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{Healthier} 3 Ingredient “Smart” Ice Cream {vegan, gluten free}

May 28, 2016 | 12 comments

My mother believes that eating nuts make people smart. I always thought of it as a saying that she told me so I would stop finishing half the chocolate in our house. As it turns out though, my friend’s mom says the same thing (although I believe she eats quite a bit of chocolate too…). So this has led me to the conclusion that it’s a Chinese mom thing along with putting up a huge resistance every time somebody wants to pay the restaurant bill, constantly stuffing guests with fruit (seriously, I dunno where all the fruit even comes with like WHAT? WE HAD STRAWBERRIES IN OUR FRIDGE?!), etc. Chinese moms are awesome.

For that reason, this recipe is called “smart” ice cream but if I was still doing science fair, it would probably be called “novel” ice cream like 50% of the projects but nobody names food novel… I dislike tooting my own horn (do I even have a horn?!) but it’s probably the most brilliant recipe I’ve ever come up with (which I guess is just pitifully sad). Like so many other things, this recipe was a product of desperation, I really really wanted ice cream but we don’t have an ice cream maker nor did we have whipped cream in the house. However, we had a huge jar of peanut butter and a lot of milk.

Smart Ice Cream {Peanut Butter and Chocolate}-1
Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-6

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-13

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-2
Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-3
Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-1
Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-4

I found out that two things don’t freeze: peanut butter and condensed milk (and alcohol but I’m not of age and alcohol is a well known fact).

So I mixed peanut butter, milk, and sweetened condensed milk together, stuck them into the freezer and ended up with probably the smoothest, richest ice cream I’ve ever had. While it can’t be considered “light” as in full of air, it does contain more healthy fats than just cream and condensed milk. But let’s not wander into the “is this healthy or not” realm because that is so subjective. Instead, let’s go back to the nuts.

Nuts make you smart. Smart is good for finals week. Make a lot of this ice cream for finals week.

On another note (you can just skip to the recipe if you don’t want to hear about life :P), school is over and I couldn’t be happier/sadder. Of course I’m happy to get a “break” (joke for all those long time readers) but I really do love school. In addition, so many (so many!) people are leaving, students, teachers, and everyone else in between. This time of year for me is bittersweet, really. Lastly, finals are over and I don’t have any excuses to keep on eating this “smart” ice cream. But staying knowledgeable is always important, even during the summer (i.e. eating this ice cream is important).

Smart Ice Cream {Peanut Butter and Chocolate}-2

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-12

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-11
Smart Ice Cream {Peanut Butter and Chocolate}-3

Smart Ice Cream {Peanut Butter and Chocolate}-6

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-8

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-19
Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-18

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-14

Smart Ice Cream {Cherry, Cashew, Coconut}-15
Smart Ice Cream {Peanut Butter and Chocolate}-9


// To make this recipe vegan, use coconut condensed milk (usually available at health food stores or make your own by reducing 1 can of coconut milk with 1/2 cup raw sugar until thick, about 1/2 the original volume).
// As a reader mentioned, coconut condensed milk can also be bought online.
// If you don’t want an ice cream that tastes strongly of nuts, don’t use a strong flavored nut (i.e. peanuts).

This recipe is super super adaptable to any flavor you want (as shown by the ingredients list that are more like suggestions) so be creative! Here are some of my suggestions though:

Cherry Cashew Coconut Ice Cream: Use cashew butter and coconut milk. Mix cherries throughout when ice cream is half frozen (about 3-4 hours).
Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream: Use peanut butter and almond/cows milk (depending on whether you care if it’s vegan or not). After 3-4 hours, melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the cold mixture. Stir to break. (or skip all this drizzling and use chocolate chips instead)
Strawberry Almond Ice Cream: Use almond butter and your choice of milk (preferably almond), but reduced by 1/2 a cup. Puree ~1 cup of strawberries and mix in. Freeze.
Chocolate Ice Cream: Add 1/3 cup of sifted cocoa powder into the unfrozen mixture. (add 1 tsp expresso powder to make it mocha ice cream)
Vanilla Almond Ice Cream Use almond butter and add 2 tsp of vanilla to the unfrozen mixture (alternatively: use a vanilla bean, scrape out the innards and boil that + the bean in milk for ~10 minutes. Strain).


Smart Ice Cream


  • 2/3 cup peanut butter cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, etc. (any type of ground nut/seed butter)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk store bought / make your own with cow or coconut milk / 10-20 ground dates
  • 1 1/2 cup milk cows, rice, coconut, etc.


  1. Whisk all the ingredients together very well.
  2. Pour into a pan.
  3. Freeze until solid, about 6 hours.


read or add your own

  1. J'Marinde on

    May 29, 2016 at 1:15 am says

    In your intro comments, you menitoned puttin g this “in the refrigerator. is that possible or must this be frozen in the freezer? Thank you for this most innovative and exciting recipe. I am very excited to gttry this. Also, Amazon carries sweetened condensed coconut milk and condensed coconut milk.

  2. Anne on

    May 29, 2016 at 6:44 am says

    Oh gosh that is a typo… Where is it? You’re definitely supposed to freeze it in the freezer (unless your refrigerator is really really cold). Hope that helps!

  3. Judy on

    May 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm says

    Fourth paragraph, two lines after the pics whisking in the loaf pans, starts “So I mixed”, goes on “into the fridge” instead of freezer.

    • Anne on

      July 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm says

      Sorry about that -it has been fixed!

  4. Hira on

    June 1, 2016 at 8:03 pm says

    This recipe looks AMAZING! It is so approachable and has endless possibilities. You are officially a junior, how does it feel? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anne on

      July 15, 2016 at 6:42 pm says

      Thanks Hira! AND OMG THIS IS NOT A GOOD START. I seriously put off responding for like two months (so sorry… I was busy…). IT FEELS HORRIBLE AND STRESSFUL AND I’M GONNA DIE NEXT YEAR. (not really but you know, 5 APs are gonna be freaking stressful)

    • Anne on

      July 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm says

      Thank you Bethany!

  5. Amanda on

    June 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm says

    This looks great! That cherry cashew coconut ice cream is calling to me ?

    • Anne on

      July 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm says

      Thank you! It tasted great ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Jenni on

    June 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm says

    This recipe is genius. Seriously! Smart and/or novel, for sure! I’m sharing this guy all over. Yum!

    • Anne on

      July 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm says

      Thank you so much Jenni!


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