By Erin Trauth
So, last week we talked coconut-based ice cream alternatives, most of which are beyond delicious and completely guilt-free.
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with baker, cookbook author, and photographer extraordinaire Hannah Kaminsky. Hannah is the author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts and her most recent, Vegan a la Mode She’s also the creator of an aware winning blog, Bittersweet, and the author of several e-books, including À La Mode, Mission Impossible Pies, Lunchbox Bites, and, most recently, My Sweet Vegan. In other words, she’s pretty awesome, and she took some time from her busy life to talk with me about desserts and vegan ice cream creations.
ET: First of all, why eat vegan, in your opinion?
HK: Why doesn’t every one eat vegan these days, honestly? It’s hard to think that the living conditions created for food animals are okay from a health, moral, or environmental standpoint. I originally went vegan because I love animals and couldn’t stand to think that I was causing another creature to suffer, all because I liked the taste of something. It seems horribly cruel, especially when there are truly excellent alternatives to absolutely every last animal product nowadays.
ET: Agreed! Now, can you tell me a little bit about your dessert background?
HK: My experimentation in the kitchen all started simply because I have a huge sweet tooth. When I went vegan some 9 years ago, there were hardly any ready-made vegan desserts available in the first place, let alone delicious or even edible options. I’m not one to take “no” for an answer, and making an ethical dietary choice shouldn’t mean deprivation, so I took it upon myself to satisfy those sweet cravings. I never went to culinary school, but learned through experience what works and what will set the kitchen on fire. That first year yielded more doorstop muffins than I can recall! It was all worth it though, because I never learned how to bake with eggs and dairy in the first place, so this process allowed me to view the craft through different eyes than most bakers. While many seek to replace those animal-based ingredients, I simply never had a need for them to begin with.
ET: Time for the big, life-altering questions: what’s your favorite base for vegan ice cream (i.e. soy, almond, rice…)?
HK: Almond milk is my “milk” of choice for ice cream, because the flavor is neutral and agreeable, it avoids the potential pitfalls of soy (which many friends avoid, and I want to share my recipes with everyone), and is generally smooth, creamy, and relatively rich. When making ice cream from a cooked custard base, as I tend to, the only type of non-dairy milk that I wouldn’t suggest is rice milk. I’m not a fan of rice milk in general, but especially for ice cream, it’s simply too thin and gritty. It wouldn’t make a satisfying frozen dessert.
ET: And, finally, the most important question of them all: what’s your favorite vegan ice cream flavor?
HK: Choosing favorites is always so difficult! The toasted marshmallow ice cream in “Vegan a La Mode” is definitely a top pick, but I do have a secret weakness for vegan marshmallows. Following suit, a close second is probably my hot chocolate ice cream, also enriched with an abundance of chopped ‘mallows. I previously shared that recipe with VegNews, so you can find it online here.
ET: Ummm, yum! Yes, Hannah, I will be trying your hot chocolate ice cream as soon as possible. How could I not?
In the meantime, I’ll be checking out Hannah’s other recipes in Vegan a La Mode, as they all look pretty amazing. What do you think, iEatGrass-ers? Have you tried any of Hannah’s recipes? If not, it seems the only question left is…what are you waiting for? Summer is calling!