Creamy cashews and rich cream cheese alternative make an amazing base for ice cream. To get a little extra cheesecake tang, I add a dash of salt and generous squeeze of lemon. Feel free to adjust the lemon juice to taste; I usually end up right at 2-1/2 tablespoons.
Place the cashews in a spice grinder or food processor, and whiz for 30 seconds, or until powdered. Add the ground cashews, cream cheese alternative, 1/2 cup of the water or milk alternative, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to a blender or food processor, and mix on high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well blended. Briefly blend in the remaining 1/2 cup of liquid. Place the blender jar in your refrigerator, and let the mixture chill for 2 hours.
Make sure the canister or your ice cream maker was frozen overnight. Once frozen, and add the mixture to your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, you will have some tasty soft serve. Pack it into a freezer safe container, and chill in the freezer for several hours to get hard packed ice cream. Serve topped with blueberries.
(Serves 6 – 8)
Maple Blueberry Sauce (Optional)
Most blueberry sauce recipes use more sugar than fruit! This sauce lets the blueberries take center stage, for a delicious sweet-tart flavor. I like the pairing of maple syrup and blueberries, but you can use honey, agave nectar, or the liquid sweetener of your choice. All will be delicious!
Place the blueberries, sweetener, and salt in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, while whisking. The blueberries will begin to release their juices. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes, checking in to give it a stir every minute. Some of the blueberries will pop as they cook, releasing more juices. Whisk the cornstarch with the water, and whisk it into the blueberry sauce. Bring the sauce back to a low boil, and allow it to boil for 2 minutes, while whisking. It should thicken up nicely. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Let sauce cool before serving.
Cheesy Graham Cracker Crust Crumbles (Optional)
While you could make an ordinary graham cracker crust, why not go for extraordinary? Using some cream cheese alternative, rather than butter or margarine, marries the flavors of the crust with the ice cream.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add the cream cheese alternative and oil or shortening, and combine well with a fork or pastry blender, until relatively uniform small crumbles form. Chill the crumbles. If you want larger chunks, you can press the mixture into a dish, chill, and then break the it into larger pieces.