OMG! My life has changed. Yep.

I’ve always wondered if homemade vegan ice cream could really be different than store-bought. There have been recipes on the internet for some time but I never really took them seriously until Hannah wrote her book, Vegan a la Mode, which is essentially, a Vegan Ice Cream 101 for beginners but with fancy-ass flavors so you don’t look like a beginner.

Now granted, I haven’t tried all the recipes in the book but the strawberry ice cream (I left out the lemon curd so that The Husband would try it) has caused me to rethink ice cream. No longer am I limited to vanilla, chocolate, or green tea flavors in the freezer section of the grocery. I can make Hannah’s version of Moose Tracks (she calls it Mouse Tracks which is just friggin’ adorable ;-), the various fruity recipes, or the exotic ones that she’s developed (chocolate-cabernet, bloody Mary, black pearl, Pfeffernusse, blood orange, peach melba, pear cider, the list goes on, there’s even a recipe for the pooch: pupcicles).

“Somebody” got up in the middle of the night and scooped out all but the courtesy corner crumbs before I was able to get a decent “scoop shot” this morning. So please forgive the messy scoop job. Next time, I’ll shoot before folks steal the goods.

Homemade is really all about fresh ingredients. Using fresh strawberries in Hannah’s recipe is clearly evident in the resulting taste. By controlling the ingredients yourself, you’re in charge of not only flavor but also any ingredients that may give you a belly ache. I know I’ve tried a couple brands of vegan ice cream that kept me up at night.

Plus homemade ice cream hasn’t been sitting in a store freezer for an unknown amount of time and it hasn’t melted while waiting on the loading dock. That melting process can ruin ice cream before it even gets to your local Whole Foods. I’ve even made it a practice to squeeze the little tubs in the store to seek out potential empty areas where melted ice cream pulled away from the container. A dead giveaway that you’re about to buy crystal chunks rather than a creamy dessert.

If you’re looking for a cookbook with a great reference section for vegan ingredients and explanations on what does what and how, get Hannah’s book. You get all the how-to answers to help newbies like me, great recipes ranging from regular flavors like French Vanilla to super exotic stuff I can’t pronounce, and a section in back with toppings recipes.

And if you’re really like me and aren’t sure if you want to invest in an ice cream maker without trying to make ice cream first, try getting one via Freecycle. That’s what I did and I ended up with a snazzy little 2-pint Donvier which works perfectly.

Donvier has mastered the craft of tiny ice cream makers. This is a perfect size if you don’t want to make a whole gallon or are testing lots of flavors. It has a metal chill-pack liner that you keep in the freezer until ready, then put it in the plastic tub, fill with your glob, then turn the handle a few times every 2 or 3 minutes. The frozen drum does all the work by freezing the glob that touches its surface and the crank mixes it together and breaks up the crystals every two minutes so in about 20 minutes, you have soft serve consistency.

Yeah, I gotta crank it but seriously, I don’t break a sweat. And you know how I am about too much exercise ;-] Seriously, crank it 3 or 4 turns, do dishes for 2 minutes, crank it again, flip the pancakes or make coffee, crank it again…you can work it into your kitchen routine. Twenty minutes later, you’ve got a stiff soft serve consistency that you scoop into a tub and put in the freezer. Remember, if you let it get too hard in the Donvier, you won’t be able to turn the handle.

I’ve heard of other folks using a Cuisinart model but I’m not sure which one that would be. If you have a preference for an ice cream maker, feel free to list it in the comments.

So now stop your belly aching about the summer heat and get cranking! And if you see a fat old lady squeezing pins of vegan ice cream in your local Whole Foods, leave me alone will ya? ;-p My Donvier must be broken.

Disclosure: No, Hannah did not give me her book for free to review. I did this all on my very own, all by myself. And  no, I’m not an Amazon affiliate dagnabit cuz I live in Illinois which hates Amazon and won’t allow affiliates to live here. Stoopid state.