We need to talk.
We need to talk about vegan ice cream. And we need to talk about the chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel combo.
Do we need to talk about the fact that I abandoned you for the past week, after promising something chocolaty and peanut buttery in your future? I’m sorry. That was cruel. But let’s focus on the glorious amount of peanut butter
in your system after you make this recipe in this recipe instead.
If you’ve never made vegan ice cream with coconut milk before, you need to try it out ASAP. No scary tempering of eggs, no scary amount of egg yolks – just whisk some coconut milk and other ingredients together and you’re ready to churn. It is the easiest possible way to make ice cream.
Yes, this recipe does involve and ice cream maker and no, I’m not sure the best way to make it without one. David Lebovitz is the expert, though, so I suggest you consult this post of his. Also, let me just say that once you have an ice cream maker, you will never go back. But you might never get back into your old jeans, either. Just a disclaimer.
Chocolate + peanut butter is obviously an all-star combination, but I am going to throw it out there that it gets even BETTER with the addition of pretzels. I recently rediscovered pretzels and, while I don’t love them alone, they make the best possible combination with things like hummus and chocolate. (Not together, though – that would be weird.) A handful of pretzels and chocolate chips is pretty much the best, and that’s kind of what we have going on here. Plus peanut butter. In ice cream form.
This ice cream actually started out as a fruit dip that I planned to serve with apples, bananas, and pretzels. But after trying several variations, I was not sold. It tasted more like a peanut butter sauce you’d pour over ice cream. But I had no ice cream on hand… so clearly within minutes I was churning it into ice cream.
The peanut butter ice cream was pretty good. But I found myself dipping the pretzels I’d bought for the fruit dip in the ice cream. Then I found myself adding some chocolate chips. It didn’t take long before the pretzels were covered in chocolate and all chopped up, making their way into every bite of this ice cream.
For better or for worse, this ice cream recipe has been rigorously tested. Better for you, worse for me and my wedding dress that is supposed to arrive any day now. Anyway, let me highlight a few different parts of the recipe that may seem odd but that I stand firmly behind:
- Use half low-fat coconut milk and half full-fat. With all full-fat, the coconut flavor was too strong. With all low-fat, the texture was icy and not creamy enough.
- The amount of peanut butter. Don’t try to get away with any less! The coconut flavor will take over. The more PB, the merrier. Isn’t that always the case?
- The peanut butter mixed in with the chocolate pretzel coating. It really improves the flavor of the chocolate-covered pretzel bites to have some peanut butter mixed in. Again – more PB always wins!
- And one more thing to highlight: You can use smooth or chunky peanut butter in this recipe, although I recommend using smooth for the pretzel coating part. But if you have both on hand, chunky PB is delightful in the ice cream! May I recommend homemade? :)
Remember last summer, when I made an ice cream every week? Phew, that was straight-up exhausting, and I have no plans to repeat that foolishness this summer. Ice cream is really hard to photograph, guys. Anything that melts is pretty panic-inducing, really. Also, photography is always difficult when your subject keeps disappearing… a challenge that’s not specific to ice cream, but well, you get the picture.
In the end, though, any ice cream with peanut butter is allllways worth the trouble.
- 3/4 cup cup chocolate chips (vegan if desired)
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, divided (I used Jif Natural)
- 2 cups pretzels
- 1 14-oz cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 14-oz can lite coconut milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- Cover a baking sheet with tin foil. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between. Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter. Use a fork to dip each pretzel in chocolate-peanut butter mixture. If you're feeling patient, let excess chocolate drip off before placing on the baking sheet. When finished, place the baking sheet in the freezer for the chocolate to harden. (Alternatively, you can buy chocolate-covered pretzels like Flipz, but they most likely won't be vegan.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, remaining 1 1/4 cup peanut butter, maple syrup, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. (Mine took about 25 minutes.) While the ice cream churns, place a loaf pan (or whatever dish you'll store the ice cream in) in the freezer.
- Once the chocolate-covered pretzels are hardened, chop them and return to the freezer.
- When ice cream is finished (it should stick to a spoon swiped through it - convenient!), fold in the chocolate covered pretzels. Enjoy as soft serve or spread in the dish you've been keeping in the freezer and freeze until hardened, about 3-4 hours. Once frozen, the ice cream will be very hard. I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before scooping. Enjoy!