When you talk about the holidays on my mother’s side of the family, there are two desserts that would always come up – mocha torte + peppermint stick ice cream. The former was way too strong for my young tastebuds as it’s a layered dessert of ladyfingers + a rich mocha ganache – but the latter, best from Publix, was my absolute favorite. Creamy, cool + slightly crunchy from the peppermint pieces… holiday dreams come true!
I haven’t had the Publix version for a long time as I don’t always spend Christmas in Florida + it’s not dairy free… until now!
Instead of gelatin or gums, I used agar, a flavorless gelatin-like substance made from red algae, that adds the same consistency, but is purely plant based. Providing a lot of minerals like most sea vegetables, it does need to completely dissolve into the liquid base before moving forward so please do not skimp on the simmering. I promise it will be worth it!
make 1 quart
2- 13.5 oz cans coconut milk
½ cup (4 fl oz) water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon agar
heaping ½ cup (3 oz) cashews, soaked
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoon mint extract
¼ cup (2 ounces) cacao butter, melted
1 tablespoon vodka, optional
pinch of salt
½ cup (4 ounces) candy canes, crushed
In a medium pot, whisk the coconut milk, water, maple syrup, agar + sea salt together over medium heat. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer + cook for 15 minutes, or until the agar is completely dissolved.
In a high speed blender, add cashews, melted cacao butter, vanilla, mint extract and vodka if using. Add the coconut milk mixture, and very carefully, blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl + cool it completely, about 6 hours.
When it’s time to churn, take the base out of the refrigerator. You’ll see that it set up due to the agar so whisk until smooth.
Put your ice cream machine together per the manufacturer’s instructions, turn it on + pour your ice cream base into the machine. Churn until it gets to soft serve consistency, about 15 minutes. Add the crushed candy cane, and keep the machine on until they’re incorporated. You can serve it now or place it into a loaf pan + freeze until solid.
Yo serve, take out the ice cream 15- 20 minutes before serving as dairy free ice cream can be quite solid!