Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Kefir Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts and Chocolate Chips

Since I received an ice cream maker for my birthday, I've been having a wonderful time making lower carb frozen desserts.  This kefir ice cream is creamy, delicious and a real hit with my family.  The "candied" chopped peanuts are first sautéed in a little butter, then sprinkled with a monkfruit sweetener that hardens into a crackle when cooled.  The "chocolate chips" are several small squares of an 85% cacao chocolate bar (I like Organic Green & Black's 85% bar) that have been finely chopped so the tiny bits of chocolate are distributed evenly throughout.  When chopped fine, a little goes a long way without adding too many carbs.  When most "low carb" ice creams available commercially have about 18 carbs per serving, this infinitely-more-delicious homemade ice cream has only about 9 total carbs (6.7 net carbs), plus it has the additional health benefit of probiotics from the kefir. Your taste buds and your gut will be happier.  This is a win-win combination in my book!

Peanut Butter Kefir Ice Cream with Candied Peanuts and Chocolate Chips
Makes eight (1/2 cup) servings

1 tablespoon butter, ghee or non-dairy butter substitute
1/3 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
2-1/2 teaspoons Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener, divided
3 cups plain, unsweetened coconut milk kefir (to see directions, click here)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used flax, but your favorite will do)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, no sugar added
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I use Sweet Leaf brand), or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
6 small squares of 85% dark chocolate, finely chopped (about 3 TB)

1.  A day or two ahead, make a batch of homemade, plain, unsweetened coconut milk kefir using full-fat coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage).  Refrigerate until ready to use.  (You can use purchased plain, unsweetened kefir but the nutritional information with be different and the resulting ice cream will not be non-dairy.)

2.  In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the chopped peanuts.  Sauté briefly until warm throughout (do not overcook because the peanuts can burn easily).  Sprinkle 1-1/2 teaspoons of the Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener over the peanuts and stir to coat.  When the monkfruit sweetener has melted, remove from heat and transfer the peanuts and any remaining liquid to a bowl.  Set aside to cool completely.

3.  Place 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, plain kefir, peanut butter, remaining 1 teaspoon of Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener, liquid stevia drops, stevia powder, vanilla extract and salt into a blender.  Blend until smooth and all ingredients are well combined.  Taste and add additional stevia drops or powder, if desired.  Place in a jar or other container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before making the ice cream.  Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and set aside.

4. Follow the directions for your ice cream maker.  Pour the peanut butter-kefir mixture into the ice cream maker and churn until thickened and beginning to set.  Add the peanuts, reserved liquid and chopped chocolate and continue churning until desired consistency is reached.  Serve immediately as soft-set or transfer to a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.*

*Important Note:  This ice cream needs to be eaten while in a soft-set stage.  If allowed to freeze completely, it will be too firm to scoop.  Any leftover ice cream can be frozen in individual ice pop molds and served later as a creamy ice pop.

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 315 calories, 8.9 g carbohydrate (2.2 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars, 1 g sugar alcohols), 27.6 g total fat (10.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 98 mg sodium, 34.2 mg calcium, 37 mg potassium, 7.4 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 6.7 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2015.