Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream { vegan + sugar-free + option to make raw}

Peanut Butter Cups Ice Cream #sugarfree title
I have had a fantastic week. My friend Vanessa found out hardly two months ago that she needed to move to Glasgow, where she will be attending Glasgow University this autumn. She’d never been to Scotland before – never even been North before – and didn’t know anyone but me here. Moving to the other end of the country is daunting enough, but having to do in less than two months is an ordeal.
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A month ago she was viewing flats, this week she actually moved in. Yesterday was what my mother would call ‘une épopée – an epic adventure. Cramming Nessie’s every possession into our backpacks, one small and two giant suitcases, we took a bus, then a train, then a taxi and finally made it to her flat. Her quaint, chic, grown-up flat in the West End. Creaky wooden floorboards, high ceilings, cheerful yellow bedding – for someone who hates moving, I felt quite excited by the possibilities that moving offers. A fresh start, the feeling of adventure and expansion. It’s how I felt when I crammed with the cat into my mum’s overloaded car and followed the motorway signs to ‘THE NORTH.’
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But before she moved into to her new flat Nessie called my home hers for a week while she was ‘in limbo’. My neighbour jokes that my flat is becoming a halfway house for stray students waiting for their flats! I’ve had two different temporary flatmates over the past couple of months, and it’s been great to live with my girlfriends. Nessie’s diet and mine are polar opposites: she eats Kraft mac ‘n cheese any time of day while I make my salads and green smoothies, which is hilarious, and we still get along great. We spent a week watching countless Disney films, stealing some rare Scottish sunshine, talking about boys and eating ice cream. While she dug into a pint tub of Häagen-Dazs, I devoured peanut butter cup ice cream for lunch.
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Thanks for a great week, my loch Ness monster. Welcome to Scotland, and see you soon!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream: sugar-free, with option to make raw

  • Servings: serves about 3 people, 2 scoops each
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Note: Make the peanut butter cups first because they will need to set in the freezer. While they’re setting you can make the ice cream. BUT remember you need to freeze the bananas overnight for the ice cream, so a little advance preparation is necessary. 

For the peanut butter cups:

125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
about 2 heaped tbsp natural, smooth peanut butter (preferably palm oil-free; use raw to make raw PB cups)
1 tsp stevia

Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl suspended over a pot of boiling water (the bottom of the bowl must not touch the water).

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao and stevia until no lumps remain. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.

Coat the bottom and sides of 5 silicone cupcake moulds. Freeze for about 5-10 minutes until set.

Pour about a teaspoon of peanut butter into the cupcake moulds. This is the peanut butter centre of your peanut butter cups. Freeze for another 5-10 minutes until set.

Finish the peanut butter cups by covering the peanut butter centre with the remainder of the raw cacao sauce. Freeze again, until needed this time. (And lick the bowl if there’s any chocolate left.)

For the peanut butter ice cream:

4 very ripe bananas
250ml (1 cup) coconut milk
3 tbsp natural, smooth peanut butter (preferably palm oil-free; use raw to make raw ice cream)

Peel the bananas and chop them into small slices. Place in a freezer bag and freeze overnight.

Blend the coconut milk and frozen banana slices (a little at a time) in a food processor. After about 3-5 minutes the bananas and coconut milk ought to look creamy, like soft serve ice cream.

Pour the ice cream into an ice cream container. Swirl the peanut butter through it. Break the frozen peanut butter cups into small pieces and scatter them across the ice cream, incorporating them with a spoon.

Freeze for an hour before serving, or until needed. If you are leaving the ice cream until later, you will need to defrost it for half an hour; using an ice cream scoop dipped in hot water also helps to form nice round scoops.

When was the last time you felt that soaring feeling of new possibilities? 

