When it comes to making ice creams, frozen yogurts, or sorbets, my bible is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.
I got his book a few years back, and since then, I’ve been following the recipes religiously to make cool things that make the summer months more bearable.
It’s a veganized adaptation of his Philadelphia style ice cream.
The ice cream has a rich, creamy base with a delightful buzz of coffee and melting notes of vanilla and cinnamon. A handful of crunchy, candied walnuts give the cool, velvety ice cream all the texture it needs.
And yes, by the time I sat down to write the blog, the family had inhaled all of it!
How to Make Vegan Coffee Ice Cream?
In a saucepan, gently heat coconut milk, coconut cream, and sugar. Split a vanilla pod and throw it in with a stick of cinnamon and some coffee powder.
Keep stirring the mixture on low heat till it simmers, and the sugar is completely incorporated. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Do leave the vanilla pods and cinnamon stick in the mixture. It imparts more flavor, making the fragrant spices play against the bittersweet coffee in a beautiful melody.
Once the mixture is cool enough, give it a taste test. If you prefer sweet, creamy ice cream with a bracing punch of sugar, add more.
Just keep in mind that as the ice cream chills, the perception of sweetness alters. What feels perfectly sweet when lukewarm, will be less so when chilled.
If you prefer a bold and bitter coffee ice cream with just a dash of sugar, increase the amount of coffee.
I used an instant coffee powder that was lying around in the pantry. But brewed coffee works like a charm.
Since the strength of coffee differs from brand to brand and how it is brewed, please adjust the amount as necessary.
Freezing the ice cream
After you’ve made all adjustments as per your palate, chill it in the refrigerator. Then freeze in your ice cream maker by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Candied walnuts (or any other nut that you love) is an optional step. While they may be totally unnecessary, they are utterly delicious.
Walnuts and coffee are a natural pairing, and they do incredibly well in velvety ice cream form. The crunch and slight bitter end note of walnuts stunningly set off the thick coffee flavor.
How to make candied walnuts?
In a pan, heat sugar and walnuts till the sugar melts entirely. The trick is to keep stirring the sugar on low heat; else it will burn.
Once the nuts are richly painted in the melted sugar, transfer them to a parchment. Wait for them to cool, chop them up, and then add to the ice cream.
Make sure you leave some candied walnuts to garnish the coffee ice cream while serving.
You can use this method to make any candied nuts and not just for ice cream. Store the candied nuts in a jar, and they make for delicious munchies.
The coffee ice cream recipe is extremely versatile. You can twist and turn it in any direction you enjoy.
We love the slight suggestion of coconutty savor in our ice cream from the coconut milk and cream.
But if you don’t want it, please feel free to use regular dairy. Stick to just cream, or you can utilize half full-fat milk and half cream.
For the sugar, both raw and coconut sugar work well. If walnuts are not your thing, substitute with any nut you prefer.
Anyone looking for a non-vegan recipe, refer to my Chocolate Almond Ice Cream for the steps.
Serving the Vegan Coffee Ice Cream
Scoop the coffee ice cream, top it off with some more candied walnuts and enjoy. That’s how my home slurped it up. But you can always drizzle some caramel and serve.
No matter how you relish it – as is or with toppings - on a sweltering hot day, like we’ve been facing lately, the chilled coffee ice cream calms the soul. First, you taste the sweet melting goodness of cream with whispers of vanilla and cinnamon. Then comes the pleasant kick of rich, roasted coffee. And finally, to round it all off, you get the crunch from the candied walnuts!
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Vegan Coffee Ice Cream
- 300 ml Coconut cream
- 400 ml Coconut milk, full fat
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp Instant coffee powder
- 1 Vanilla bean, split in half lengthways
- 1 Cinnamon stick
Candied Walnuts Optional
- 1/4 cup Walnuts
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine coconut cream, milk, coffee powder, sugar, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick. Stir over very low heat until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat.
- Let this mixture cool and then chill it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Stir the chilled mixture and take out the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Scrape out all the vanilla pods from the bean using a small knife, into the mixture.
- If using ice-cream maker – pour and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add the crushed candied walnuts right at the last minute of churning. Pour this in an airtight container and freeze for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
- By hand – Pour the mixture in a large bowl and freeze it for 1 to 2 hours. Take it out of the freezer and beat vigorously with a whisk/ electric beater or simply blitz it in your blender. Pour it back in the bowl and freeze again. Repeat this process 2 more times. Every time you whisk or blend this, you are breaking down the ice particles and making the mixture smoother. The last time you blend it, add the crushed candied walnuts. Pour this in an airtight container and freeze for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
- Place the walnuts and brown sugar in a saucepan.
- Cook on low heat stirring continuously till the sugar melts and coats the walnuts.
- Transfer to a small sheet of parchment or baking paper. Let the walnuts cool.
- Roughly chop them in small bits for the ice cream.
- Store in an air-tight jar.