Pumpkin Spiced Mocha Ice Cream

Friday, September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: I received a product sample and compensation for this post. The opinions and text are all mine.

It's officially pumpkin spiced everything season! Although Biscuit seems largely unimpressed by her first glimpse of pumpkins, I am celebrating today. As I detailed in my last post, I've been on a crazy restrictive diet for the past thirty days. Despite growing fond of sugar free black coffee, today I was finally able to have that pumpkin spice latte I've been dreaming about. It was just as good as it always is; a symbolic warm welcome to the fall season. I eliminated dairy from my diet for the past month and I'm not quite ready to reintroduce lactose so I opted to have my latte made with coconut milk. It still felt creamy and indulgent and the combination ended up inspiring this post.

Shortly after starting my diet, Simply Cane SHUGA! reached out to me about their #SimplyCaneSummer promotion. I was hesitant - after all, here I was giving up sugar for a month so how was I going to work on a recipe let alone feel good about sharing it? I agreed to give the products a try after my diet was over and they graciously allowed me some flexibility on the timing of my post. As it turns out, Simply Cane SHUGA! is an all natural and non-GMO cane syrup with a lower glycemic index. All of those things are important to me in choosing sweeteners that I can feel good about serving my family and clients. I was also pleased to find out that the Hey SHUGA! brand also makes organic cane, plus cane and stevia liquid sweeteners. Sugar doesn't need to be a daily part of my diet anymore, but when it's warranted, I'd like to choose wisely. The flavors I received in my gift pack included Mocha, Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Truffle, which should all make for some interesting treats come holiday baking season. For today's recipe I wanted to focus on something simple and kid-friendly that captured the essence of my favorite fall beverage. The ice cream scoop included in my package instantly gave me an idea of how to pull together a quick treat today.

The best thing about making your own ice cream at home is being able to control the quality of ingredients, especially sweeteners. The mocha flavor of Simply Cane SHUGA! created a pumpkin spiced ice cream that actually tasted like my coffee beverage but still appealed to my 12 year old son's taste buds. Full fat coconut milk was my ticket to a creamy lactose-free ice cream. I haven't really found a vegan coconut milk ice cream that I enjoyed texturally, so I opted to keep the eggs in this recipe for richness. A freshly ground batch of homemade pumpkin spice and some good quality vanilla bean paste provided the classic fall flavor profile I was after. Finally, some leftover roasted butternut squash gave my ice cream more body and a pumpkin-esque flavor. (In my mind pumpkin spice without actual pumpkin is a bit of a tease, but maybe that's just me.) You can use organic canned squash or canned pumpkin puree if you prefer, the latter of which might make your ice cream a tad more orange in color. Remind me later in the season to share how I figured out that butternut squashes actually make a better "pumpkin" pie.

This recipe requires the use of an ice cream maker for best results. The process is standard ice cream making procedure, starting with heating a custard base, chilling the base thoroughly, then churning in the ice cream maker. Allow plenty of time to chill the custard and for the churned ice cream to freeze. I was able to squeeze it all into one day by making my base really early in the morning, but it can also just be done the day before so it has time to chill overnight. If you're using the ice cream attachment for your stand mixer make sure to freeze the bowl and paddle at least 24 hours before using it.

Pumpkin Spiced Mocha Ice Cream

1 can organic full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (or 1 1/3 c. heavy cream + 2/3 c. whole milk)
1 cup organic butternut squash or pumpkin puree
1/4 to 1/2 c. Mocha flavored Simply Cane SHUGA! 
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp pumpkin spice (preferably homemade)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

Servings: Makes approx. 1 1/2 pints
Prep Time: 5 min, plus several hours cooling & freezing
Cook Time: 10 min
Suggested Equipment: Medium nonstick pot, ice cream maker, fine mesh strainer, shallow container to freeze ice cream, instant read thermometer

In a medium sized pot, combine 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk, the pumpkin spice, vanilla bean paste, pureed pumpkin, and the desired amount of mocha flavored Simply Cane SHUGA! Season to taste with salt and a few grinds of cracked pepper. Black pepper may seem odd in a dessert but it adds a tiny bit of heat that helps cut through the richness of the other spices and flavors. Make sure your puree is smooth - if you used a fresh squash or pumpkin you'll want to run the flesh through a food processor or blender before using in this recipe.

When the mixture is smooth and gently warmed, remove from heat.

In a separate container, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk. 

Temper the egg yolk mixture by adding 3/4 cup of the warm pumpkin base from the pot, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly. This helps bring up the temperature of the egg yolks so that they don't instantly scramble when you add them to the pot. Slowly pour the tempered egg yolk mixture into the pot, stirring constantly.

Return the pot back to medium heat and allow it to simmer gently while continuing to stir as it thickens. Don't let it boil. When the custard base reaches about 170° F and coats the back of a wooden spoon, remove it from the heat.

Strain the custard base through a fine mesh sieve for the smoothest ice cream. Chill the strained custard base in the fridge until it's completely cooled, at least a few hours but preferably overnight.

When the custard base is thoroughly chilled, churn it per your ice cream maker's specifications. Mine takes about 20 minutes. The resulting soft serve ice cream can be eaten immediately, but if you want scoopable ice cream you need to freeze it first.

Transfer the ice cream to a shallow container, placing plastic wrap over the surface to prevent ice from forming under the lid. Freeze for at least three hours, or until solid and scoopable!

I didn't make my pumpkin spiced mocha ice cream very sweet, so a little bit of SHUGA! drizzled over the top was the perfect finishing touch. This tasted almost exactly like my favorite pumpkin spiced latte, but frozen! Also? We each enjoyed just one scoop. If you know anything about my ice cream addiction, you'll know how much willpower that took!

About the sponsor:
  • Simply Cane SHUGA! is an affordable natural product exclusively sold at select Walmart stores
  • To participate in the #SimplyCaneSummer sweepstakes, share a picture of your Simply Cane SHUGA! via Instagram or Facebook for a chance to win $1,000 plus one of five $100 Walmart gift cards. Sweepstakes ends September 30, 2015.
  • Follow Hey SHUGA! on Instagram and Facebook for even more ideas on how to use their liquid sweeteners!

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