Y’all wouldn’t believe how much heavy whipping cream I’ve wasted over the past couple of weeks. I’m feeling pretty guilty about it, but this is something I really needed to figure out. To me, ice cream is the best dessert that ever was. Feel free to argue with me, I expect it, but in my mind there is no greater treat. Growing up, we’d be forced to endure my father’s love of sherbet, or the dreaded Neapolitan (I would decimate the chocolate layer, much to my dad’s dissatisfaction), but even those were better than no ice cream at all.
Not surprisingly, my mother is also an ice cream fan and it was thanks to her that more fabulous flavors would sometimes enter the rotation. In fact, it’s her fault I have a deep and abiding love for Baskin-Robbins’ Jamoca Almond Fudge and Mint Chocolate Chip.
Also thanks to my mother, I’ve been dieting since birth. During my pre-teen years, I distinctly remember her starting Weight Watchers, which meant shifting our ice cream options to ice milk. Being relegated to that horrible, watery slice of wannabe ice cream to appease the low-fat gods is an experience I never want to repeat. But since starting keto a few years ago, I felt like I might be facing a similar dilemma. Is it possible to have a decadent, creamy ice cream that is scoop-able right out of the freezer? I fooled myself into believing that brands like Rebel or Halo Top were decent alternatives, but it wasn’t long before my self-delusion was no longer tenable. Who was I kidding? It wasn’t even close.
At first, I didn’t think it was possible. I bought a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker and began with a custard vanilla recipe made with Swerve Granular. It was horrible. Not only did it freeze up hard as a rock, it tasted like vanilla-tinged egg yolk with a menthol-like aftertaste. Out of curiosity, and because I desperately wanted to blame it on the ice cream maker, I made a regular batch of vanilla ice cream with real sugar and a ridiculously expensive vanilla bean for John. To my dismay, it came out perfectly and I was forced to watch as John devoured a delicious, homemade batch of “killa vanilla.”
For my second attempt, I made a Mexican chocolate custard ice cream, again using Swerve Granular and a teaspoon of gelatin. When it came out of the machine, it was fantastic. Rich, creamy, and almost chewy like gelato. I thought, “Eureka!” But then it sat in the freezer overnight. Once again, it froze solid and I began wildly considering making super-small batches so I would not have to face an ice brick the following day. I even tried letting it soften on the counter, but the texture changed from smooth and creamy to clumpy and grainy. For the third keto batch, I tried a cream cheese base, thinking the creamier, the better, right? Wrong. Like the chocolate, it was great right out of the machine, but after thawing from its fresh-from-the-freezer, Arctic-like state the texture once again deteriorated quickly.
After several more fails, I finally realized that my problem wasn’t using all heavy cream, cream cheese or custard bases, it was the sugar. If I would’ve taken the time to do a little more research, I would’ve discovered that erythritol sucks for ice cream and only using allulose (which chemically reacts much like regular sugar) would give me the results I wanted. What can I say? I do things the hard way. Unfortunately, using allulose also makes me toot ie. gastrointestinal distress. Meh, everything in life has some kind of trade off, right? If you also don’t mind the presence of barking spiders from time to time (as if you don’t endure them already), you should definitely try this recipe.
Keto Cheesecake Ice Cream
Makes about 5 cups
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C allulose
1/4 C Swerve Confectioners
Pinch of salt
1 tsp of gelatin powder
1/4 C mascarpone, room temperature
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 C sour cream, room temperature
Blend the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add sugars, salt, gelatin and mascarpone and mix well. Slowly add whipping cream until incorporated. Fold in vanilla and sour cream until well-combined. Chill in an air-tight container for 1-2 hours or overnight.
When chilled, add it to your ice cream maker and make beautiful, cheesecake ice cream in about 20 minutes. As an extra touch, you can swirl in the “graham cracker” crust below at the end of churning.
In a small pan, combine 2 tbsp. salted butter, 1/4 C of Swerve Brown Sugar and 1/2 C of superfine almond flour. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and the flour begins to clump. Let it cool and it should harden to a cookie-like consistency. Crumble into the ice cream in the last minutes of churning.
*I served it on a slice of Blueberry Cheese Danish Coffee Cake and it was fabulous! More flavors coming soon!
**You still may have to let this sit in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before scooping. But it’s WAY better than the rock hard versions I’ve attempted previously and the texture stays smooth and creamy.