Vanilla ice cream was a tough one for me. I tried a couple of recipes that weren't good. I think part of it is that those of us who could eat ice cream at one point have a well ingrained memory of what vanilla ice cream should be. Plus vanilla is a complex but delicate flavor. Unlike chocolate, where the strong flavor of the chocolate can hide a multitude of "sins", vanilla can be easily overpowered.
I tried hemp milk for the first attempt. It had a really bitter aftertaste. Yick. The second batch had sucanat in it. Blech. The taste of the sucunat overpowered the vanilla. While we like sucunat in quinoa chocolate chip cookies and banana bread, it was too much for the vanilla. The third attempt was better but still had a strong taste from the demara sugar that my younger son didn't like. (He poured chocolate sauce over the ice cream and ate it anyway. It didn't slow him down too much.) But, really, is a stand alone vanilla too much to ask?
So fourth time's a charm...
And I used the recipe in The Vegan Scoop as a guide. I stuck with using white granulated sugar (The ice cream in my freezer isn't vegan because the sugar isn't vegan. If you are vegan make sure you use vegan sugar, okay? And call ahead if you want vanilla when you come over 'cause I'll have to make another batch with agave syrup in it for you. Okay? Okay.) I used the arrowroot powder-- it makes such a difference in the texture of the ice cream!
Also, I used a equal amount of coconut milk and rice milk. The coconut milk provides a bit of fat. The rice milk helps tame the coconut flavor. So the ice cream tastes like vanilla instead of coconut vanilla. (Which would be good but we'll save that for another day.)
This is a simple recipe. It took less than five minutes to put together to the chilling stage. After chilling it took about 20 minutes to freeze.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 1/2 cup coconut milk (So Delicious brand original unsweetened) (1/2 cup reserved)
1 1/2 cup rice milk (Rice Dream brand original unsweetened) (1/2 cup reserved)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (if you're vegan make sure your sugar is vegan- it should say kosher on it)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (Spice Islands)
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
A bowl mix arrowroot powder with reserved milk. Set aside. In a pan over low to medium temperature combine1 cup rice milk, 1 cup coconut milk, and sugar. Heat just enough that the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat, add arrowroot slurry and vanilla, pour into a bowl and chill. (I pour mine into a metal bowl and place in the freezer until well chilled but not frozen.)
Freeze in ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's instructions.
Note: This is best if allowed to warm for 5-10 minutes before serving. It scoops more easily and is smoother. The texture is more a gelato than a smooth cream.
This will be good on it's own, with fruit (especially strawberries with raspberry sauce), with chocolate syrup, etc!