Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cacao Almond Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream

Eating low carb, high fat doesn't have to be boring! Also, if you know a few good low carb substitutions, you can enjoy a healthy, delicious, creamy dessert like this one. The ingredient that makes this ice cream especially beneficial for health is the kefir. Kefir is a cultured dairy beverage, with a taste similar to yogurt, that is filled with probiotic microorganisms that promote healing in all parts of the body, including it's ability to stabilize blood sugar. Research shows that the microbiome of a person with diabetes is different from a healthy person without diabetes. The National Institute of Health is conducting a study to show the benefits of probiotic therapy for T2 diabetics (1). This and other studies from around the world have already demonstrated that rebuilding and maintaining a healthy microbiome by consuming kefir and other fermented foods help to improve or reverse the condition of T2 diabetes (2). That's why I eat probiotic-rich foods daily and include cultured dairy or fermented vegetables with every meal. For me, this kefir ice cream is not only an amazing, guilt-free treat, it's medicine! I follow Hippocrates advice, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Now, this is REAL FOOD medicine that is easy to swallow!

Cacao Almond Chocolate Chip Kefir Ice Cream
Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup each)

Ice Cream Base:
1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (can be purchased or to make at home, click here)
1/2 cup kefir cheese (kefir with the whey separated out, see here for directions) or Greek yogurt
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup almond butter (no sugar added)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (omit or reduce if almond butter contains salt)
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules or espresso powder (I used decaf)
1 tablespoon Lakanto Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (or other erythritol sweetener)
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2 tablespoons unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir-in Ingredients:
2-1/2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate (85% or higher, I used 5 squares of a Green and Black bar)
1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
1/4 cup roasted chopped almonds

1. Place all of the Ice Cream Base ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding.  Meanwhile, prepare the Stir-in ingredients and set aside.

2. Following the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker, churn the ice cream and, when the mixture begins to solidify, add the Stir-in ingredients and continue to churn until desired consistency is reached.

3.  Serve immediately as a soft-serve ice cream or transfer to a container and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up a bit before scooping. Spoon any leftovers into ice pop molds and freeze until solid. This ice cream makes wonderful fudgesicles!  (Because this ice cream is sugar free, once the ice cream is completely frozen, it will be too firm to scoop. I recommend making ice pops out of any ice cream not eaten immediately.)

Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup serving: 249 calories, 8.1 g carbohydrate (3.1 g dietary fiber, 2.8 g sugars, 1.5 g sugar alcohol), 21.4 g total fat (8.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 51 mg sodium, 69.6 mg calcium, 51 mg potassium, 5.9 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 5 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2016