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Love and cookies,

Ginger Beer Mango Coconut Ice Cream Float {Suma Bloggers Network}

Sometimes overcomplicating things is not the best plan. Who am I kidding – it never is. For my first blog post of my partnership with Suma I had planned an epic, mind-boggling, orgasmic ginger beer mango loaf cake. The stuff of dreams. It was going to be moist, delicate, flavourful, exotic and totally blissful. I even shared a sneak peek of the initial trial on Instagram:
The only thing more soul-destroying than a failed cake is a second failed cake. (And The Fault In Our Stars. It wrecked my heart.)
After the second trial, which was even uglier and more pitiful than the first, I knew I had to change tack. Let’s face it: I have 48 days to write and hand in my Dissertation, I’ve started a new (stressful) part-time job, I’ve just sent the first drafts of my next two ebooks to my publisher, and then just, you know… life on top of that. Sometimes there is simply no room in such a hectic schedule for an epic ginger beer mango loaf cake. And that is ok.

The weather is hot, we’re in shorts and t-shirts and we’re trying to tan our pathetically pale skins in the Scottish sun. This could only mean ice cream. So I present to you a simple ginger beer float, with stupendously simple and sugar-free mango ice cream, topped with a lush whipped coconut cream made of only two ingredients. There you go. Enjoy, my lovelies.

Ginger Beer Mango Coconut Ice Cream Float

  • Servings: makes 1 large serving
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For the mango coconut cream and ginger beer float:

250ml (1 cup) coconut cream, chilled overnight
1 banana, sliced and frozen
480g (3 heaped cups) frozen mango chunks
120ml (2/3 cup) almond milk

120ml (1/2 cup) chilled Fentiman’s Ginger Beer (see final step: ‘to assemble’)

Puree the first four ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth. Tip: add the mango chunks a little at a time to make life easier for your blender/food processor.

Pour the ice cream into a container and place in the freezer for about an hour. If leaving it longer, do defrost it for about twenty minutes before scooping it up with an ice cream scoop dipped in hot water.

For the coconut whipped cream:

200ml (3/4 cups + 2 tbsp) coconut cream, chilled overnight
1 tbsp powdered stevia

Briskly whip together both ingredients.

To assemble:

Place three scoops of mango coconut ice cream in a sundae glass. Pour over the chilled ginger beer and top with a healthy dollop of coconut whipped cream. Enjoy immediately, by yourself or with a friend.

Variations: Add some caramelised ginger or dried pineapple chunks to your mango ice cream for a fiery kick to complement the ginger beer.

How about you – do you, like me, waste far too much time trying to be an overachiever?

Disclaimer: I was sent some ingredients for this recipe by Suma Wholefoods as part of the Suma Bloggers Network partnership but, as always, all opinions are my own. I am not getting paid for this blog post. 

Like what you read here? Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,

Ice Cream Sandwiches: Espresso Biscuits With Pistachio Ice Cream {sugar-free}

ice cream sancwiches espresso pistachio title 1
When I was little my sister and used to spend school holidays at my maternal grandmother’s bungalow in Wallonia. It took hours to drive there but it was worth the trip because she lived on the outskirts of a golf course; in the evenings we would simply walk across the garden, through a patch of forest, and out onto the green, where we played amongst the sprinklers’ water jets like they were fountains. It was a good childhood.
The best part was hearing the jolly tune of the ice cream van as he drove into our street. Bonne-mamie was not the type to spoil us but she never denied us an ice cream. Hearing our accents when we spoke French like only Flemish people do, he asked us where we from. ‘Ursel!’ we cried out proudly. Of course he didn’t where that was; it’s a teensy village in Flanders. ‘Could you come and give us ice creams there?’ Oh the naivety of children.
My favourite flavour was pistachio and espresso. Odd choices for a child; most would choose vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. I never knew why I liked them; I just did, and that was good enough for me. I still do, in fact.

Ice Cream Sandwiches: Espresso Biscuits and Pistachio Ice Cream

  • Servings: makes 16 sandwiches with spare cookies
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For the espresso biscuits:

300g (1.5 packed cups) spelt flour
2 heaped tbsp powdered stevia
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g (1/2 cup) vegan butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
a strong cup of espresso (i.e. espresso cup-sized, not US measures cup-sized)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cube the vegan butter and add it to the dry ingredients, rubbing them all together using the pads of your fingertips. The mixture should begin to resemble wet sand.

