healthy chocolate ice cream with white mint swirl

Going dairy-free can be really hard -- especially for a milk, cheese and ice cream addict like myself. But sadly, dairy doesn't agr...

Going dairy-free can be really hard -- especially for a milk, cheese and ice cream addict like myself. But sadly, dairy doesn't agree with my body anymore so I decided to stay off of it for as long as I can and allow my body to mend. 

You probably need to know me to understand how huge it is that I no longer consume dairy. As a child I think I actually drank far more milk than water. As a teenager I became mostly vegetarian, relying most heavily on the dairy food group to get me through my meals. Cheese, cream, milk, ice cream were all staples for me at that time. 

When I moved on to University my ice cream addiction continued and I ate goat's milk cheeses often. After moving to Edinburgh and then London in the United Kingdom I became fully obsessed with artisan cheese and made browsing cheese shops (and of course tasting cheeses) one of my all time favorite activities -- that and drinking high quality espresso beverages at small coffee shops around London. I went through cappuccino withdrawal when I returned to Canada.

When I met my husband I was in a yogurt and cottage cheese routine. I would eat both almost daily and lots of them. Dairy was probably my main source of protein and energy. I was also suffering from a few chronic illnesses that I would have never associated with my dairy reliance in a million years  -- asthma as well as a pre-cancerous condition that I couldn't rebound from, and chronic fatigue. When I met my darling husband I had just been told by a medical specialist that surgery was my best bet for recovery and tumor prevention. 

I wasn't ready for that. At all. 

Rather than hand my doctor a scalpel, my future husband convinced me to try "alkalizing" to balance out what he referred to as my 'totally acidic diet'. He started by suggesting cutting dairy out of my diet as much as possible -- I did so almost entirely. He wanted me to get off it altogether but I couldn't find the willpower.  I also went grain-free and refined-sugar-free. My diet became fairly dull -- lots of beans and lentils, lots of fresh and steamed vegetables, lots of lemon water in the morning. I didn't have check ups for my condition often so it was 4 months after the surgery recommendation that I was seen again by my specialist. I had been on the diet for about 4 months at that point. 

Guess what -- my 'condition' had totally vanished.

I was 'perfect'. My doctor was shocked. She asked what I had changed. I mentioned the new diet and that that was really the only change I had made. She told me that she had personally seen a number of patients try similar diet changes and experience amazing results not unlike my own -- something that continued to amaze her. She, of course, wasn't at liberty to recommend such lifestyle changes to anyone though -- there wasn't enough documented evidence to prove that this was a real solution apparently...I was dumbfounded and mildly annoyed to say the least. To me it was like she was saying, 'I have seen evidence that this natural solution works but I'm not going to tell you about it because witnessing it for myself wasn't enough to reassure me.'

Since that time dairy has occasionally crept its way back into my life but never on the daily basis that I once enjoyed it. I ate goat cheese about once a week for a few months and enjoyed an occasional cappuccino while on vacation and the occasional scoop of ice cream would make its way onto my piece of pie... That all stopped about 4 months ago when after having about 1/4 cup of goat's cheese on pasta I spent the next six hours curled up in a ball trying not to cry from the intense abdominal pain it resulted in. I knew my days of dairy were coming to a close. The real issue became how could I still have those foods I loved so much without it? So Baking Backwards was born out of my time of trouble and I've been transforming my kitchen into a lab ever since.

If you read my blog you know I've shared a few vegan cheese recipes as well as some vegan milkshakes but I've really only shared a small number of ice cream recipes. That's not to say that I haven't tried making vegan ice cream! I have tried to make ice cream but it can be difficult without using coconut milk (a flavor I'm not always a fan of) or soy milk. I am also allergic to nuts and sensitive to gluten so no almond, cashew, hazelnut or oat milks will appear in my recipes either. And I hear they make great ice cream! 

Nope, I had to think outside the box a bit for this recipe.

As you may have seen on this blog, I like to use black beans in chocolate recipes. Exhibit A: my Deep N Delicious Cake. The beans create a rich silky texture in desserts and puddings so I thought I would try working them in as the base of today's ice cream. Wow! So great! Even cooler is that once the ice cream sets solid in your freezer its actually better if you move it down to your fridge to store. I found that this method maintained the optimal texture and flavor for this "ice cream". I made a lot of sweets the week I made this ice cream batch so I stored it in the fridge for over a week. Rather than sucking after a few days in the fridge I think it actually got better!

This marvelous ice cream is dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, nearly vegan (contains raw honey, but look below to learn how it is easily adapted with my suggestions to be VEGAN), totally delicious and creamy. It is high protein, high fiber and naturally sweetened so you don't even have to feel bad about eating it! In fact, this ice cream is so ludicrously nutritious you can probably enjoy it for breakfast!

Don't skip the mint swirl. 

It takes this chocolate ice cream from ordinary to extraordinary!

You need to make this! Even if only to clean out your pantry of those beans that are taking up too much space!

Healthy Chocolate Ice Cream with White Mint Swirl

(gluten-free, grain-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, seed-free, ‘beegan’ friendly, vegan optional)
Recipe from Baking Backwards and Danielle Dewar
Part I:
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
  • espresso infused sea salt - 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
Add to food processor and blend until smooth.
Part II:
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint, washed in hot water and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao butter
Heat a dry pot over the lowest heat setting. Add the cacao and the mint and melt the cacao, stirring often.
Part III:
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp 100% cocoa powder           
Add the cocoa powder to the bean paste and blend to incorporate.
Part IV:
  • 2 tbsp raw honey + 1/2 tsp (or make vegan -- substitute maple syrup, agave or brown rice syrup for honey)
  • 1 tbsp sira
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 5 heaping tbsps pear sauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large dash coarse sea salt
  • 1 tbsp evoo
  • 1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 3.5 tsp vegenaise
Add the honey and maple to the bean mixture and blend. Add all other ingredients and blend.
Part V:
  • 1 tbsp melted cacao liquid from above
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
Add the cacao liquid to the bean mixture and blend to incorporate. Remove the mint from the melted cacao on your stovetop. Take the leaves only and add to the bean mixture. Puree.
Part VI:
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tsp raw honey (or make vegan -- substitute maple syrup, agave or brown rice syrup for honey)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp evoo
  • 1 tsp maca
In your saucepan add Part VI  ingredients to the cacao liquid.Whisk to incorporate the ingredients over lowest heat setting.Should look glossy and clear.
Blend the bean puree again. Pour 1/3 of it into an airtight freezable container. Top with a generous drizzle of the cacao mixture. To that add the next 1/3 of the bean mixture. Spread out to the sides. Add more drizzle of cacao liquid. The add the remaining bean mixture. Then top with another large drizzle of cacao. If you have too much cacao liquid (like I did) grab a few candy cups and spoon the excess into the bottom 1/3 of each. Place on a flat plate and set in the freezer to have a few mint chocolates.

Grab a spoon and swirl through the bean/cacao mixture to marble it but not mix it. Place the lid on tight and transfer to your freezer to set. Should take a couple hours. After the mixture has set hard, scoop and serve immediately for best texture or transfer to store in your fridge until ready to serve. It will not melt in the fridge but if kept in the freezer for too long it will freezer burn.

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