I cannot believe this is the first time this summer that I have pulled out my ice cream maker. So many missed ice cream opportunities. It actually makes me a little sad. But, don’t worry, I am back and committed to playing with my ice cream maker.
I found myself insanely inspired this past weekend after a super fun trip to the farmers market after yoga. I met up with some friends and I ended up spending over 2 hours there, buying delicious foods, chatting, getting inspired and seeing tons friends and even some family. It was a really fun morning. I had planned in advance to meet up with Janine, Alyssa and her boyfriend Daren. Alyssa recently started a blog, Wild Roots, where she shares her recipes for allergen-free foods as well as her incredible knowledge of the many benefits of the foods she cooks with. Alyssa has some really big plans she is working on that is going to be great for Buffalo, I am so excited for her and plan to be one of her biggest cheerleaders. Alyssa and I talked forever about food and cooking, playing with pairing unsuspecting ingredients together and so much more. Alyssa is such a breath of fresh air with her food and I am totally inspired by what she is doing. After sharing a recipe last week for Lavender Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Wraps with Garlic Crusted Mushrooms & Spicy Pea Spread, I recalled my search for lavender a while back where I was left empty handed. I didn’t think it would be that hard to find. I had planted some lavender last summer and for whatever reason it never really grew that well. Whether it be hubby’s lawn mower, the dog, another critter or just imperfect conditions, it never really made it. I had so many plans for that little plant and it just left me dreaming.
After being reminded of my search for lavender, finding out where to buy it locally (the Lexington Co-Op near the other dried spices and herbs), spending a few hours at the farmers market (where I purchased a beautiful basket of blueberries) and chatting with friends about delicious food, I came home inspired to make something seasonal, beautiful and tasty. This Blueberry Lavender Vanilla Ice Cream is just as delicious as it looks. That color is even more beautiful that the photos show and as I was making it, I wished I could bottle the scents up and wear them as a perfume. If the idea of eating lavender doesn’t appeal to you because of it’s floral scent, I really recommend trying to give it a shot anyway. You’ll be quite surprised at how wonderful it is. The subtle flavor that the lavender brings is so beautiful, delicate and perfect with the fresh tartness from the blueberries. The strong vanilla undertones rounds it all out so nicely, bringing it all together into a creamy, dreamy dessert that is perfect on a hot summer evening.
It was quite hot and muggy today, so I took my photos as fast as I could. I may have eaten a bowl of ice cream in between shots, ya know – cuz it was melting and all.
Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers. I hope your day is filled with family, friends, fun, delicious food and lots of magic! Enjoy!
- 1 quart fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (honey or agave)
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups full fat organic coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cans)
- 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender blossoms
- 1 vanilla bean (or an additional 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla extract at the end)
- 1 cup unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large sauce pan over medium-heat, add blueberries, maple syrup and 1 cup water, bring to the start of a boil then drop the heat down and allow it to simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Continue simmering until the berries begin to pop and break open, remove from the heat and using a fine strainer, pour the mixture into the strainer, over a bowl, catching the berries. Then add the syrup back to the saucepan and add the blueberries to the pitcher of your blender and set aside.
Add the coconut milk and lavender to the pan with the blueberry syrup. Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pan, then go ahead and toss the whole bean in, too. Over a medium-high heat, allow to mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan from the heat, cover and allow the lavender and vanilla to infuse for about 15 minutes or longer.
Using the fine strainer, strain the liquid into the blender with the blueberries, gently pressing down onto the lavender and the vanilla bean to get all of the flavor. Add the extra vanilla and the almond milk and blend until very smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large glass bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or overnight. I usually just leave it overnight.
Once chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Eat right away as a soft-serve or add to a freezable container and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours or longer, to firm up. Freeze until it is firm enough to scoop.
TIPS: Try freezing your ice cream in a loaf pan, covered in wax paper and foil. Really press that wax paper down and every time you serve some, repress the wax paper down. This will help to keep it from getting freezer burnt. You can also add a tablespoon or two of vodka to the mixture, which doesn’t affect the taste but will help keep it from getting too hard. I didn’t do it this time around since I didn’t have any vodka in the house, but I usually do.
*NOTE: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, these would be great as popsicles, too! Thanks for the idea, Alex!