Friday, August 14, 2015

Vegan lavender ice cream

lavender ice cream

TWO ice cream recipes in two days? Holy shit—it looks like this blog is undergoing a revolution! Time to rename this place How to Philosophize with Dairy-Free Ice Cream, eh?

It’s crazy (but I’m in love...with ice cream).

Yesterday we enjoyed some classic pistachio ice cream chock full of avocado and tofu and other lovely vegan-y ingredients like that. Today, we’re switching things up. After contemplating what kind of ice cream I should make for the Cupcake Project ice cream cupcake contest, I settled upon lavender, reasoning that everybody loves lavender—I mean, how can you not love the stuff? It’s so fragrant and flowery and lovely in every way.

So naturally I started by ordering a four-ounce package of dried culinary lavender. More lavender than I will ever need, but whatever. Guess I’ll be doing a lot of lavender-infused baking in the coming...years?

Obligatory artsy pic of said lavender.

Once I had the lavender in my possession, I began my hunt for a good, plain, vegan ice cream recipe. And again Vegan Desserts came to the rescue with a delightful recipe for vanilla bean ice cream, made by cooking a cornstarch-based custard on the stovetop, chilling it, and churning in an ice cream maker. Actually, I lied—the original recipe uses Bird’s custard powder, but nobody has that so I used cornstarch, which was a recommended substitute after all. You still get really good ice cream.

I'm still not very good at making perfectly round scoops of ice cream.

The benefit of using this custard is that you can use whatever nondairy milk you want. Plus you get this really creamy, rich-tasting ice cream that doesn’t have the iciness and coconut flavor of a coconut-based ice cream.

I might be a little biased, of course, since I once made a coconut milk-based ice cream and was just delighted to find it came out with all the flavor and texture of a weak sorbet. Ugh. I promise: you won’t get that here.

Sorbet. Who eats sorbet, anyway?

Now, I was interested in adding a distinct lavender flavor to this vanilla bean ice cream; so to achieve this, I steeped the milk base in dried lavender for a few minutes, much like a tea, before cooking it in the custard. The result was marvelous. The ice cream has a strong scent, even in its frozen form. It’s almost like one of those Yankee candles. You know those? The candles with the really strong, deodorant-strength smells to them? It’s like that. But actually a good smell. It’s not like one of those “over the river” candles that conjure up Axe more accurately than a meandering brook.

The combination of lavender-infused milk and vanilla bean paste (something I highly recommend purchasing, now that I’ve tried it myself) makes for a very exotic, elegant ice cream flavor that tastes and smells as though it’s from some expensive artisanal ice cream boutique. You will feel fancy as fuck eating this. Trust me.

Here’s the recipe.


Vegan lavender ice cream

Adapted from Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky


488 grams • nondairy milk • 2 cups

3 grams • dried lavender flowers • 2 tablespoons

28 grams • cornstarch • 1/4 cup

100 grams • granulated sugar • 1/2 cup

Pinch salt

12 grams • vanilla paste • 1 tablespoon

42 grams • coconut oil • 3 tablespoons


Place milk and lavender in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the milk is just beginning to boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out lavender and return milk to saucepan.

Add cornstarch, sugar, and salt to saucepan. Whisk together until no clumps remain. Add vanilla paste and whisk to combine.

Set over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in coconut oil until it is fully melted and incorporated. Let mixture chill completely before proceeding.

Once chilled, give the custard a vigorous whisk. Place custard an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.


Don't feel the need to eat the lavender buds though. They're just for decoration.

For more recipes with flowery / herbal flavors, check out these recipes.

Rosewater Victorian sponge cake. Perfect with some tea.

Lemon blondies with thyme buttercream. That infused buttercream though.

Fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream. Here’s one way to use up your zucchini.


  1. Amazing recipe, and its vegan! Great...

  2. Classy ice creams for classy days :D This too looks wonderful June! I have never used lavender in cooking before, but I can imagine a little goes a long way here :D xx

    1. It does! I only used 2 tablespoons in the entire ice cream and it was super strong. And these are pretty classy indeed :)

  3. This is the first time I've seen a milk-based non dairy ice cream recipe (it;s usually pricey coconut cream)! I have to get my hands on an ice cream maker first, but when I do I'm going to try this!

    1. I hope you do try it! Making the custard works really well for getting that creamy texture :)