I hadn't seen or even thought about my ice cream maker for seven years. Granted, two of the years we were living in a rented house in Seattle, and much of our stuff was still in storage back in Madison. And for five of the years we were still traveling back to Madison for the summer, so not doing much summery cooking (like ice cream making) here at our new Seattle home. Still, seven years seems like a long time. But, last week, the thought of making ice cream became an obsession, and I asked my husband if he had any idea if the ice cream maker might be packed away in the basement. Did we still have it? Did it get sold in our Madison estate sale? He had no clue but said he would look.
|This is a photo of the box, my ice cream maker is actually red.|
I walked into the kitchen later, and the box was sitting on the counter — with the original price tag of $49 and the garage sale price that I paid, of $8, still stuck on the box front. My Donvier, hand crank, no ice, no salt, no electricity ice cream maker. Woohoo! (This is actually my second Donvier. The first cost $5 at a garage sale but I gifted it to a friend who really wanted it, when I found a red one. Who can resist a red ice cream maker?)
|The Donvier in action.|
A stainless canister chills in the freezer, then fits inside the plastic case to hold the ice cream mix. The handle gets turned occasionally, and miraculously, 20 minutes later, there is ice cream. Once I had the canister chilling in the freezer, the next step was finding a recipe. I really wanted to try using a natural sweetener — dates to be specific — instead of sugar or syrup. I just watched a video on NutritionFacts.org about the food value of various sweeteners, and it was kind of disappointing, since all my favorites ranked as basically useless, empty calories, when it comes to nutrition. The only two sweeteners with nutritional value were molasses and date sugar, but molasses-flavored ice cream was not what I wanted, and I didn't have date sugar. I did have dates. Now, I can hear you all saying "but it's DESSERT, it's a TREAT, shut up and enjoy life, why don't you?" But, if a food can be both delicious and healthy, why not go for it? And there ARE chocolate chips!
I searched my blog for an ice cream recipe to try, and found one from June, 2009 for ice cream made with cashews, banana, mango, ginger root and chocolate chips. It was sweetened with agave syrup.The original recipe is here, and is recommended if you prefer a sweeter ice cream, or if you are using a regular blender rather than a high speed one. The directions make it easier to get a smooth mix with regular blenders.
For the current version of the recipe, I used a Vitamix to blend my ice cream, and added all the ingredients to the blender jar at once. The ice cream was just as good as I remember. It comes out of the ice cream maker with a texture like soft-serve, but firms up in the freezer.
The finished ice cream was placed into a plastic container in the freezer for a couple of hours to let it harden a bit. It was still pretty soft when I served it the first time, but firm enough to make ice cream cones. After being in the freezer overnight, it had hardened and needed to be left out for five to 10 minutes to make scooping easier. The ice cream never got icy, even after a few days. The grand kids, who eat sweet, dairy ice cream, never questioned the taste or texture, just gobbled it up. So there. If I can serve the kids a healthier treat, why wouldn't I?
Mango ginger chocolate chip ice cream
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked 4 hours or overnight, and drained)
- 1-1/2 cups unsweetened rice milk
- 1 ripe banana (at least 1 cup of slices)
- 2 cups frozen mango chunks
- 2 large strawberries
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root (use the lesser amount if serving to kids)
- slightly rounded, 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates, tightly packed
- 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips into the jar of a high speed blender. Blend until the mix is totally creamy and smooth.
- Stir in the chocolate chips. Work quickly to keep the mixture as cold as possible.
- Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions.