Jenny's Raw Recipe Blog

How’d You Do That? - A step-by-step tutorial to turn nut milk into raw food ice cream

Posted on June 29 2010 | (9) Comments
Category:Raw Snacks and Desserts

If ice cream is one of your favorite desserts, but you’ve been worried about news reports linking dairy to a variety of health problems, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Nut Milk Ice Cream, one of my favorite raw food desserts.  My cookbook Raw for Dessert features raw food ice cream recipes because so many people love frozen treats.

How many? According to the USDA, Americans consumes 21 pounds of dairy-based ice cream per person per year and more than 90% of all U.S. households surveyed say they consume ice cream and related frozen desserts.  But I think if people would try a raw food nut milk ice cream, they’d realize it delivers all the tongue-pleasing goodness of their favorite frozen confections, with lots more nutrition.

Remember, commercial food processing strips away healthy nutrients and adds unhealthy preservatives. Raw recipes allow food to retain more of their natural goodness...without giving away anything in taste.

Raw food ice creams are made with nuts and or young coconut meat instead of cow’s milk and cream. One of the most versatile raw food frozen desserts in Raw for Dessert is Brazil Nut Vanilla Ice Cream. Add mix-ins like fresh fruit, raw nuts, or even a drizzle of maple syrup to go from ‘plain vanilla’ to something really extraordinary.

You can use Brazil Nut Vanilla Ice Cream to make a raw food pie or tart ‘a la mode’ or in this decadent raw food Knockout Brownie Sundae. 

But before you can start using Brazil Nut Ice Cream, you need to make it.  It all starts with my Brazil Nut Milk recipe. And that begins with soaked nuts. Let’s go through the process together step by step.

Step 1 – Soak Raw Nuts

In order to obtain the smooth texture necessary for non-dairy ice cream, nuts must first be soaked. Put nuts in jar or bowl of cool water and soak at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

Then drain and rinse them.  That’s it.  This one simple step turns a basic raw food ingredient like nuts into a ‘secret ingredient’ for desserts. 

Soaked nuts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.  But why wait. Let’s turn those soaked nuts into nut milk!

Step 2 – Make Nut Milk

Place the following ingredients in your blender and process on high until very smooth.

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup raw Brazil nuts, soaked for 8-12 hours

Strain the mixture through a mesh bag and you’re ready for Step 3.

Interestingly, different nuts require different soaking times and produce a different ‘yield’ after they have been soaked.  For example, a cup of dry raw walnuts or pecans that have been soaked for 4-6 hours will leave you with a cup-and-a-quarter of soaked nuts.  Almonds and Brazil Nuts, on the other hand, soak for 8-12 hours and have a yield of one-and-a-half cups of nuts.

Oh, by the way, you can keep nut milk for up to five days in the refrigerator, so you can do this step ahead of time.  That means you’re never more than a couple of hours from a delicious frozen raw food ice cream.

Step 3 – Make Brazil Nut Vanilla Ice Cream

What makes this raw food ice cream so special is the luxuriant richness of Brazil nuts.

  • 2 cups Brazil Nut Milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup light agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla beans (seeds only)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Pour 1/2 cup of the Brazil Nut Milk and all of the cashews in a blender and process until very smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups Brazil Nut Milk and all of the agave syrup, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and salt and process until blended. Transfer to a jar and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Put the mixture in an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Brazil Nut–Vanilla Ice Cream tastes best if eaten immediately, but it will keep for 5 days stored in a sealed container in the freezer.  And here’s a special tip to make an already delicious raw food confection even more satisfying: thaw your ice cream for a few minutes before serving and you’ll increase the creaminess.

Ice Cream Makers

The days of rock salt and hand-cranked ice cream are gone! So are the days of painfully high prices for ice cream makers. New models are easy and inexpensive to use. I recommend the Cuisinart brand. The canister where you mix the ice cream holds a freezing agent.  Just place the canister in the freezer for eight hours and abracadabra – you’re ready to make ice cream!

Take a tip from me:  if you like to mix-and-match your ice cream flavors, it’s smart to buy additional canisters.  That way you can have your own little ‘31 Flavors’ of raw food ice creams.  (Or maybe just 2 or 3!)

Sorbets and Granitas

When you want something a little lighter than a nut milk ice cream, there are raw food sorbets and granitas that can be used for elegant desserts and refreshing snacks. There are several raw food sorbet recipes in Raw for Dessert – Blackberry Sorbet, Strawberry Sorbet, and Concord Grape Sorbet, among others.  Most of these require nothing more than fruit and agave syrup...along with an ice cream maker. 

Self-admitted choco-holic that I am, I also created an intense Bitter Chocolate Sorbet that I make with whole cane sugar and cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder).  This recipe also requires nothing more than a whirl in the blender and a few hours in the ice-cream maker.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, my Grapefruit Granita recipe just calls for a food processor.  You combine fruit juice, water, and agave and then freeze the mixture in ice cube trays.  To get the shaved-ice consistency of granita, simple pop the cubes into a food processor fitted with the S blade and whirl your way to deliciousness.

Previous Comments

On August 29, 2010 W. C. Murphree said...

This site is fantastic. and this article is also fantastic, I never dreamed I could have ice cream in a raw food diet. I’m going to start right away.

On September 17, 2010 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

I can’t wait to try this. I have to get an ice maker first.
I made almond milk the other day and loved it but my cheese cloth didn’t work so I used it on my cearel and it was great.
I couldn’t eat kale raw before until I saw you demonstrate the mediteraean salad recipe on utube.  Massaging the kale is the secret.
I love to watch you.  I can tell you love what your doing and your a real teacher. 
Thank you

On November 04, 2010 Celeste said...

Thank you very much for your amazing work and instructional videos!!

On December 05, 2010 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

How much Brazil Nut Vanilla Ice Cream does this recipe make?

On December 05, 2010 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

Hi Marilyn,
This recipe yields 2 cups, or 1 pint, of ice cream.


On December 05, 2010 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

Jennifer - thanks for responding as to how much ice cream this recipe makes - it looks good and the smaller yield is really great for just one or 2 people- Marilee

On December 05, 2010 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

You’re welcome—let me know how the ice cream turns out when you make it!


On January 29, 2011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

My family made the brazil nut vanilla ice cream along with the chocolate ganache, and I just have to say it was FANTASTIC!  The chocolate “syrup” becomes hardened on the frozen ice cream creating a delicious chocolate shell that reminds me of the dipped cones from my childhood. Quite easy to make, healthful, and absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for this terrific recipe!

On January 31, 2011 Jenny Cornbleet said...

Hi Moira,
So glad you liked it! I love the hot-fudge sundae you’re talking about, and I also like it with caramel sauce and praline, for a Turtle Sundae variation (also in the book Raw For Dessert). Enjoy!


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