Renee, two desserts in one day?! Here I am. I’m sitting looking back on today, and I realize I’m the proud creator of my very first no-maker cashew ice cream. Is it yummy? Yes, it is. Is it exactly like your old childhood scoop of strawberry ice cream? No, I’m not going to be the person who tells you that. However it’s not far off and that isn’t necessarily a disadvantage! I’m convinced this is the path to non-dairy ice cream glory.
Raw cashews make for a wicked dairy substitute and I’d seen some recipes floating around for cashew ice cream but they needed an ice cream maker (and were from sources I do not like nor trust). I found this one here, which is what I based mine on, which had a simple solution of just stirring every twenty minutes until it sets. I really didn’t want to make a sugar-free one, so I decided to stuff it full of fruit so I could use just a little sugar in it. I braced myself for this to take all day, but was pleasantly surprised when the ice cream set in just a couple of hours. The exact time is going to depend on your particular freezer, but just note it’s not as arduous as I thought it would be. Let your cashews soak for longer, the less powerful your blender or food processor is.
Peanut butter and jam are one of the most legendary pairings, so that led me to sandwiches using a simple peanut butter cookie recipe. Feel free to just make the ice cream; it definitely stands alone! You can expect more homemade ice cream in the future because I think this has a tremendous amount of potential, even possibly something without what can be prohibitively expensive: cashews. Given the delicate nature of peanut butter cookies, you can very easily sub any other kind that sounds good to you, but allow me to suggest my Movie Star Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes 4 cups
1 3/4 cups raw cashews, covered with cold water and refrigerated for up to 24 hours, drained
2 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 maple syrup (sub for sugar in the strawberry mixture)
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Strawberry jam or preserves, (optional) for additional strawberry punch!
In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 cup water, strawberries and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have started to break up. Set aside and let cool. After you’ve drained your soaked raw cashews, combine all ingredients, except jam or preserves, in a high-powered blender or food processor and process until completely smooth. This is going to be a little loud and take a while in a run-of-the-mill food processor, but it can definitely be done. Pour into a shallow baking dish and put into the freezer. Every twenty minutes, take it out, stir it and break up any of the bits that are starting to set. Repeat until the whole mixture has set. Cover and (surprise!!) keep frozen until ready to eat.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 18 cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter (this will not work with natural peanut butter)
1 flax egg, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour (Mine; use brown rice flour, it’s less gritty than white)
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat all ingredients until smooth. It will be a little crumbly, but hold together when pressed. Roll out 1 tablespoon into a ball. Flatten out with the back of a spatula and then make the classic fork marks on top of each one. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
The cashew ice cream is a little softer than hard ice cream, so this should be easy. Using a small ice cream scoop sandwich a scoop between two cookies and lightly press to evenly spread out the ice cream. Shape the ice cream around the edges, if you want to. Wrap individually with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to eat.