When the dog days of summer roll in, I really start craving ice cream.
Who am I kidding…I always crave ice cream!!
That’s all fine and dandy, except for the small issue of a severe dairy allergy, which makes enjoying ice cream a little more challenging for me than for most people. Added to that allergy is a fierce aversion to any ingredients that fall into the fake, chemical, artificial, risky, highly processed or questionable categories. So needless to say, most commercial ice creams are simply not options for me. Yes that includes dairy-free ice creams too! Here’s why:
Case #1 – Rice Dream Vanilla Frozen Dessert
Ingredients: filtered water, organic brown rice syrup, organic agave syrup, organic rice dextrin, organic expeller pressed sunflower oil and/or safflower oil and/or canola oil, natural vanilla flavour with other natural flavours, organic tapioca starch, soy lecithin, sea salt, organic guar gum, carrageenan
Case #2 – So Delicious Chocolate Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Ingredients: Organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup, chicory root extract, cocoa, carob bean gum, guar gum, natural flavour
Does that list strike anyone else as odd? Shouldn’t ice cream be made from mostly cream, sugar and vanilla? What the heck are those other ingredients in there for? Let’s break it down:
- Brown rice syrup & agave syrup: sugar alternatives
- Rice dextrin: a dextrin is a starch (in this case rice starch), which has been treated with either an enzyme, an acid or an alkali to create a string of glucose molecules. It is used as a thickener.
- Organic expeller pressed sunflower/safflower/canola oil: an industrial seed oil, touted as heart-healthy by the powers that be, which were originally meant for paint and machinery (heaven forbid there is any real fat or cholesterol because that stuff will kill you!)
- Tapioca starch: a thickener
- Soy lecithin: an emulsifier, made from non-organic (therefore GMO and pesticide-laden) soy. Emulsifiers allow fat to dissolve into water.
- Guar gum: a powder derived from guar bean, a legume. It is used in food production as a thickener, an emulsifier and a stabilizer. It prevents the product from separating.
- Carrageenan: a polysaccharide extracted from seaweed, often used in lieu of gelatin to thicken food products. It also acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer. There is controversy around the safety of heavily processed carrageenan, with some research showing an association with intestinal ulcers and neoplasms. In my own experience, I find it very irritating to the digestive tract and choose to avoid it.
- Chicory root extract: made from the root of the flowering chicory plant. The root is most commonly used as a coffee substitute. It also contains inulin, which is an insoluble fibre, known for its prebiotic activity. It is used as a thickener and mild sweetener.
- Carob bean gum: a powder derived from the carob bean, a legume. It is also known as locust bean gum. It is used as a thickener and an alternative to cocoa.
So why are all of these ingredients necessary? Well first of all they’re not, but that’s besides the point. What’s going on here is an attempt to mimic the chemical composition of cow milk. Milk is what is known in the science world as a colloid – a bunch of tiny fat droplets suspended in water. Now in order to mimic this using water and an industrial crop oil such as canola, all sorts of emulsifiers must be added to the mixture to force it to become a colloid. The right mix of emulsifiers, thickeners and stabilizers can turn water and oil into an ice cream evil clone. It sort of feels the same, but deep down you know it’s not right!
The coconut version is definitely a better option, because it embraces the naturally high-fat composition of coconut milk, eliminating the need for adding a crop oil to water and forcing them to mix. However it still contains chicory root, guar gum and carob bean gum. Since guar gum and carob bean gum are legumes, and I don’t particularly enjoy migraines (trigger), the lesser of 2 evils is still evil to me!
Now that your favourite non-dairy ice cream is starting to look a little questionable (sorry!) how about a delicious and easy alternative that will totally satisfy kids of all ages? Made with only 2 ingredients, my Mango Creamsicles are a guaranteed winner! As always, I will be using my favourite brand of coconut milk – Aroy D.
While you can use any popsicle mould, try to find a plastic-free version if possible. I was super thrilled to find these silicon popsicle moulds on Amazon and promptly bought 2 packs!
While I have never made this recipe in an ice cream maker (I don’t own one – yet – hint hint oh hubby dearest!), I have a feeling it may turn out pretty well. If I end up the owner of an ice cream maker, I will give it a shot and report back, but until then they will stay in popsicle form for me. Enjoy!
- 1 cup Aroy D coconut milk
- 2 ripe ataulfo mangos
- pinch of sea salt
- 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- 2. Blend on high until a very smooth consistency is achieved.
- 3. Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze.
- Run under hot water for 10 seconds to help the popsicle release from the mould.
- I am sure you can use any type of mango (or fruit for that matter) but the ratio of fruit to milk might change. Green mangos tend to be a lot larger than ataulfo's, so you likely will only need 1!
Combine all ingredients and blend. Check out this amazing trick for preparing mangos!
Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze. Mine don’t stand up on their own so I put them in a pint glass.
Run under hot water and enjoy!
This recipe is flexible and adaptable to any ingredients that you have on hand. Get creative! What other flavours are you going to try? Share in the comments below!