When I first learned of Lick It! I was so ready for it. I had made some forays into vegan ice cream making, most of them not particularly successful. The variety of vegan ice creams and sorbets available in the markets are few and I have yet to find vegan frozen yogurt commercially.
Lucky me, I got invited to a demonstration by the author, at a local library. Cathe and her husband brought in two ice cream makers and ingredients in a large cooler. She also brought along some ice cream she’d made already. Best of all, she brought along a host of little persons, her own offspring and some friends. If the kids don’t like it, what’s the point?
Cathe mixed together the ingredients, making a mistake once but correcting it casually, demonstrating that perfection is not needed here. Making the ice creams, sherbets, and sorbets requires the mixing of a few ingredients (usually in a blender), possibly refrigerating them for a few hours, and finally freezing them in an ice cream maker. A fancy ice cream maker is not necessary; the inexpensive type that gets cold in the freezer does the job well, and in fact these treats can be made without an ice cream maker at all, for those who want to expend a little more effort.
She made two types of ice cream and brought out the third, a lavender ice cream. Haven’t heard of that? Me either. It’s a creamy dessert with a delicate taste of lavender. This is one of the real bonuses to this book: a host of unusual flavors in addition to the standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. All of the ice creams are rich and creamy, just what you want, with the intensity of flavor that is hard to get in commercial products. Because you make them, these desserts have no strange “natural flavorings” or other mystery ingredients, either.
The range of flavors isn’t just in ice creams. Consider pomegranate-strawberry sorbet, or cantaloupe, which you can freeze inside the cantaloupe shell if you like (and slice up in delicious wedges). Or spiced apple sorbet, just the thing to be enjoying when the trick-or-treaters come to your door.
When the ice creams were ready Cathe sent out her army of short persons with samples for all of us, and there were a lot of us there. I wasn’t the only one looking to try more than one. The crowd lining up to buy the book got rather large so I decided I’d have to get one later (more on that later).
Most of the ice creams use a full-fat coconut milk as a base. But Olson also offers recipes using cashews and lower-fat ice creams featuring silken tofu, all using the same basic technique.
The sherbets use much the same ingredients as the ice creams, but are primarily fruit-based. I had difficulty distinguishing just what made these sherbets while other fruit creams were called ice creams.
sorbet as it comes out of the ice cream maker
Sorbet after seasoning for a few hours
Although the ice creams are luscious, for me the sorbets stand out. They rely on fresh fruits of all kinds, including some terrific combinations (the pomegranate-strawberry sorbet is sublime). They are easy to make and have a fresh taste that is not overpowered by sugar so the fruit really takes first place.
In addition to the recipes for ice creams, sherbets, frozen yogurts, and sorbets, the book offers instructions for pies, drumsticks, slushes, and other special desserts that include frozen concoctions. Because this cookbook focuses narrowly on frozen desserts it expands that territory, giving us more than you’ll find in most other ice cream recipe compilations.
The book is paperback, printed sustainably (see info on the Book Publishing website), and generously illustrated. Unfortunately, although the photographs are attractive they are stock photographs of ingredients and people and do not depict any of the frozen desserts specifically. I would have liked to see a picture of how you might expect sorbets to look straight out of the ice cream freezer, for example, before being “seasoned” for a few hours. Clearly the illustrations were not done in concert with the writing.
I would also like to have had a “troubleshooting” section. The desserts are easy to make but small things can make a difference. For example, one time I did not let the freezer bottom freeze completely and the dessert never thickened. Another time I used a dry soymilk for the soymilk portion and the result did not freeze correctly. Amateur mistakes, but I suspect many people will be impatient and say to themselves “How much can it matter?”. In a troubleshooting section advice on whether to try refreezing the same mixture could be given as well (I did that on the one that didn’t freeze the first time and it was perfect the second).
Rather like breadmaking, frozen dessert making can become addictive. It’s a good thing you can choose the ingredients to make sure your dishes are as healthy as you want them to be.
Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. I do not receive any monetary or other gains from this review nor have I made any promises about it.
And now for the best part:
Respond to this review in the comments below and after ten days we will choose one of the respondents randomly to receive this copy (or a reasonable facsimile – ie, new) of the cookbook! Please be sure to send your contact information to us by email after you’ve written your comments: send to admin (at) vegansoapbox (dot) com.