Raw Ice Cream- Cashew Style

When the idea to make raw ice cream came into my head, the process started small; I would use cashews. Then from there the ideas began to inundate my brain. Coconut, cacao, red chilies- I was starting to get ahead of myself; however, once I regained my composure, I thought to myself “why not”. There are moments when I feel like being a rebel; THIS was one of those moments.

Now to many, chocolate is an indulgent treat, reserved for special occasion; but cacao contains flavanoids, magnesium and iron which work very hard to protect us from heart disease- special occasion or not. However, before I continue my endorsement of this burnished colored super food, you must know that the quality of the chocolate/cacao products we eat, have a strong bearing on the nutrient content. Raw cacao, which is just that, raw, retains all the essential nutrients that make cacao so potent. Cadbury and Hershey unfortunately do not reserve the right to claim the same. And if you are going with dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids or more is the benchmark of quality goods.

Ok, back to the facts! Cacao is loaded with flavanoids, which provide a protective shield from environmental toxins; and when we consume foods that are rich in plant based flavanoids, the body’s ability to clot blood is reduced. Yes, this may sound as though we are getting into hemophiliac territory, but this is important when we are talking about heart health. If the body isn’t unnecessarily clotting blood, then fat like substances in our blood aren’t able to clog the arteries- get it? Good!

During the months of November, December and January, when the weather is cold and dreary, lots of little’s are conceived; which makes sense to me. Between going out and freezing or cozying up between the sheets, I think given the choice we would all choose the latter. And successful hanky panky requires good circulation, if you follow; so to spice up my ice cream creation and lend a hand to the lover birds, I added chili flakes. By doing this we add a nice aromatic punch without it being overwhelmingly hot- it’s neat; but beware of heavy hands, if you add too much, the ice cream will be ruined.

The process of making ice cream can be really easy or really labor intensive, depending on your equipment. If you have an ice cream maker and a food processor, this recipe will be a breeze; but if you’re old school like me, this is going to require a little bit of elbow grease; but I promise the end result is completely worth it.

I chose cashews as the base for my raw ice cream, but substituting pistachios, hazelnuts (skins removed) or macadamia nuts would yield the same heavenly results. If spice is not your bag, feel free to omit the chili flakes and substitute cinnamon or cardamom in its place; the flavoring agents lend themselves very nicely to customization- so go wild.

Alas, raw ice cream when there’s 25cm of snow on the ground may seem crazy; but I promise this spiced raw cashew ice cream is crazy good!

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup hemp seed milk
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tsp red chili flakes
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup raw cacao powder
2tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp coconut oil

Soak the cashew and chili flakes in the coconut and hemp seed milks overnight.

Add the soaked mixture to a food processor with the remaining ingredients; and blend for 12-15 minutes, until completely smooth- you will have to scrape the sides down once or twice. If you are using an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the machine instructions.

For the old school ice cream method

Place the mixture in a bowl and put in the freezer. Every 45 minutes stir the mixture vigorously until the mixture is well frozen; this process took me about 4 hours- but I repeat SO. WORTH. IT.

Chocolate, vanilla, neopolitan? Winter, Spring, Summer and/or fall? How and when do you enjoy your favorite ice cream?