Mint Cookies and Cream Ice Cream


You guys, I promise to stop with the less-than-healthy stuff shortly. But how could I not share this ice cream recipe with you? It’s decadent, sure, but it’s also amazing, gluten-free and probably better for you than the equivalent ice cream that you were going to purchase at the store anyway. At least when you make your own mint chocolate cookie ice cream, you can use super-ethically raised eggs and cream and leave out the additives, right? Right?

Plus, it’s summer. People are hiking, biking to work, all of that jazz. Surely you’ve earned a little ice cream, right? Continue reading

Candy Cane Ice Cream

gluten-free candy cane ice cream

You definitely should not make this ice cream. It’s pretty dangerous.

First of all, as you’re banging away on the candy canes trying to crush them to the right consistency, you’re going to look up to find your dog cowering in a corner, terrified by the noise.

Second, you’re probably going to find yourself craving this at all hours of the day and night. Which is fine, except for the fact that I could barely take these pictures because all I wanted to do was stick my face in that bowl. And it was 10:30 a.m. Yes, I may have a remarkable sweet tooth, but I think you’ll experience a little of this feeling.

Third, making this ice cream may require you to scour your entire town for a combination of heavy cream and candy canes that you apparently can’t find together anywhere right after Thanksgiving. I had no idea. I ended up having to go to three separate stores in order to find candy canes and heavy cream, and I still ended up forgetting white sugar (which is why this calls for brown sugar — but I actually like it).

Fourth, it calls for food coloring. Oh my god. Artificial coloring, you guys. It’s against everything I stand for. Apparently. It also has five egg yolks in it, which probably means you’re going to have a heart attack immediately after tasting it.

So yeah. Just don’t make it. It’s totally not worth the effort — especially once you’ve taken that first sweet, creamy, peppermint-infused bite and realize you’ve just distilled the essence of Christmas into a frozen treat.

Trust me. You don’t want to know what you’re missing.

Candy Cane Ice Cream
Serves: 1 quart
The essence of Christmas in a bowl. Adapted from David Lebovitz’s blog, here:
  • 2 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used the kind labeled “Vitamin D)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring (you may omit this if you like — though your brown sugar will turn the mixture a little off-white)
  • 8 standard candy canes, crushed to oblivion
  1. If you like, prepare an ice bath. Take a large bowl and put a slightly smaller bowl in the center of it (the small bowl should hold at least 2 quarts). Fill the gap with ice and cold water. Pour heavy cream into the smaller bowl.
  2. (You may skip this step, but it will make for a longer chilling period. Your call.)
  3. Heat milk, salt and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the milk starts becoming warm. While this is happening, whisk the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. When the milk is heated, gradually and very very slowly begin pouring the warm milk mixture into the eggs, whisking quickly. BE PATIENT WITH THIS. You are slowly bringing the eggs up to the milk’s temperature, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs floating in sugar milk. I paused a few times just to whisk and make sure everything was going okay. Once most of your milk is in the eggs, scrape that mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium-low heat.
  5. Cook this mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula and you begin to scrape a thicker layer off of the bottom. Take this mixture and pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into the heavy cream. Stir stir stir stir!
  6. Whisk in peppermint extract (a little more to taste, if you like) and food coloring, if desired. If using an ice bath, stir mixture until cooled, then remove the smaller bowl from the ice bath and place in fridge for a few hours or overnight. If not using an ice bath, you will stir the mixture thoroughly, then place the bowl in the fridge for at least four hours, stirring when you can, but preferably overnight.
  7. When thoroughly chilled, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (My Cuisinart took about 25 minutes). About two minutes before the ice cream is complete, pour in candy canes and allow to blend thoroughly. Remove from machine and serve as-is, or freeze for several hours to firm it up.
  8. By all means, do not melt a bunch of chocolate and pour that over the top. Nor should you add a scoop of this to hot chocolate. That would be a big mistake.


Pumpkin Caramel Chai Ice Cream

vegan gluten-free pumpkin caramel chai ice cream 1

You guys are going to flip your lids. I’m not kidding. This is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever made, and it’s totally perfect for those of you who are, you know, not in Idaho where the weather is feeling fall-ish. 

