My dear-ole-dad gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday in June. After much debate, I decided to spend it on supplies for my next cookbook, Vegan Gifts In A Jar. I purchased a few things, like a shortbread mold, as well as dried culinary lavender. The 8-ounce bag I purchased only cost me a little over $6. I didn't realize how much 8 ounces actually was until I got the bag in the mail. For lavender, it's a lot! It's going to take me a long time to go through it, especially considering I'll probably only use a few teaspoons at a time, making whatever it is I'm making.
I knew one of the tasty edibles I was going to make with it would be lavender lemonade, but I asked my Facebook followers for feedback and my long-time friend Abby recommended I make some ice cream with it. That sounded great to me! And then I saw my favorite ice cream parlor, Sweet Ritual, posting about a "Lavender Mocha" they sell at their shop and knew I had to combine the two.
If you aren't familiar with using lavender in food it could be an acquired taste for you. On the other hand, though, if you've ever used herbs de Provence you might be surprised to find that lavender is one of the herbs used in the mix. Lavender has the potential to be very flowery in flavor if used in abundance. When combined with other flavors, however, it can become subdued and subtle or accentuate the taste of another ingredient. Lavender in lemonade tastes completely different than lavender in chocolate or in a sauce.
So I set about making my ice cream, taste testing it along the way. And I was genuinely surprised by the final outcome...
This creamy concoction has a rich, chocolate base. The coffee and lavender flavors are subtle; with one bite the lavender takes center stage while in the next the coffee brings the chocolate into the spotlight.
Paired with a nice, crisp cookie, the three distinct flavors combine for an old-fashioned, country table sort of experience.
6 tablespoons ground coffee
1 cup water
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cups soymilk
1/4 cup soymilk
2 cups plain soy creamer
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender (I purchased mine here)
3 ounces (usually three squares) of semisweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 cup agave nectar
Bring the 1 cup water to a boil. Add the coffee grounds to a French press and pour the boiling water over them. Let steep for five minutes. Pour coffee from the French press into a medium sized saucepan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the 3/4 cups soymilk and 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder. Save for later.
Add the 1/4 cup soymilk and the 2 cups soy creamer to the medium sized saucepan. Place the lavender in a tea ball and add to the saucepan. Heat the soy and coffee mixture over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Lower to medium heat, making sure it is still bubbling. Let the lavender steep in the mixture for five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent your milk from burning.
Remove the tea ball and discard the lavender. Add the chocolate, agave and vanilla to the saucepan and stir for 3 minutes until the chocolate has melted and everything is thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and add your arrowroot and milk mixture, whisking one more time before adding it. Stir well.
Let the mixture cool completely before churning according to your ice cream maker's instructions. I usually let mine sit in the freezer on a potholder for 1 hour before whisking it well again and adding it to my Cuisinart. You can also cool it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, though I've found it works best in the freezer.
After the ice cream has churned, transfer it to an airtight container and let freeze for another 2 hours before serving.
Makes approximately 1 quart.