Food & Drink

Cookbook Corner | Tiny tome shows how frozen treats go vegan

“Making Vegan Frozen Treats,” by Nicole Weston.
“Making Vegan Frozen Treats,” by Nicole Weston. Courtesy image

If you love ice cream, but ice cream does not love you, consider this little gem of a recipe book, “Making Vegan Frozen Treats” by Nicole Weston. It’s another in the Storey BASICS series.

These small books are touted by the company as “highly accessible guides, written by seasoned experts.” They are designed to demystify the process for whatever single subject they tackle, making them an easy entry point for someone wanting to learn how to learn new skills in the kitchen and then move on to a creative relationship with that food or skill on their own.

This tiny tome tackles the problem of making creamy frozen treats for those who cannot deal with dairy for whatever reason but want more than a frozen fruit pop (more than just plain fruit ice) in their repertoire of summer treats. Nicole Weston is a Los Angeles-based pastry chef and food blogger, named as one of the top 50 in the country, and is a veteran recipe developer.

Her approach is methodical and comprehensive in this effort. She first discusses the types of churns and types of nondairy alternatives, rice milk, coconut milk and almond milk to make a lower-fat, eggless, nondairy alternative to regular ice cream that will look, and best of all taste, like the product that is the queen of July. Interestingly, coconut milk alternatives do not need a binding agent.

Because I do not have a dairy issue, for me, the best part of the book was the section on sorbets and ices, particularly the granita recipes. A granita is a kind of Italian shaved ice, and her recipes are very much like the recipe my Aunt Gabriella from Bologna, Italy, gave me for granita.

Included are all the expected classics, plus some really interesting, new (to me) flavors like Cherry Chocolate Chip, Banana and Toasted Pecan, Coconut Chocolate, Coconut Mango Rice Ice Cream and Tangerine Olive Oil Sorbet. As for those granitas, coffee is my all-time favorite, but I am intrigued by the thought of trying Honeydew and Mint Granita. The book also offers recipes for about a dozen flavors of different frozen Popsicle-like creations.

Since I am a sucker for gilding the lily when it comes to ice cream, I was also very happy to find vegan cookies for making ice cream sandwiches and sauces for frozen desserts. With a growing number of vegans and lactose-intolerant folks – for whom these vegan cookies, sauces and frozen treats will work so well – I will be keeping this little book handy over the summer. If guests need a dairy-free cooling option, I will be ready.

The amount of fat overall in most of the vegan options is lower than in their dairy cousins, so this is also handy for those looking to cut a bit of fat out of their diet. At only $8.95, this little gem of a book is a great investment for fun, summer party hosting.

At a glance

Title | “Making Vegan Frozen Treats”

Author | Nicole Weston

Publisher | Storey Publications

Length | 96 pages

Cost | $8.95