Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream [Vegan]

The blogosphere seems to have been bitten by the creamsicle bug.

Jessica kicked things off with these wholesome Whole Wheat Creamsicle Muffins; Angela bestowed upon us her healthy Flu Buster Clementine Creamsicle Smoothie; and Ashley presented her version of Angela’s creation with a tempting Orange Coconut Creamsicle.

Determined to come up with my own creamsicle-inspired treat, I set out to create a vegan orange vanilla ice cream.

I browsed through my trusty dairy-free ice cream cookbook The Vegan Scoop and found a recipe for orange ice cream using soy milk, soy creamer, orange zest, and freshly squeezed orange juice. I used Wheeler’s recipe as a starting point, but subbed in unsweetened vanilla almond milk for the soy products, added extra vanilla in the form of vanilla bean paste, and poured in a splash of vodka.

Wait… vodka? Let me explain.

If you’ve made homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt, you are probably aware that it can be difficult to scoop once fully frozen. In an attempt to keep this frustration from occurring, I turned to the technique of adding in a bit of flavorless vodka to the ice cream base. Since alcohol does not freeze, adding it to ice cream before churning should theoretically yield a softer end result… which is to say easier to scoop.

Oh, and you can’t taste the vodka, I promise!

My ice cream was still somewhat hard straight from the freezer, but it was noticeably softer than others I’ve made… which is impressive given the negligible amount of fat in this recipe.

I initially hesitated to call this ice cream, as it is more icy than the traditional creamy frozen dessert. I’d describe the consistency as somewhere between sorbet and ice cream.

As for the taste, this citrus-scented and vanilla bean-speckled ice cream is quite refreshing. I wouldn’t say the flavor is a spot-on replica of an orange creamsicle, but it is reminiscent of the classic treat.

Have you ever tried homemade ice cream with almond milk? Please share links if you have!

Vegan Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

adapted liberally from Wheeler Del Torro’s The Vegan Scoop

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, divided (Trader Joe’s carries a super creamy version)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 4 medium-sized oranges)
  • 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (I might reduce this to 1/2 cup next time – the ice cream is very sweet)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp vodka, optional (I picked up this trick for keeping the ice cream softer from David Lebovitz)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup almond milk and arrowroot powder; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 3/4 cup almond milk, orange zest, orange juice, and evaporated cane juice. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring often; remove from heat, and immediately whisk in the almond milk/arrowroot mixture. Mixture will thicken noticeably. Whisk in the vanilla bean paste or extract and vodka (if using).
  3. Pour thickened ice cream base into a large bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2-3 hours. Freeze according to ice cream manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately as soft serve or chill in the freezer until “ripened” (hardened).

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2 comments to Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream [Vegan]

  • I have used almond milk in homemade ice cream, it is a lot thinner than soy milk. I too use a little vodka or other liquor to soften the ice cream, another way to do that is to use egg white. Obviously that would not work for a vegan recipe, but I wonder if there is a vegan egg replacer that would work? If there is, I’d like to know, because there are enough people who don’t have eggs or alcohol that another option would be good. I’ve never used vanilla bean paste but I seem to be hearing more about it lately. I love having vanilla bean specks in certain recipes and it does seem like a convenience compared to having a vanilla bean at hand.

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