Dairy-Free Sugar and Spice Ice Cream

Hello everyone and welcome to this special edition of Firefighter Friday!

My thinking for this unique sugar and spice ice cream creation started with firemen and then went to heat and spice, which led to the warmth of cinnamon!

This recipe has components such as vanilla almond milk, pecan butter, and salted candied pecans, all of which I made from scratch. Let’s begin with the first simple recipe you’ll need to get started.


1 c. raw pecans

salt, to taste

Pecans are so easy to butterize. Just throw them into your food processor, and start it up! It takes about 5-10 minutes to completely come together. I usually have to scrape down the sides 4 or 5 times. At the very end, add your salt (or not, depending on your preference). I usually add about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon. Let it process one more time with the salt, then scoop it into a sealable jar.

Now for the main dish…I’m really happy with the way this recipe turned out! Taste, texture, flavor, it’s all there, not to mention I was able to keep it low in both fat and sugar.


1 c. almond milk, hemp milk, etc.

1/2 c. full-fat coconut milk, subtract 1/2 teaspoon

1/2 t. apple cider vinegar

1 T. arrowroot

3 T. sucanat (or another natural granulated sugar), ground into powder

8 drops liquid stevia

1/4 t. +1/8 t. cinnamon

1/8 t. sea salt

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. maple syrup

2 T. raw pecan butter (recipe above)

Mix the coconut milk (minus the 1/2 t.) with the 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Let sit in the fridge for about 8 minutes. Whisk the arrowroot with the buttermilk until you see few to no lumps. Heat the almond milk, ground sucanat, and stevia in a saucepan over medium heat. After about 3-5 minutes, steam should start to rise off of the mix. Whisk the arrowroot/coconut milk into the heated almond milk. Keep it over medium to medium high heat, and stir it constantly until thickened (about 3-5 minutes). It should coat the back of a spoon like this:


Stir in the pecan butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and maple syrup. Take a few minutes to stir everything and make sure there are no chunks of pecan butter or cinnamon. Mash them with your spoon against the side of the pan so that they will disperse. Place the mix in the fridge to chill for about 2 hours.

After the ice cream has chilled, churn it in an ice cream maker for about 20-30 minutes, until it resembles traditional ice cream. Scoop it out into a Tupperware, cover it, and  pop it in the freezer for about 30-60 minutes, until hardened a bit.

During the time the ice cream is chilling, you can make the candied pecans! They’re super easy and taste great atop this confection.


1 T. coconut sugar

few drops of vanilla

1 t. hot water

sea salt

about 1/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Begin by mixing the sugar with the vanilla. Add the hot water and stir until the sugar dissolves. You should have a syrupy mixture. Toss and coat the pecans, and pour them onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle sea salt atop the pecans. Bake the nuts for about 10-12 minutes (some ovens may need longer). Once cooled, they should be crunchy.

Sprinkle the pecans atop a mountain of guilt-free ice cream!

Voila! An ice cream sundae fit for a king!…or a really cute fireman… ;-)

What is the craziest ice cream flavor you’ve ever tried?

I think I get more crazy with my mix-ins. I love vanilla ice cream, mixed with saltines crackers and chocolate syrup. You get the sweet/salty and creamy/crunchy combo.

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Comments: 30

  1. Amanda (@PicklesNHoney) August 10, 2012 at 6:15 am Reply

    This sounds incredible! Definitely decadent in terms of flavors, but you managed to keep it fairly healthy as far as ice cream goes! And now I need to try making pecan butter. :)

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 8:39 am Reply

      Thanks Amanda! That means a lot coming from you.

  2. sprint2thetable August 10, 2012 at 6:31 am Reply

    Oh, wow! Pecans don’t get enough love – they are one of my favorite nuts. Great idea for an ice cream!!

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 8:41 am Reply

      Thank you Laura! They are a great nut to make desserts with. They almost have a sweetness that lends very well to this.

  3. Eating 4 Balance August 10, 2012 at 7:34 am Reply

    This is a great idea! To be honest though, I’d have to leave the whole pecans out. Something about nuts in my food just doesn’t go over well with me… The creamy pecan butter will definitely make up for that though!

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 8:41 am Reply

      Trust me, it’s delicious without them too!

  4. Heather August 10, 2012 at 8:56 am Reply

    Yum yum yummm Lauren! Beautiful too. Pecans are one of my fave nuts. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Adding it to the entries post :)

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 11:17 am Reply

      Thank you Heather! I hope you like it!

  5. Min August 10, 2012 at 11:07 am Reply

    This looks soo good, Lauren! I love all the photos also! I look forward to seeing it in foodgawker soon ;) You’re so sweet for dedicating this lovely post to your husband and all the firefighters out there! I’ve never had vegan ice cream before! I’m pinning this!!

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 11:18 am Reply

      Haha! I can only hope!

  6. Alex @ therunwithin August 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm Reply

    wow so cool, that looks delicious too!

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm Reply

      Thanks Alex!

  7. Gabby @ the veggie nook August 10, 2012 at 2:17 pm Reply

    What a great submission to the sundae challenge! I would happily down a bowlful or 4 of that!

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm Reply

      Thanks Gabby! Yours looked great too! I tried lucuma once, but found I am allergic to it. :( I wish I could eat it though, it’s so tasty.

  8. Lauren August 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm Reply

    My mouth was literally watering when I was reading this post- heck, it still is!
    I love the ingredients in this recipe- and the idea of combining almond milk and coconut milk! I need to make this asap- I bet it would be a super impressive dessert! :)

    • Lauren August 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm Reply

      LOL! You’re so sweet! If you do make it, let me know what you think!

  9. Kailey August 11, 2012 at 6:21 am Reply

    Ohh that pecan spiced ice cream has me drooling :)

    • Lauren August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Thanks Kailey!

  10. ally August 11, 2012 at 9:10 am Reply

    i am adoring all your flavors in here… flawless job!

    • Lauren August 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm Reply

      Wow, thank you for the compliment!

  11. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings August 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm Reply

    Lauren this looks amazing! I used to love butter pecan icecream and this looks so delicious!

    • Lauren August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Thanks Natalie! I still love butter pecan! It crossed my mind to make that, but I didn’t know how to get the ‘butter’ flavor in there. I’m not a big fan of butter extract, and I wanted to keep it pretty healthy, so butter was out.

  12. toni August 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm Reply

    waow dis looks delish.i new to veg recipes but am definity going to try make dis one for sure

    • Lauren August 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm Reply

      Groovy! Let me know how you like it if you do!

  13. Amy Lyons August 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm Reply

    This sounds wonderful Lauran! Love the pecans, cinnamon and maple combo! Yum!

    • Lauren August 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm Reply

      Thanks Amy! What you entered looked great too!

  14. Marion Armstrong July 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm Reply

    I’m puzzled–you say buttermilk, but I don’t see buttermilk in the ingredient list. Do you mean the pecan butter and milk together? Is this what you are calling buttermilk? I would really like to try this, as we can’t have sugar; and my husband loves butter pecan ice cream! Thanks!

    • Lauren July 25, 2013 at 8:03 am Reply

      Hi Marion,
      The milk and apple cider vinegar mix is what gives this the buttermilk taste. I hope you get to try it! :-D

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