Nothing says summer like cool and velvety ice cream. But with all the processed dairy, refined sweeteners, and added artificial ingredients, it can be hard to thoroughly enjoy this summer treat without a side of guilt.
But don’t think you have to give up this sweet treat to stay on track with your health goals. I make healthy ice cream all throughout the summer, using real ingredients that nourish my cells and satisfy my sweet tooth.
Making your own healthy ice cream is just a matter of including Key Ingredients and Key Methods to attaining soft, rich, and luscious results we’re all looking for – and I’ve included my Healthy Ice Cream Making Guide just below today’s recipe!
Because Mint Chocolate Chip is my all-time favorite flavor (happens to be Bree’s/Betty Rocker’s too) I’m sharing with you a base ice cream recipe using mint and cacao nibs as my chocolate chips.
Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
Yield: 2-4 servings (2-3 cups)
You will need: measuring cups and spoons, blender, saucepan, ice cream maker (optional)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup cashews
1 T coconut oil
1/2 T arrowroot starch
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
10 drops food-grade peppermint oil
1 T matcha powder
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 T cacao nibs
*note from Betty Rocker: if you don’t have matcha powder or chlorella tablets, you could use a scoop of Organifi which has a spectrum of superfoods and a minty flavor
- Add all ingredients (except cacao nibs) into a high-speed blender and process on high for 1 minute until fully combined and creamy.
- Pour the mixture into a medium-high heat saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat and pour into a glass container.
- Refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
- When ready to eat, pour the refrigerated mixture into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers’ directions.
- Toss in the cacao nibs seconds before turning the ice cream maker off.
- Or if you’re not using an ice cream maker, add cacao nibs to the mixture and pour into a freezer-safe container.
- Place in the fridge for 4-6 hours, stirring every couple of hours.
Healthy Ice Cream Making Guide
Creamy Thickener – you will need some sort of thickener to achieve the creamy results ice cream is known for. Here are a few of my favorites:
Coconut – you can use the flimsy meat from young coconut, add a few tablespoons of coconut butter (aka coconut manna), coconut oil, or use the milky version from full-fat canned coconut milk.
Raw Nuts – using high fat nuts like cashews, pecans, walnuts, macadamias, and pistachios are key to a creamy consistency. Just add the nuts in when blending.
You can also add nut butter instead of the whole nuts. Just be sure you’re using nut butter without any added sugars.
Fruits and Dried fruit – making a fruit flavored ice cream?
Dried Fruit: Soak the dried fruit in water so it blends well and then add it to the blender with all the other ingredients. This allows a concentrated fiber to bulk up the mixture without adding fat.
However, the concentrated fiber also comes with concentrated sugar so if you’re using this method, reduce the amount of added sweetener to avoid overloading your system with sugar.
Bananas: bananas provide a scrumptious natural starchiness. In fact, bananas provide so much starch and sugar that they can easily be blended on their own (best in a food processor) for a creamy banana ice cream.
Arrowroot Starch: adding in small amount, arrowroot starch offers a thick consistency that creates a gelato-like texture.
After blending with other ingredients it’s important to simmer the mixture for 3-5 minutes to activate the thickener and cook off the starch flavor.
Dried Fruit – items like dates, figs, apricots, and cherries all provide a big hit of sugar in a very small package. This means a little goes a long way. Dates are my top pick for a dried fruit sweetener because it has a very distinctive caramel tastes that registers decadent on my palate.
Syrups – Maple and brown rice syrup are my two favorite syrup sweeteners to use. Maple provides a rich depth of flavor and works well with deep flavors like coffee, bourbon, or chocolate.
Brown rice syrup provides a fairly neutral taste profile making it the perfect choice sweetener that doesn’t compete with other flavoring agents.
Raw Honey – choosing raw means that you’re getting all the wonderful medicinal benefits honey has to offer, along with the sugar hit. Raw honey pairs well with fruit and light flavored ingredients.
Granulated Coconut Sugar – another sugar that is beautifully paired with fruit or tropical ingredients. Coconut sugar is also low-glycemic making it an excellent choice if you’d like to keep your blood sugar in-check.
Non-sugar sweeteners – if you want to reduce your sugar intake, simply add ingredients that registers sweet on the palate without adding sugar.
Vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom are all excellent non-sugar sweeteners. Cinnamon is also excellent for blood sugar regulation so it’s a great addition to your ice cream even if you do decide to add sugar.
Main Flavoring Agent:
After you have your thickener and sweetener picked out, adding a main flavoring agent gives your dessert character. You can go simple with flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
You can also use this as an opportunity to get creative! Think of one of your favorite desserts: s’mores, German chocolate cake, tiramisu, peach pie, peanut brittle etc. and use the main ingredients to flavor your ice cream.
Here are a few of my favorite flavor combinations:
- Lemon Poppyseed
- Gingerbread Coconut
- Honey Lavender
- Maple Chai
- Burnt Cinnamon Sugar
- Pineapple Ginger
- Cherry Balsamic
- Maple Pecan
- Berry Basil
- Pomegranate Molasses & Fig
The magic is in the method! Here are the steps to take to ensure you’re getting the creamiest ice cream possible.
- Puree all ingredients until smooth. a high speed blender works best here.
- Heat in a saucepan to congeal the ingredients.
- Refrigerate to chill thoroughly before adding to an ice cream maker.
- Use an ice cream maker or place in the freezer (in a freezer-safe container) for at least 6 hours.
Bonus: add crunchy ingredients seconds before turning off the ice cream maker or stirring in before placing in the freezer.
I hope you get to try this healthy summer treat! Leave a comment below if you have any questions or want to share your favorite flavors and healthy ice cream recipes!
A healthy lifestyle is a balanced lifestyle, that’s why all Betty Rocker meal plans teach you how to balance the nutrients your body needs with whole foods so you can dine out or eat in with confidence, have room for healthy treats and those special occasions and weekend treats as well! Get your plan: