This has been such a fun week for Probably Baking! There was an awesome write up in The Times-Picayune & Nola.com on the Hubig's Pies recipe from last week (thanks Judy!), the Facebook page is finally up and running (thanks Matt!), and two of my recipes - those matcha amaretto petit fours & that wine and coffee cake from a while back - got added to one of my favorite recipe databases, The Feed Feed (thanks Julie, Betty, and Phillip)! Also, thank you so much to everyone who liked/shared the Facebook page, the outpouring of support has actually been weirdly overwhelming so I'm going to stop talking about it before I get emotional or whatever. But really, thank you.
This weekend I had the pleasure of teaming up with my friend NiRey to create a dessert that is both vegan and gluten free. NiRey recently found health through changing her mentality towards food and her own body. Instead of seeing food as a temptation to be conquered, she now views it as a tool for achieving a healthy body and mind.
NiRey says that instead of being hyper vigilant about every calorie or piece of food that goes in her mouth, she focused on learning how to be kind to herself mentally, physically, and spiritually. This process allowed her to relax and eat what she wants as long as she primarily eats whole foods. NiRey considers a "whole food" to be foods that are minimally processed, and mostly plant-based. She happens to eat vegan and gluten free, but says she doesn't think that way of eating is necessarily a good fit for everyone. She recommends making a gradual shift towards eating less processed foods, and slowly introducing tweaks to your diet such as removing grains, meat, or dairy to see what works best for you and your body. NiRey has managed to lose weight through these changes, but says that the real reward has been the ability to reclaim her health.
Sometimes, though, even the healthiest among us just want to eat a damn dessert (this is where I prance in, wearing an apron and holding a whisk). NiRey and I met up a few weeks ago to talk about what she was looking for in a decadent sweet treat. The guidelines given to me were the following: it had to be based around primarily whole foods (no processed vegan items were allowed), it had to include root vegetables, it had to be gooey, and dates were a MUST.
So, this sticky pudding is full of shredded carrots, sweet potatoes, and dates. It's got a little maple syrup to sweeten it up, and some orange zest for a citrus kick. The coconut milk ice cream is incredibly creamy, with a hint of almond and chewy chunks of frozen dates. Honestly, I was shocked by how much I liked coconut milk as an ice cream base. I've had the store-bought coconut milk ice creams, and this one really knocks those out of the park. I may never use heavy cream for homemade ice cream ever again. Maybe.
I wish you good health and good eats in the upcoming week, darlings!
Judging by her reaction to the first few bites, I think I did a pretty good job of giving her exactly what she wanted.
This is why I love what I do.
Date & Almond Coconut Milk Ice Cream:
- 2 (13.5 ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 t salt
- 2 T potato starch (you can substitute corn starch or arrowroot starch)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t almond extract
- 10 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds, optional
- **Ice cream maker required**
- Shake coconut milk cans before use to prevent separation.
- Pour 1/2 cup of the coconut milk into a small bowl and set aside for use later.
- Pour the rest of the coconut milk into a medium-sized sauce pan and add the salt and maple syrup.
- Warm over medium heat for two minutes, until the maple syrup has completely dissolved. Whisk it a little to help quicken the process.
- Add the potato starch to the 1/2 cup of coconut milk you had set aside, and whisk until combined. Pour into the saucepan with the rest of the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
- Over medium heat, cook the mixture until thickened (about 6 minutes). Stir often during this process, making sure the mixture doesn't ever come to a boil.
- Once it is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon, remove from heat and stir in the extracts.
- Let sit in a medium bowl until cooled to room temperature.
- Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge to chill for four hours to overnight.
- Once chilled, follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. About half way through churning, add in the chopped dates and almonds and continue churning. The ice cream should be the consistency of soft-serve once its done in the ice cream maker. Freeze for a few hours to make it a bit harder, if desired.
Mixed Root Vegetable Sticky Pudding:
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots, packed (about 2 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup shredded sweet potato, packed (about 1/2 large potato)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1.5 cups gluten-free all purpose flour, I used King Arthur brand
- 10 dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t cardamom, optional (I just like a little dash of this because it adds nice floral notes)
- 1 t baking powder
- 2 t orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350*
- Grease and line with parchment paper a 9x9" square baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine carrots, sweet potato, maple syrup, dates, vanilla, coconut milk, and coconut oil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking powder.
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until no longer jiggly in the center. A fork inserted in the center should come out with quite a few crumbs, but nothing liquid.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Invert onto a plate or cutting board and cut into squares.
- Top with ice cream. (I'd actually recommend heating the sticky pudding up for a few minutes in the oven or microwave right before topping with the ice cream so that it's warm and extra gooey).