Summer is here, and that can only mean one thing: It’s ice cream season, baby.
We’ve got many fantastic ice cream recipes on our site, from Chocolate Decadence to Salted Caramel. But this summer, we’re debuting a collection of special ones: no-sugar-added ice creams that are every bit as sweet and decadent as classic versions.
Senior Recipe Developer Molly Marzalek-Kelly dove deep to crack the code on no-sugar-added ice cream. She began with our Baking Sugar Alternative (BSA), a 1:1 sugar substitute that has no discernible aftertaste. But making creamy, crave-worthy no-sugar-added ice cream wasn't as simple as just swapping BSA for regular sugar; the recipes required a bit more tinkering. One of the biggest goals was to avoid the ice cream freezing too hard and icy, since sugar is just as important to ice cream texture as it is to flavor.
After churning many batches, Molly identified two keys to success: alcohol and xanthan gum. “Alcohol lowers the freezing temperature for ice cream, which helps keep things scoopable,” says Molly. It’s frequently added to conventional ice cream for softer texture, and when it comes to ice cream made with Baking Sugar Alternative, “It’s not optional,” says Molly. Without alcohol, the no-sugar-added ice cream tends to freeze hard and crumbly — a small amount (just 1 tablespoon) gives the no-sugar-added ice cream the perfect texture.
Then there’s the xanthan gum, another ingredient sometimes added to conventional ice cream recipes. “People are used to seeing the emulsification and texture-improving properties of xanthan gum displayed in gluten-free baking,” says Molly, “but it’s really a powerhouse in no-sugar-added ice cream as well.” A smidge of xanthan gum replicates some of sugar’s texture-enhancing properties to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency and the best frozen mouthfeel.
Using these discoveries, Molly developed three different bases: a custard-style ice cream, a simple mix-and-churn ice cream, and a dairy-free sorbet. She then developed four flavors for scooping all summer long.
There’s little vanilla ice cream can’t do, from topping a slice of Keto-Friendly Chocolate Cake to making a decadent brownie à la mode. In this custard-style base, made with cream and egg yolks for richness, the vanilla is front and center. Molly uses two different types (vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract) to flavor a classic ice cream that’s anything but boring.
If vanilla ice cream is the friend who gets along with everyone, chocolate ice cream is the life of the party. This mix-and-churn ice cream gets its rich chocolate flavor from Dutch-process cocoa, plus a dash of espresso powder to enhance the chocolate even further. With cream for decadent texture, the churned ice cream turns out like a scoopable fudge pop. Top with keto-friendly chocolate whipped cream to serve with style.
Forget cookies and cream — this ice cream, which is like a snickerdoodle cookie in frozen form, uses a generous amount of cinnamon (choose Vietnamese cinnamon for the boldest flavor) and has Soft Snickerdoodle crumbles (also made with Baking Sugar Alternative!) swirled in for more texture and flavor in every spoonful. Like the vanilla ice cream, it’s made from a custard-style base with egg yolks for super-creamy consistency.
Sorbets tend to turn out extra-icy because they’re dairy-free and thus missing the added fat that milk and cream provide. This characteristic makes the alcohol and xanthan gum particularly essential to this recipe, especially without the sugar that would normally aid the churned sorbet’s texture. Here, the Baking Sugar Alternative is heated with water; this simple syrup is added to puréed blueberries alongside the rest of the ingredients to make a smooth, sweet base for the sorbet. Try it with Keto-Friendly Cheesecake Bars for a fresh, summery dessert.
Cover photo (Chocolate Ice Cream made with baking sugar alternative) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.