It all started when I had kind of a revelation a few weeks back. There was a business trip, I was tired, and I was craving a pumpkin spice latte…but it was 75 degrees outside. Luckily, apparently someone had anticipated this very problem, because there exists in this world a frozen blended pumpkin spice coffee situation. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you guys how fast I sucked one down.

vegan gluten-free pumpkin caramel chai ice cream 2

Anyway, that and this wonderful brown sugar bourbon ice cream recipe from the New York Times inspired this vegan pumpkin caramel chai ice cream. Turns out, pumpkin and coconut milk go together incredibly well, as do coconut milk and chai and pumpkin and chai. The whole experience of eating this is incredibly harmonious, as the spices add warmth and bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin.

The minimal brown sugar is worth it for this treat, in my opinion. It’s just enough to add a velvety caramel note that brings together all of the other flavors. However, if you are very anti-refined sugar, you can just use maple syrup, though the flavors won’t be as complex. 

Top this with some candied pecans, extra caramel sauce, or just enjoy alone out of the freezer as we’ve been doing. It’s a great way to bring a taste of fall into warmer climates.

Pumpkin Caramel Chai Ice Cream
Author: Kate Wutz
Serves: 1 quart
A vegan ice cream infused with notes of caramel, chai tea, and that ubiquitous pumpkin. Stir into coffee if you’re feeling really naughty.
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • pinch black pepper
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the brown sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the caramel turns reddish-brown.
  2. Add coconut milk and stir. Don’t panic when your caramel freezes up! It will melt as your coconut milk heats up. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until the coconut milk has totally come together (no lumps) and the caramel is totally incorporated.
  3. Remove from heat. Whisk in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and spices. Taste at this point and adjust spices as desired.
  4. Put saucepan in the fridge and cool for about two hours. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (though mine took about 30 minutes). Store in the freezer; take out of freezer about 10 mins before serving and allow to soften.


Cherry-Almond Ice Cream (vegan, paleo, gf)



I’ll admit, I went a little nuts when I got an ice cream maker. I dedicated several weeks, as you can see from this blog, to making the most decadent recipes I could think of, filled with eggs, heavy cream, sugar and everything else bad for you.

No regrets, frankly. Everyone should be able to enjoy some ice cream once in a while without freaking out. But after the novelty wore off, I realized that maybe I should re-balance a little, scale down the indulgence, and try to come up with some ice cream recipes that everyone can enjoy. Hence, this Cherry-Almond recipe.

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Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream (gluten-free)


bourbon brown sugar ice cream 2 gluten free

If I told you how good this ice cream was, you wouldn’t believe me. You’d probably think I was exaggerating, trying to build traffic by claiming to have found OMG THE BEST ICE CREAM EVARRRRRRR YOU GUYS.

So I’m not going to tell you all of that. I’m going to talk about how, even though this is gluten-free, it is not health food. Remember how I talk about balancing health and hedonism? I ate this for lunch the other day. Hedonism at its best.

The ratio for this frozen custard recipe — which, by the way, results in a thick, rich custard so good I considered not even putting it in my ice cream maker — is essentially three cups of a cream/milk mixture and six egg yolks. That’s right, just the yolks.

If you’re not ready for decadence, don’t make this recipe. The base itself, barely adapted from The New York Times, is velvety smooth, so rich that it makes you realize why sometimes people use orgasmic references when talking about food. I almost pulled a full-on Meg Ryan in my kitchen, no lie.

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Mixed Berry Ice Cream (vegan, gluten-free)

mixed berry ice cream vegan

A wildfire started about six miles from my home on Sunday, growing from half an acre to 700 acres overnight. The entire fire station was thrown into a frenzy as people arrived to help, with sirens wailing and cars parked everywhere. While some manned the station and made sure there was staff to respond to medical calls in the area if necessary, others went to help protect homes in the face of the rapidly growing fire.

While far better people than I were throwing on their wildland fire protection gear and making sure they had enough water, I was making ice cream. Wildfires drive me crazy because I used to cover them for the local newspaper. I had complete freedom and justification to call every public agency I could think of to discover what the fire was doing and what would come next; I was the one the Wood River Valley could rely on for that information. Now, I have to wait and read the newspaper like everyone else, even as my new husband could be literally standing next to a house on fire with a hose in his hand.

So, I make ice cream to keep from going crazy.

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