It was International Coffee Day on Sunday (1 October 2017), and that put the idea in my head to make a coffee-flavoured low-carb swap recipe. And since I also fancied some ice cream, a recipe for low-carb coffee ice cream is what I came up with! This saves you a massive 24g of carbs per serving over normal coffee ice cream. And if you’re a coffee freak, be warned – it’s so gorgeous that I’ve hardly been able to put down the spoon!
It was also, incidentally, World Vegetarian Day on Sunday. And of course, as most ice creams are – except the bacon ice cream served in Michelin-starred restaurants – this is, as you would expect, also vegetarian! (But it isn’t vegan).
I mean it, this ice cream is fantastic, and very easy to make as long as you have an ice cream maker. You just have to remember to get things going some hours – or the night – before, by infusing the coffee in the cream mixture so that it imparts its flavour.
The finished ice cream is gorgeously creamy and sweet, and quite strong if you make it with ground coffee as I did. So a creamy espresso-strength ice cream really – which is the way I like it. After straining, it has a few flecks of ground coffee throughout which – as I like eating whole chocolate-covered coffee beans – I find is lovely, and makes this a rather grown up dessert. But if you want to make the coffee taste milder, then use whole beans instead of ground coffee, and/or don’t infuse for too long.
You want to make sure you use good quality coffee, and as fresh as possible, for this. Old and/or poor quality coffee will carry through its stale taste to the ice cream. And if you’re using ground coffee as I have, you want a medium grind size as you would use for a filter or drip, or a coarse grind size as you would use for a cafetière (French Press). Don’t use espresso coffee which is finely-ground. This is all because, once you’ve finished infusing the ground coffee in the cream mixture as in the first step of the recipe, you want the coffee grounds to be large enough for most of them to be seived out before you make the ice cream.
Made in my Magimix ice cream maker, this ice cream turns out with an Italian soft scoop consistency, as that’s what that ice cream maker does.
This recipe includes xanthan gum, commonly used in low-carb cooking. It is optional, if you can’t find it or don’t what to bother buying it. But it will improve consistency. It’s readily available in the baking section of supermarkets.
Nutrition Count: Regular Coffee Ice Cream vs. Low-Carb Coffee Ice Cream
Sugar is the main thing you’re swapping out in this recipe to reduce the carb count drastically. Using unsweetened almond milk instead of any type of cow’s milk also reduces the carbs by removing the lactose sugar.
Waitrose-own Colombian Coffee seemed a pretty similar ice cream to hold this up against. So compared to that, you’re saving a massive amount of carbs – more than 24g in fact.
There’s more calories and fat in the low-carb version, and that’s fine by me. On our low-carb way of eating we’re concerned with reducing sugar, which will sometimes be replaced with fat, which will help keep you fuller for longer. This is the sugar-fat seesaw in action, that I’ve written about before. And even on a decadent low-carb regime, where fat is not the enemy – because that’s sugar of course! – I’m assuming you’re not going to be eating ice cream every day of the week.
|Per 100g of Ice Cream||Waitrose 1 Columbian Coffee Ice Cream||Low-Carb Coffee Ice Cream*|
* Figures calculated using verified nutritional info on the MyFitnessPal database.
Health Impact of the Ingredients
Many of the ingredients for this coffee ice cream are becoming old favourites in my low-carb recipes. I’ve written before about the health impacts of eggs, cream, almond milk and erythritol, so you may be familiar with them by now.
I’m not going to write much about coffee here today because I’m going to dedicate a full post to that at some point in the near future. There is much to say and evaluate from the scientific research about whether coffee and caffeine may have health benefits – including potentially helping to prevent type 2 diabetes, dementia, colorectal cancer and Parkinson’s disease; and the role that the antioxidants and other compounds it contains might have in the prevention of other diseases.
Please sign up to follow me by email via the link on my homepage so that you don’t miss the upcoming post about the health impacts of coffee and caffeine. And I will update this post then too with a summary of my findings.
Recipe for Low-Carb Coffee Ice Cream
Total prep time: 10 mins, plus soaking time of a few hours or overnight
Churning time: 30 mins in an ice cream maker
- 480ml double cream
- 125ml unsweetened almond milk (I use Alpro)
- 50g good quality medium or coarse ground coffee (or whole beans for a milder coffee flavour)
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g erythritol or xylitol granulated sugar substitute (I used Sukrin granulated erythritol)
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Mix the ground coffee or coffee beans, double cream, and almond milk in a medium sized microwaveable bowl.
- Let the coffee infuse, so that its flavour seeps into the milk and cream, for at least 2 hours. I prefer to leave it overnight in the fridge covered with cling film, to get a stronger coffee flavour.
- Microwave the milk, cream and coffee on high for 2 minutes. Then – using a fine sieve if you’ve used ground coffee – strain the cream and milk mixture into another microwaveable bowl and discard the coffee.
- Add the granulated sugar substitute, vanilla essence, salt, and egg yolks to the coffee-flavoured cream and milk, and sieve in the xanthan gum, if using. Stir well to ensure all is combined.
- Microwave the mixture again for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat twice more this microwaving for 30 seconds and then stirring. If it is slightly thickened at this point then it’s done, but in my 800w microwave I need to repeat the 30 seconds microwaving and stirring once more.
- Sieve the mixture to remove any lumps, cover the bowl with cling film, and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill. You can leave it a bit longer than this if you’re going to go away and do something else, but not too long, or the mixture may freeze to be too hard to be churnable.
- After 30 minutes, churn the coffee cream in your ice cream maker according to its instructions. I give it 30 minutes in my relatively ancient Magimix ice cream maker.
- The ice cream could then be served straight away, but it’s better to decant it to a plastic container and give it some hours in the freezer to get the best consistency before serving.