Add in the espresso and knead together with your hands. Tip onto a clean surface and work the dough into a smooth ball. Cover with cling film, put it back in the bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Unwrap the dough and, using a rolling pin, roll it out quite thinly on a clean surface. It should be just under half a centimetre thick. Using a cookie cutter 6cm (2.5 inches) in diametre cut out as many shapes as you can and place them onto the lined sheets. Roll up the strands of dough into a smooth ball, flatten again, and start over the process. Do this until there is no dough left; you should have about 30 biscuits.

Bake 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and crisp up. Cool on a wire rack; meanwhile, prepare the ice cream.

For the pistachio ice cream:

Double the recipe to cover all the biscuits. This makes enough to assemble 8 ice cream sandwiches, leaving you with 14 biscuits, which I like to nibble on as I have tea. 

200g (7 oz) shelled pistachios
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream, chilled
1 tbsp powdered stevia

Pulse the pistachios to a fine powder in a high-speed blender. Add the coconut cream and stevia and blend until smooth.

Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for about an hour.

To assemble:

Freeze the biscuits for about 20 minutes before spreading ice cream onto them. To make 8 ice cream sandwiches you will need 16 biscuits and a generous tablespoon of freshly made pistachio ice cream.

If you left the ice cream in the freezer for longer than an hour, you may need to thaw it for half an hour before scooping onto your sandwiches. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop dipped in hot water if you have trouble cutting through the ice cream.

What was your favourite ice cream flavour as a child? Has it changed?

Love and cookies,

Strawberry Froyo on an Almond Butter-Dipped Cone.

From where I am sitting here, on the soft carpeted floor of my new living room in my flat in Scotland, there is a cold breeze sneaking in through the open French doors. (Yes, I have French doors!! Couldn’t be more excited, or happier, about that. The cat loves it, too.) And yet the sun is shining. And I promise you, though it could easily rain in a few minutes’ time, it is still quite warm here in September. It’s not too late yet for ice cream. Or maybe that’s just me being very British and clinging desperately to the last days of summers. 

My endless passion for almond butter knows no bounds. So enfatuated am I that recently, upon scooping some strawberry frozen yogurt for my dessert, a borderline obscene idea struck me…
What if I dipped my cone into my jar of almond butter?

Turns out the cone didn’t actually fit into the jar (damn it) so I just dipped a generous amount of the nutty goodness into a larger container, dunked that cone in, topped it with a generous scoop of froyo… and went straight to food nirvana. 

Even the cat thought it looked good.

You’ll have to excuse my preposterously over-exposed photos: I took them the only time I could, when I got home from work, and I was rather in rush to shoot the picture before the froyo melted all over me. 

Makes 1 tub of frozen yogurt

300g (2 heaped cups) fresh strawberries500ml (2 cups) plain or vanilla soy yogurt
2-4 medjool dates, soaked in water for an hour to soften, then pitted and chopped
a pinch of stevia or tiny drizzle of maple syrup

Blend all the ingredients until they form a smooth but thick liquid. 
Freeze for at least one hour (your freezer temperature may be different, so do keep checking that the yogurt has solidified) or if you plan or storing it for longer, stir the yogurt every half hour for a total period of 3 hours, then leave it in the freezer. This method beats air into the froyo, preventing it from turning it into a solid block of ice. 

Variations: Swirl some melted nut butter or plain soy yogurt through the froyo after about an hour in the freezer, then leave it be for a bit longer so all the flavours can set together. 

How are you enjoying the end of summer?

Fruity Frozen Yogurt Marbled Cake

Sunshine, where are you? It keeps coming and going, peeking around the clouds for a moment before it hides again. So I made a cute little froyo cake, inspired by a Jamie mag recipe, in the hopes that it would draw out the sunshine…

One hopes, still.

