Mint Choc-Chip is my favourite ice cream flavour, ever, and I’ve been experimenting lately to make a worthy raw version that meets my high expectations (in case you’re wondering: the mint should sing as a clear flavour but not be toothpaste-like; the chocolate should be dark and bitter). The addition of kale or spinach juice to this ice cream makes me feel oh-so-vindicated of my ice cream obsession and as the ice cream is sandwiched between two delicious, raw, vegan brownie slices, this dessert is a super pretty one to serve to skeptics of healthy food.
The trick to getting these to look neat is to freeze everything in rectangular slabs and to make a template to cut them out with before assembling. It’s worth this extra fiddling about; freezing them together in layers won’t come out as good, (trust me).
RAW CHOCOLATE BROWNIE
1 CUP DRIED DATES, SEEDS REMOVED + CHOPPED
1/2 CUP ALMONDS
1/2 CUP PECANS
3/4 CUP RAW CACAO (or DUTCH PROCESSED COCOA, not raw)
1/4 CUP WATER (IF NEEDED)
Whizz all the ingredients in your food processor until combined. You may need to add a little water to make the mixture turn around but make sure it’s not too wet. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up a little. Then divide the mixture into two and roll each out separately with a rolling pin between two pieces of greaseproof paper to about 1cm (1/3 inch) thick. Leave them in between the papers and place on a flat tray in the freezer for a few hours to set.
RAW MINT CHOC-CHIP ICE CREAM
5 RIPE BANANAS, PEELED AND CHOPPED
2 DROPS EDIBLE SPEARMINT (OR MINT) ESSENTIAL OIL
1/3 CUP LIGHT AGAVE NECTAR
1/3 CUP FRESH SPINACH AND/OR KALE JUICE
1/3 CUP RAW CACAO NIBS
Whizz all the ingredients except the cacao nibs in your blender or food processor until really smooth. Place in a container into the freezer for an hour until the ice cream begins to thicken and set. Remove it before it hardens completely and stir through the cacao nibs (this way they won’t sink to the bottom as the ice cream is partially set). Now pour the ice cream mixture into a plastic-wrap lined rectangular tray or dish and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Decide what shape you’d like to make your ice cream sandwiches (I did think about a hexagon, but then I couldn’t be bothered. There was ice cream: I wanted to eat it). Use a piece of paper as a template to cut your brownie slices out with a sharp knife and group into twos. Use the same process for cutting the ice cream, cutting one ice cream slab for every two brownie slices. Sandwich the ice cream between two brownies and you’re done! Store any extras in the freezer wrapped in greaseproof paper inside an airtight container.
It’s starting to get colder where I live, but the days are still sunny and besides, I like ice cream year round. And this one doesn’t contain cream, milk, sugar or eggs – it derives its base from hazelnuts which gives it a Baci chocolate meets nutella kind of flavour.
Although not at all raw, the agar-agar (find it in Asian supermarkets – it’s a flavourless gelling agent made from seaweed extracts, common in Asian desserts) helps stop the gelato freezing rock solid when stored in the freezer, if you can resist not eating it all immediately.
1 TABLESPOON POWDERED AGAR-AGAR (I use Telephone Brand with the cute, gold telephone)
1/2 CUP WATER
Place agar-agar and water in a saucepan. Stir over a very low heat until simmering and thickened into a gooey, gelatinous mixture.
1 CUP RAW HAZELNUT BUTTER
1 1/4 CUPS DUTCH PROCESS COCOA POWDER (OR RAW CACAO POWDER)
1/2 CUP DARK AGAVE NECTAR
1.5 CUPS WATER
PINCH OF SALT
1/2 TEASPOON MACA (OPTIONAL, I like the caramel-y taste)
Whirl all ingredients in the food processor or blender with the stabilizer, if you’re using it. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before churning in an ice cream maker.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you could freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and blend these in a food processor, or freeze it into individual portions and just take them out 15 minutes or so before you want to eat them to soften a little.