In a past life, I posted my ice cream adventures on another board. Since then, I have perfected the recipe even further...
Before attempting to make ice cream, however, I'd highly recommend that you invest in an ICE CREAM MAKER. The one I have is the Cuisinart ICE-20
. There exist other, cheaper alternatives, but from those I've used, this is the best. Some have even suggested using an ice cube tray to freeze the ice cream mixture, then dumping the cubes into a food processor or Champion, but if it's REAL ice cream texture you're after, go with the real ice cream maker.
OK, now that that's out of the way, here is my recipe...
VANILLA ICE CREAM BASE:
1 Cup cashews (no need to soak)
1 1/2 Cup water
1/3 Cup raw agave
1/4 tsp salt (+/-)
1/3 Cup raisins (This is the secret ingredient that imparts the rich/buttery flavor)
1 vanilla bean
1-2 Tbsp Cacao butter or Coconut oil or young coconut meat
Take all the above ingredients and blend in Vitamix for a couple of minutes...or at least until all the solids have blended away.
NOW, pour the mixture through a sprout bag. This will catch all of the tiny cashew/vanilla bean particles, and make the final product much more silky smooth.
Now, you have a perfectly good vanilla ice cream base, but who wants to eat plain ol' boring vanilla!? (JK, you vanilla lovers!
At this point, I add any of the following to the base...
Carob (about 2 Tbsp)
Cocoa nibs (a small handful)
Raw cacao powder mixed with cocoa butter
The exact quantity of each of the above ingredients will vary based on taste and the quality/moisture content of your ingredients, but I usually add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup total volume at this stage in the game.
Now, place the ice cream base and your flavorings back in the Vitamix, and blend just long enough to get everything mixed well.
At this point, it is best to 'pre-chill' the mixture. If you simply dump the mixture into the ice cream maker now, it won't set up properly, and it will be less firm than even soft serve. Place it in the fridge for a few hours, or if you've gotta gave that ice cream ASAP (trust me, I've been there!), put the mixture in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. You want it to be cool, but not to the point where ice crystals are starting to form. (SPECIAL NOTE: do not use the ice cream maker 'bowl' to do the pre-cooling. The base will freeze to the bowl, and the batch will be ruined.)
When the mixture is sufficiently cool, pour it into the ice cream maker, and let it go! After about 20 minutes or so, it should be ready!