It was meant to look a little more like this:

But, if you’re impatient, like me, or if you just want your cake to look a bit wackier more interesting, just do what I did!

Makes 1 cake, serves 8-10 people
Prep time: 10 mins
Freezing time: at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

1 tub 500g plain soy yogurt (I use Sojade)
approx. 250g each of banana (1-2 bananas), fresh raspberries, fresh blackberries and fresh kiwi
a few extra berries, to serve

Line a rectangular cake tin with cling film. (NOT baking parchment. I promise you will rue the day you try.)
Blend a quarter of the yogurt (about 4-5 tablespoons) with the raspberries. Pour into the tin and either set aside if you want a marbled cake effect, or put in the freezer while you continue blending if you want a cake with more defined layers. 
Blend 1/4 of the yogurt with the banana. Layer over the raspberry yogurt. Freeze (or not).
Continue the same way with the blackberries and the kiwis. 
Freeze for at least 6 hours. Thaw for a good 20 minutes before you attempt to slice with a knife warmed in a bowl of hot water. 

* This is scrumptious with some hot custard poured over. The frozen yogurt melts into the hot custard and forms dreamy swirls of fruit and cream. 
* If you don’t use up the whole cake and don’t want to leave it taking up space in your freezer, you can let it thaw in the fridge until it’s gone back to a smoothie consistency, and have it for breakfast. 

Raw Banana Ice Cream Pops – Endless Flavour Combinations

As soon as temperatures hit fourteen degrees in the UK half the nation is walking about in shorts. We’ve been deprived of sunshine for so long that the slightest ray of light and warmth makes us silly giddy. And me, I’m suddenly craving ice cream. 

But not the conventional type, by which I mean processed soy ice cream. And I don’t want raw nut ice cream either, because that’s just as heavy. So for a lighter bite, why not try banana ice cream pops?

Super easy to make and really fun to decorate. I imagine kids would like to make these, as you can be as creative as you like. 

Note: the recipe states it yields 6 ice cream pops, but it yields plenty of toppings so you can just cut up a few extra bananas and freeze them to make extra pops. All the frosting can be made raw, just be smart about the ingredients you use. I didn’t have raw peanut butter, but it’s easy enough to make your own. 

Makes 6
Prep time: a handful of minutes, depending on the toppings you make

3 bananas
6 chopsticks, skewers, ice cream sticks, … whatever holds the ice cream pops

Cut the bananas in two halves, stick each half on a stick of some sort and freeze overnight. The next day, decorate with the frosting(s) of your choice, freeze again for a few hours and serve ice cold. 

Raw chocolate frosting:
120ml melted cacao butter
40g raw cacao powder
1 tbsp agave syrup
Melt the cacao over a bowl of boiled water. Whisk in the cacao powder and agave syrup. Set aside to cool a little. Dip in the banana pops and freeze for several hours. 

Raw “white” chocolate and raspberry frosting:
80ml melted cacao butter
1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (preferably organic)
80g cashews
2 tsp agave syrup
a few frozen raspberries, smashed to small pearls
Melt the cacao over a bowl of boiled water. Process in a blender with all the ingredients, except the raspberries, until smooth. Dip the banana pops into the white chocolate, or criss cross the melted chocolate over the pops. This makes enough to cover two whole pops.

Peanut butter frosting:
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
50ml hot water
a handful of peanuts, roughly chopped
Whisk vigorously, set aside to cool, then top the banana pops with them and freeze again for several hours. This makes enough to cover 3-4 whole pops. 

Other toppings: 
Orange zest (I tried, but my grater sucks), coconut shavings, maple syrup, sultanas, coffee, … whatever tickles your fancy. You could make a thick fruit smoothie (blueberries or kiwi, for example), dip in the banana pops, and freeze them. 

Guess which one was my favourite… 

Dark and white chocolate peanut butter, of course.