. Especially after the first night of trials had my kitchen floor covered in cashew milk. Yep, all down the stove, seeping into the burners, all over the floor. And me. Off went my pants in the middle of the kitchen. But when I dipped my spoon into the churning ice cream maker (yeah, you probably shouldn't do that) and had a taste, I completely forgot about my milk soiled pajama pants. It was rich, creamy and flavorful. And considering my Ben & Jerry's loving boyfriend gave it two thumbs up, I'd venture to say that this stuff rules. It rules so hard, you guys.
There's a lot to say about this ice cream, so follow along. First of all, it's super versatile. If you prefer a sweeter ice cream, add more dates. Less chocolate? Reduce the cacao! The ice cream base is comprised of the cashews, water and dates - and there are so many flavor possibilities that it makes my head spin. You could ribbon in raw chocolate (cacao + coconut oil), or add cacao nibs and a few handfuls of unsweetened shredded coconut. How about whipping up some raw brownies and adding chunks of that? Completely omit the cacao and cinnamon, and add a vanilla bean for raw vanilla bean ice cream. You could even make a raw version of my blueberry frozen yogurt by adding lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and blueberries. Or any other fruit. AM I BLOWING YOUR MIND OR WHAT?
And don't think I forgot about you people without fancy mixers or magical ice cream making devices. Because if you don't have either, you can still make this stuff. Simply blend all of the ingredients together in your blender, then pour the base into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Once frozen, transfer cubes to a plastic bag for storage, then mix in your blender whenever you get the sudden urge for ice cream (you may need to add a bit of liquid to get things moving). So, kind of like the whole frozen banana ice cream process, minus the whole banana flavor.
*A commenter pointed out the "high" calorie content of this ice cream (about 300/half cup) - so if that bothers you, you can strain out the nut pulp (although I don't recommend it unless you're seriously committed to sticking to your calorie counting diet). I, however, welcome high calories and good fat with an open mouth. Isn't that the point of eating a diet full of mostly plants? So I can eat whatever the hell I want and not feel bad about it?
RAW CACAO ICE CREAM
1 3/4 cups raw cashews
3 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
15 medjool dates, pitted
6 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Ceylon)
Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight (if you don't have a high speed blender, the longer you soak the cashews, the better). Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and transfer the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the water and blend on high speed for 45-60 seconds. Add the dates, making sure each of them is submerged, then allow to soak for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, blend mixture on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the cacao powder and cinnamon; blend on high speed for at least one minute. Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until ready to consume. Thaw for 20 minutes before serving. I like to top mine with cacao powder and a handful of cacao nibs. I highly recommend it.
Yield: About 1 quart