While the east coast was blasted with yet another winter storm a few weeks ago, here in San Francisco we got an early taste of summer. Not surprisingly, with the warm weather and abundant sunshine, all I could think about was ice cream. Dairy-free salted caramel ice cream, to be specific.
Yep, I just went there.
And it all started with this ooey, gooey, Cashewmilk-based caramel sauce.
When the thermometer crept into the mid-seventies, I headed straight for the fridge, dug the ice cream maker attachment out from bottom of the freezer and got to work creating a dairy-free version of one of my favorite summertime treats.
For those of you who can’t tolerate dairy, this delicious version is made from Silk® Unsweetened Cashewmilk–a creamier dairy alternative compared to soy or almond milk–as well as raw almonds, coconut oil and, of course, this dreamy, Cashewmilk-based salted caramel sauce.
The fats in the raw cashews and coconut oil are essential for a creamy non-dairy ice cream, since, by itself, Silk® Cashewmilk is low in this nutrient–providing just 2 grams per cup. The coconut oil flavor does shine through. We, of course, love the subtle flavor–especially with the salted caramel–but if you’re not a fan feel free to sub in a more neutral-flavored oil. You will want to soak the cashews in water ahead of time so they turn creamy when blended with the Cashewmilk rather than chunky.
As for the caramel sauce, whatever you do, don’t skimp. I added one cup to the ice cream itself and the leftovers we drizzled on top, along with some flaky sea salt, just before digging in.
It’s so creamy you won’t even miss the dairy. I know because I watched my skeptical husband (who initially raised his eyebrow at the idea of non-dairy ice cream) go back for a second bowl after polishing off his first.
Caramel Sauce (Makes: 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/4 cups Silk® Unsweetened Cashewmilk
1 1/8 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (generous)
1-2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, to taste
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in cold water overnight (minimum 6-8 hours)
2 1/3 cups cold Silk® Unsweetened Cashewmilk (look for it next to refrigerated dairy milk)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 cup caramel sauce + more for topping
Flaky sea salt for finishing
Place your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer at least overnight to chill. Meanwhile, soak your cashews in cold water for at least 8 hours and drain just before blending.
To make the caramel sauce, combine the Cashewmilk, sugars, brown rice syrup and lemon juice in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Stir well with a spatula (silicone) and let the mixture cook, undisturbed, for 25-28 minutes (25 minutes for caramel sauce that’s pourable straight from the fridge; 27-28 minutes for a thicker sauce that needs to be warmed before pouring.) If mixture is not bubbling after 5 minutes, increase the heat a bit. Note: mixture will bubble up considerably while cooking; resist the urge to stir and don’t freak out if it bubbles over a little bit.
When done, remove from heat, add sea salt and stir well until salt is incorporated. Pour caramel sauce through a fine, mesh sieve and into a glass jar with a lid. (Note: cooling without a lid may cause the top layer to harden.) Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools and will keep in the refrigerator for at least one week.
When ready to prepare ice cream, add cashews, Cashewmilk, and coconut oil to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Set blender speed to low and slowly add 1 cup of salted caramel sauce. Continue to blend until just combined.
Add mixture to your chilled ice cream maker bowl and churn until thoroughly chilled, about 40-45 minutes. It should resemble thick soft serve.
Transfer to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until hard, at least 6-8 hours but preferably overnight. If fully frozen, allow ice cream to soften for 20 minutes before scooping for ultimate creaminess. Top with additional warm, caramel sauce and flaky sea salt.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Silk® through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated to write a post about Silk® all opinions are my own.