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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


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Last Sunday we had a family party (24 of us) for my granddaughter Mariah's 13th birthday.  Because Mariah loves coffee flavor, I made two 9 x 13-inch Chocolate Mudpie Cakes with Coffee/Coconut/Pecan Icing (except that I used almonds instead of pecans, which I was short of).  To go with it, I made a double batch of the following ice cream. There were only a few vegans there, but everyone loved this rich-tasting treat, and we had no leftovers to bring home (which is a good thing, since we are weight-watching!).

               The Birthday Girl cutting her cake, with eager guests waiting.

Some notes on the development of this recipe:
 I've been playing with my gelato recipe from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen". I wanted to make it richer-tasting, easier to make, and with more servings. One of the things I did was to use Instant Clearjel® instead of the cooked tapioca flour mixture that I used to generally use (tapioca thickens the mixture instead of eggs, and it has better mouth feel than cornstarch). This eliminates cooking the starch mixture, which means the whole thing takes less time and it doesn't take so long to chill the gelato mixture before freezing. Instant Clearjel® is a modified corn starch, which simply means that it is precooked, used to thicken recipes (see Cooking Tips below recipe). And the vegan ice cream made with it does not crystallize, or get rock-hard. It's creamy, and has no starchy mouth feel.

More recently, I discovered that xanthan gum can do much the same thing, but it does need to be cooked first.  I added directions for this option to this recipe.

I plan to experiment with more vegan ice creams, gelati and sorbets over the summer, so stay tuned.  I hope you enjoy this one, which is a variation of "Butter Pecan".

Printable Recipe

 Servings: 12
Yield: approximately 1 1/2 qts. (6 cups)
Due to the addition of the melted buttery spread (essential for the flavor of this recipe) and the nuts, this is little richer than most of my ice cream recipes.

NOTES: The Instant Clearjel®  (or xanthan gum) in the recipe makes the ice cream very creamy and prevents it from getting rock-hard in the freezer.

You will need a home ice cream maker for this recipe. If you don’t have an electric version (this is the one I have), an inexpensive hand-cranked version (the type that uses a metal cylinder which is kept frozen in the freezer until used), such as the Donvier, works just fine (and you only have to turn the handle 3 or 4 times every few minutes).
4 1/4 cups    commercial almond milk (original style)
3/4 cup    maple syrup (grade B is fine)
1/4 cup melted palm oil-free vegan buttery spread (such as my homemade Buttah)
1 tablespoon    pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste  
2 3/4 teaspoons    Instant Clearjel®  OR 3/8 tsp. xanthan gum
3/8 teaspoon    salt
1/2 cup chopped whole (un-blanched) almonds (do not leave them in large chunks) 
1 tablespoon palm oil-free vegan buttery spread (such as my homemade Buttah)
Process all of the ingredients EXCEPT the almonds and last tablespoon of buttery spread in a blender until VERY smooth and frothy (make sure that it is not grainy at all).

Chill the ice cream mixture thoroughly—this is very important!

While it chills, melt the 1 tablespoon vegan buttery spread in a medium-sized heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped almonds and stir constantly until they are getting golden.  Scrape onto a plate and place that in the freezer.

When the ice cream mixture is thoroughly cold, freeze it according to directions for your ice cream machine. When it is firm, but still moving, slowly add the chilled toasted almonds and churn a little bit longer. Scoop into freezer containers, cover and freeze for several hours before serving.
 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 193.0 calories; 34% calories from fat; 7.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 133.4mg sodium; 147.1mg potassium; 30.0g carbohydrates; 1.1g fiber; 27.2g sugar; 29.0g net carbs; 1.6g protein; 4.3 points.
 Cooking Tips
Instant Clearjel® is a modified corn starch, which simply means that it is precooked, used to thicken recipes. And the vegan ice cream made with it does not crystallize, or get rock-hard. It's creamy, and has no starchy mouth feel.

For clump-free, smooth results: " is best when first combined with dry ingredients, before adding liquid. It will begin to swell or thicken as soon as it is added to water, milk or juices; it will impart a smooth, short texture when fully hydrated, reaching its full thickness within 5-10 minutes (without requiring any cooking). Instant Clearjel® can be used in cooking as well. The viscosity will increase slightly upon heating. It has excellent heat and acid resistance and can be used in acid containing foods and in those applications where heating is required. It has good cold temperature storage stability, making it particularly well suited for refrigerated and frozen foods."

America's Test Kitchen recommends it for fruit pies, BTW.

It isn't available on store shelves-- here in Canada I had to get 11 lbs. of it from a bakery supply company (Snowcap), but maybe a bakery would sell you a smaller amount.

You can now order it in Canada from the Gourmet Warehouse (Vancouver):

In the US, you can mail-order it from (and I believe that they all ship to Canada):

Barry Farm
King Arthur Flour

In Australia/NZ you can order it from the Angel Food online catalog.


Mattheworbit said...

You're always so innovative!

We've just bought an icecream maker, and I've begun experimenting with xanthan gum - so I really look forward to trying this. Thanks for the tips.


Heather McCann said...

Wow this looks SO good! Thanks so much for sharing! Mmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna,

I was able to purchase a small amount of clearjel from Galloways in New Westminster, B.C. I think they also have an online site to order from.

Love your site; have many of your cookbooks; and whenever I need answers to anything cooking related, you're the one I turn to.

Best regards,

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Gail I couldn't find it on their website-- do you have a link?

Anonymous said...

There are two sites. I usually go to - the store.

Apparently galloway's was originally owned by two brothers from Uganda, who decided to separate the businesses. So same family, but different business. I don't know if one can order online from the New West store. Am afraid I assumed the two stores would carry much the same product. Perhaps a direct email would clarify things. I've always found the New West store owner to be very helpful.

Hope that helps........Gail