Yes indeed, if there were ever a season for ice cream, it would have to be now or never. Churning day and night, my poor ice cream maker has not gotten a minute to rest since there was a fine frost on the windows, and its duties have only multiplied since I picked up a copy of The Vegan Scoop, the latest creation from Wheeler del Torro, the frozen dessert mastermind behind Wheeler’s Vegan Ice Cream. Instantly smitten upon first lick, these were some sweet recipes that I was positively clamoring to get my hands on even before I heard that a book might be in the works. How lucky that Wheeler was generous to share his secret formula!
And what a bang-up formula this is. Simple, fool-proof, and composed of ingredients that absolutely everyone should have no trouble getting a hold of, it was a breeze to mix up each flavor in no time. Measurements are also listed in metric right alongside the US cups and spoons, so I was thrilled to just toss the whole thing onto my scale and get cooking.
Lured in by the abundant color photos and overall aesthetically pleasing design, there’s no denying that this is one beautiful book. Recipes run the gamut from classic parlor favorites to exotic novelties, such as a very adventurous Seaweed Ice Cream, so there’s no lack of fun choices or ideas here. Desserts to serve alongside your frozen treats are found scattered thought the pages, in addition to a dedicated chapter at the very end of the book.
My first choice was easy- Chocolate. Dressing it up with a touch of peppermint extract and a few chopped mint-filled sandwich cookies, it was as rich as super-premium ice cream, and dangerously addictive. A runaway hit, I don’t think that this batch lasted beyond a single day.
Curious as to how whole fruit might be incorporated successfully in a frozen dessert, the Apple Pie ice cream quickly caught my eye while flipping through the vibrant pages. Although the sauteed apples themselves turned out to be incredibly saturated with an egregious dose of cinnamon, the flavor mellowed considerably when combined with the custard base. Admittedly not my top pick, as I found the icy chunks of apples somewhat off-putting, I still had no trouble polishing off this quart.
Seeking a delicious use for an abundance of fresh, seasonal strawberries, the Strawberry ice cream was an obvious choice. Sweet, uncomplicated, and reminiscent of the bright pink strawberry milk I once enjoyed as a child, this simple flavor proved to be surprisingly comforting. Kids would undoubtedly adore it, but all the same, adults may covertly sneak spoonfuls while no one’s looking.
Finally, gravitating towards another love of mine, trying the Coffee ice cream recipe was practically a necessity. Unfortunately, I found it to be far too mild for my tastes, and wouldn’t make it as written again.
The Vegan Scoop excels at providing inspiration for new flavor combinations and platings, encouraging cooks to get creative in the kitchen without letting a drop of dairy get in the way. It may not be the book for “advanced” ice cream makers, as most of the recipes use the same formula over and over again, switching out one ingredient to create a new flavor. That structure and guidance may be useful to others though, so it’s a matter of preference. Just beware of filler and repetition, like the recipe for espresso ice cream… Which is exactly the same as the coffee ice cream, but with- You guessed it- Brewed espresso instead of coffee.
Unable to resist the temptation, a sundae with Wheeler’s Blondies sounded like a fabulous treat. These bars err on the cakey side of the equation, but all shortcomings were easily overlooked once topped with ice cream, caramel, chocolate chips, and raspberries. Now that’s one sweet way to cool off this season!