If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (well, at least a few months’ time), you likely know how much I loathe the cold weather. In particular, I detest snow and ice. Oh, and frost. Also rime. And let’s not forget slush. Plus, boots and hats and mitts and gloves and scarves and big, bulky, quilted jackets and coats. Not to mention The Girls‘ paws getting all wet and snowy, leaving tracks across the floor whenever we come home from our walks. Oh, and I guess I should also mention all that salt and sand that gets thrown on the streets to keep them from becoming too treacherous, too. You know, now that I think of it, I also abhor the fact that it’s dark until 9:00 AM and then dark again by 4:30 PM. Oh, yeah, and what about having to shovel the driveway? And. . . .
Okay, you get the idea. Winter sucks.
Still, there are some bright moments. Cozy sweaters. Fireplaces. Fuzzy slippers. And, as my friends are constantly reminding me, “without winter, you’d never appreciate summer.” (Actually, no. Believe me, I’d still appreciate summer.)
I’ve been thinking about that concept as summer comes to a close, and I suppose it does have some merit. I mean, if a negative event occurs in our lives, it so often leads to something new that’s wonderful, right? Just as winter inevitably leads to spring.
When I divorced the Starter Husband, initially, I was a wreck. On the other hand, our separation led to a year renting a townhouse with my lifelong friend, Gemini I, during which we shared some of our most cherished times together, forging memories and strengthening our friendship.
When I was diagnosed with candida, having to change my diet (again) was, at first, awful. But it led to this blog, lots of experimentation with lower glycemic desserts, and, ultimately, my upcoming book (which is set to hit shelves September 12th–wahoo! And don’t forget that you’re guaranteed the lowest price if you preorder before that date!).
When I had a huge row with the HH last week, we grumbled and brooded for hours. Then, right before bedtime, it led to an extended session of makeup TV, watching Breaking Bad together and sharing chocolate-cherry ice cream. (What? You thought it would lead to something other than that? This is a G-Rated blog, people!).
And so, even though school is about to start up again next week (or may have already started for some of you), the end of August in Toronto leads to fresh cherries, which leads to incredibly rich and enticing treats like this ice cream. See? Something good after the bad!
I recently received a copy of Kathy Hester’s Great Vegan Bean Book, and wow–what a gorgeous collection of recipes! They all look fantastic (and I’ll write about the book as soon as I have a chance to sample several of them), but in the meantime, I was inspired by her own frosty treats, all of which contain beans. I’ve made bean brownies, bean-based cookies, two kinds of bean butter and bean-based fudge, but never ice cream. It was time!
And so glad I did. This vegan dessert is sugar-free and candida diet-friendly, but no one would ever guess. The HH spooned it up gleefully and then asked when I’d be making it again. I love the fresh cherries for their brilliant crimson and abundant juiciness, but feel free to use frozen as well–I’m sure they’d be equally delicious.
So grab this chance for some of the last ice cream of the season. Pull up a bowl, scoop some out, and forget that winter is right around the corner.
Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream
The hidden beans in this frozen treat add protein and density without being detected in the final product. If you’re not worried about sweeteners, feel free to replace the stevia with coconut sugar or agave nectar. This ice cream can also be made successfully in a regular ice cream maker.
1/2 cup (80 g) raw cashews
1/2 medium just-ripe avocado
1 can (12 ounces or 400 ml) full-fat coconut milk, preferably organic
1/3 cup (35 g) raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder (note that the cocoa is more bitter)
1/3 cup (55 g) coconut sugar
1 to 1-1/4 cups well-cooked black beans, drained (canned beans are fine)
1/4 tsp (.5 ml) pure stevia powder
1 Tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened plain, vanilla or chocolate almond milk or soy milk
1 cup (240 ml) fresh cherries, pitted and halved (or about 1/3 cup for every 2 servings of ice cream)
Set aside 10 silicone muffin cups (place in a metal muffin pan), set out a large plastic or glass container (enough to hold 4 cups/1 liter), or set aside 4 sandwich-sized ziploc plastic bags.
Place all ingredients except cherries, in order given, in the bowl of a high-speed blender and blend until silky smooth.
Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups, or pour into the container. Freeze the until solid, at least 4 hours, then pop out of muffin cups and store in ziploc bags until ready to use. If using the pan, freeze only until firm, 2-3 hours. Invert the pan on a cutting board and remove the block from the pan, then cut into 12 equal pieces. Place the pieces in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer until ready to use. (Alternately, simply pour the mixture into individual ziploc bags, about 1 cup/240 ml in each bag, seal, and freeze that way).
When ready to serve the ice cream remove 3 frozen discs, 2 blocks, or one ziploc bag for each 2 servings. Chop the frozen ice cream into large chunks and place in a food processor. Process just until the mixture comes together in what looks like a dough (it will crumble at first but will eventually smooth out). Sprinkle with the cut cherries and pulse the mixture 3-4 times to incorporate and chop the cherries somewhat. Serve immediately. Makes a total of 6-8 servings. Store frozen.
Ice Cream Maker Variation: Blend everything but the cherries as above; pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and run according to manufacturer’s directions. Add cherries during the last 5 minutes of churning. Store as directed.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 3 Maintenance and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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