The usual path to homemade vegan ice cream is licked with dairy-free milk – almond, coconut, cashew, hemp. But there’s another option that will give you an even richer, richer result: oat creamer.
With their inherent starch content, oats can help thicken and stabilize frozen desserts, keeping ice crystals at bay. Many vegan ice cream recipes call for added starch, such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch, but oat creamer, a relative newcomer to the alternative milk market, eliminates this need.
Another advantage is the mild, subtle taste of oat creamer. Unlike assertive coconut milk, for example, it allows the flavor of the key ingredients to shine through.
In this easy, no-churn peanut butter maple ice cream, the oat creamer and nut butter are tossed in a blender with maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla. Then the mixture is transferred to a metal loaf pan and tossed in the freezer, only to be taken out a few hours later—a creamy frozen dessert that resembles the inside of a cup of peanut butter that melts silky smooth on your tongue.
The only real cooking is simmering the maple syrup for a few minutes to condense it. This will both increase the maple flavor and evaporate excess water, which can lead to icing.
You can use natural or commercial peanut butter to make this, but the emulsifiers in commercial peanut butter will give your ice cream an exceptionally satiny texture. That said, if you swear by natural peanut butter on your sandwich, you might not mind having the more pronounced nubby crunch in your cone.
Other nut butters (almond, cashew, hazelnut) will work too, if you feel like experimenting. Make sure to choose the ones with no added sugars or you risk a stickier taste.
As with any ice cream – vegan or dairy – scooping will always be much easier if you take the container out of the freezer at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes before serving. This will soften the ice cream slightly, but without collapsing into pudding.
If you really want to play up the peanut butter cup link, you can serve this with chocolate of a variety: sprinkles, chips, shavings, fudge sauce, cookie crumbs. But I love to taste unadorned firsts. That way I can fully appreciate the silky smooth texture, which is hard to achieve in homemade vegan ice cream. Until now, yes.