I have a funny, sad story about how this Vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream came to be. It’s a story about Kev’s birthday this past year, when he asked for Frankie & Jo’s Ice Cream, a delicious gift that could be consumed, no long-term storage necessary. Kev fell in love with the plant-based creamery last fall while at a work conference in Seattle, when I tagged along and we ate pizza at Delancy’s (not vegan) and skipped a store-front over for a scoop of Frankie & Jo’s (vegan) afterward. It was love at first bite.
So, when it came time for his birthday, half a year later, all he wanted was a shipment of Frankie & Jo’s. My mom, the matriarch gift-giver of the family, happily obliged to this overly spendy birthday idea. We waited all day Wednesday for the overnight shipment to arrive. And all day Thursday. And most of the day Friday. Until late afternoon, when we got the call that this precious delivery landed in A-Bunch-a-Towns-Over, Minnesota, from one mistyped number in the zip code. (Mom, it happens to the best of us.) We declared it soup over the phone and bought a consolation birthday pint of dairy-free ice cream at the store. (Dairy-based ice cream isn’t happy in Kev’s stomach.)
Rather than ordering again, Kev, not the cook of the family, set out to recreate Frankie & Jo’s ice cream recipe. I let him do all the research and buy the coconut oil and cocoa butter chips before sweeping in to take over the project. Or maybe he did all the research and bought the coconut oil and cocoa butter chips to set the stage so that I’d take over the recipe development part. That’s probably more accurate.
According to Kev’s research, the internet is void of any Frankie & Jo’s copycat recipes. So he turned to Van Leeuwen’s Vegan Salted Caramel Ice Cream recipe and listened to and read every interview with Ben Van Leeuwen. Meanwhile, I picked that recipe apart to create a vegan ice cream base, adding in nutritional yeast, like Frankie & Jo’s, to mimic the touch of tang in dairy. And, because Ben says it’s nearly impossible to get a plain ole vegan vanilla ice cream right, we went the mint chip route, mostly because my mint plant is thriving this year.
Well, it was a happy birthday after all. We can now churn the next best thing to Frankie & Jo’s in the comfort of our own home. Here’s to making super scoopable, dairy-free, plant-based, naturally (muted) green Vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream out of lemons. Or something like that.
A naturally green, vegan Mint Chip Ice Cream. The base of this plant-based ice cream is inspired by the ingredients found in Frankie & Jo’s, an all-time favorite scoop from Seattle. Note: an ice cream maker is necessary for this recipe. Here’s the one we use.
1 c. raw cashews 2 c. water*, boiling
1 1/2 c. pure cane sugar 1/3 c. water* 1/2 c. cocoa butter chips 1/3 c. coconut oil 1 can (13.66 oz.) full fat coconut milk 1 c. mint leaves, lightly packed 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional) 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 c. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Make the quick-soak cashew milk. Add the cashews to a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, and bring water to a boil. Pour 2 cups of water over the cashews, and cover the blender with the lid. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the base. For best prep results, measure out all of the base ingredients in advance. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan. Heat over medium-low for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar just dissolves, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa butter and coconut oil until melted. Some seperation will occur. Set aside.
Once the cashews have soaked for 10 minutes, blend on high speed for about 45 seconds or until completely smooth. Pour in the coconut milk, mint leaves, nutritional yeast, kosher salt, and extract. Blend on high for 30 more seconds, or until mint leaves are no longer visible.
Carefully pour in the sugar mixture and blend again on high for at least 30 seconds or until the mixture is smooth and completely incorporated. Mixture will look like a frothy green juice and feel silky smooth to the touch. Cover the blender with the lid, and place in the fridge to cool for atleast 4 hours.
Once cooled, churn ice cream according to your machines instructions until creamy. Pour in the chocolate at the very end to incorporate. Place ice cream in a freezer-safe container and continue freezing overnight before serving.
*When a recipe calls for water, use the same water you drink.
For scoopable, creamy ice cream, a high-fat content is needed, whether plant-based or dairy-based. The fats in this recipe come from the cashews, cocoa butter, and coconut oil. Cocoa butter chips can be found in the bulk section of specialty grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Co-ops. You can also find nutritional yeast in the bulk section, a common ingredient used in vegan kitchens to yield a cheesy, tangy flavor. A little goes a long way in this recipe. If you find yourself with extra nutritional yeast, try this Cashew Queso or Bitchin’ Sauce. For guidance on shopping in the bulk section of your grocery store, check out this post.
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