I know. I eat a lot of ice cream. I won’t deny it. My former roommates could tell you stories about the ice cream they would buy and put in the freezer. I would eat the ice cream, then go out and buy a replacement. But they would leave it in there so long that I finally ate the replacement too, then had to buy another replacement. Sigh. I am not a person that can leave ice cream in the freezer, untouched, for weeks on end.
Fortunately, my ice cream habits are far more moderate these days. I eat it once a week, and lately, I’ve tried to eat only homemade ice cream (unless I’m a guest in someone’s home). This allows me to avoid yucky ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings and colors. Even better, it means I can bypass pasteurized dairy in favor of coconut milk or raw milk and cream. And now, because of the new stevia I ordered, I can make sugar-free ice cream at home that tastes outrageously good.
This is big.
In fact, one could almost consider this kind of ice cream health food, right? It’s made of whole, raw dairy or coconut milk (both sources of important, healthy fats that are great for fertility), stevia (no effect on blood sugar and, as the extract of a sweet herb, no negative impact on the body), and natural flavorings like vanilla and fruit. Hmmm. Health food, indeed!
Still, since I want to keep my waist line, I’m sticking with once a week for now. I don’t want to get carried away. The ice cream pictured above, however, is almost enough to make me temporarily forget about my waist and fitting into my jeans. Cheesecake ice cream is a beautiful–and dangerous–thing. I’ve made it three times now, but last night’s batch was special because I used my new stevia. I wrung my hands nervously while it churned because I wanted so badly for it to be good. Lo and behold, it was still fabulous! As I mentioned in the notes to the last stevia-sweetened ice cream, it didn’t have the caramelly depth you get with an unrefined sugar like Sucanat or Rapadura, but it was still wonderful. It’s probably more like using plain white sugar, though I haven’t done that in so long, I don’t really remember. In any case, if you don’t tell the people to whom you’re serving this ice cream that it doesn’t have any sugar in it, they’ll never guess.
A few notes: First, really do try to find raw milk for this recipe. Go here for more information on why raw milk is so much healthier than pasteurized milk and for help finding a raw milk source in your area. If you live in the Houston metro area, email me (alison [at] wholesomegoodness [dot] net), and I’ll tell you what I know. Second, use an organic, cultured cream cheese if possible. Cream cheese was originally a cultured product, but most companies these days make it without the healthful probiotics. Organic Valley makes a wonderful organic, cultured cream cheese that I have been buying at my local grocery store. If your market is not well stocked with healthy items, you may need to check out a health food store to find it. Finally, never use Now, SweetLeaf, or a store’s generic brand stevia for this recipe. Because it is sweetened 100% with stevia, only the best-tasting stuff will do. I have tried several brands, and the only one I will use now is NuNaturals NuStevia (some health food stores carry it, but I order it online; shipping is free on orders over $35).
I served the cheesecake ice cream with a strawberry sauce, but I’ll wait to share that recipe as it still needs tweaking.
Sugar-Free Cheesecake Ice Cream
(adapted from this recipe found at www.epicurious.com, a great recipe resource)
1 1/2 cups whole raw milk
8 ounces organic, cultured cream cheese
4 packets NuNaturals NuStevia NoCarbs Blend (or another form of NuNaturals NuStevia to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt (Celtic Sea Salt or Real Salt are ideal)
In a blender, mix all ingredients until smooth. Follow your ice cream maker’s churning instructions.
Although you can eat this immediately after churning, I prefer to leave it in the freezer for 1.5 to 2 hours before serving. If left longer than that, you may need to let it thaw on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before scooping.
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