Nut Butter Ice Cream Bases: Easy and Delicious!

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Mocha hazelnut butter ice cream with dark chocolate chips

Mocha hazelnut butter ice cream with dark chocolate chips. Twigs from hazelnut bush in background.

These super simple nut butter ice cream recipes give excellent results every time. You choose the nut butter: peanut, cashew, almond, hazelnut, pistachio, sunflower butter, etc. One recipe is for plain nut butter ice cream, and the other for chocolate or mocha nut butter ice cream. The texture is ultra smooth, and stays that way, even after days of freezer storage. And the best part is there is no cooking.

Usually you have to cook an ice cream base to create chemical changes that add body to the ice cream, and prevent the formation of gritty crystals. But I’ve found that cooking is not necessary with nut butter ice cream. Maybe it’s because nut butters have a lot of body and enough fat to give the ice cream a sumptuous and stable texture. I don’t know for sure, but I do know these recipes work.

You will need an ice cream maker for these recipes. I swear by my 1.5 quart Cuisinart, which I have been using for years: Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, White

Hints on using nut butters

  • Use sweetened or unsweetened nut butter. The amount of sugar in sweetened nut butters is too small to make a noticeable difference in the ice cream.
  • Use unsalted or salted nut butter. If it is salted, omit the pinch of salt in the base.
  • Use either processed or fresh nut butter, but if it is fresh, be sure to stir it well before measuring, and, if it is firm, warm it a bit to soften it.
  • It’s much easier to accurately measure nut butter by weight rather than volume.
  • Don’t over do it with the nut butter. For flavor, a little bit goes a long way. My family and I consistently prefer less than 1/3 cup of nut butter per quart of ice cream.

If you make your own nut butter (optional)

Roast or toast the nuts first, and grind them when still very warm, as this hastens the process substantially. Be sure to grind past the grainy stage and past the point where it sticks together in a ball. You must grind all the way to the point where it breaks up into a thick butter, because you want it really smooth. Grainy nut butter makes grainy ice cream.

Note on use of raw egg

Yes, both of these recipes contain raw eggs. Note that consumption of raw egg might increase your risk of foodborne illness, as stated by the FDA, so use at your own risk. I am not personally suggesting that you eat raw eggs; I encourage you to read up on it and make your own informed decision.

Nut butter ice cream base

Pistachio ice cream, with homemade pistachio butter.

Pistachio ice cream, with homemade pistachio butter.

Makes about 1 quart

I have made this with sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, pistachio butter, and cashew butter, with excellent results. Add 3/4 cups soft chocolate chips, coarsely chopped nuts, or crumbled cookies, if desired. Find simple recipe for soft chocolate chips (can use milk, dark, or semisweet chocolate) on this page.

  • 1/4 cup (about 65 grams or 2.3 ounces) nut butter at room temperature or slightly warmer (warm it to soften, if it was refrigerated)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt (omit of nut butter is salted)
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 tbsp tapioca or corn syrup (not HFCS)
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp almond extract for pistachio or almond butter ice cream)
  1. Sunflower seed butter ice cream with milk chocolate chips

    Sunflower seed butter ice cream with milk chocolate chips

    Add nut butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and tapioca syrup to a large bowl, and whisk until smooth. If you cannot get it smooth, you can beat briefly with an electric mixer, but do not beat so much that the eggs fluff up.

  2. Add the milk gradually, whisking until blended after each addition.
  3. Add the cream and vanilla (or other) extract, and whisk until blended. Scrape bottom with spatula as necessary to blend thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  5. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  6. Transfer to 1 quart freezer storage container, stirring in any desired additions, as you go.
  7. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.

Chocolate (or mocha) nut butter ice cream base

Makes about 1 quart

To make mocha nut butter ice cream, whisk 1/2 – 1 tsp of espresso powder in with the cocoa/sugar mixture.

  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp natural , or 2 tbsp Dutch process, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt (omit if nut butter is salted)
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup (about 65 grams or 2.3 ounces) nut butter at room temperature or slightly warmer (warm it to soften, if it was refrigerated)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca or corn syrup (not HFCS)
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 and 3/4 cups heavy cream
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt until well blended and free of lumps.
  2. Add cocoa mixture, eggs, nut butter, tapioca syrup to a large bowl, and whisk until smooth. If you cannot get it smooth, you can beat briefly with an electric mixer, but do not beat so much that the eggs fluff up.
  3. Gradually add the milk, whisking to blend well after each addition.
  4. Add the cream and whisk to blend well. Scrape bottom with spatula as necessary to blend thoroughly.
  5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  6. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Transfer to 1 quart freezer storage container, stirring in any desired additions, as you go.
  8. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.

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Comments

Nut Butter Ice Cream Bases: Easy and Delicious! — 20 Comments

  1. Pingback: Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop | Cookes Frontier

  2. Thanks for the recipe, I just pinned this. I am stopping by from the Weekend Recipe Link at Gator Mommy. Hope you will stop by my blog and say hello. Have a nice Memorial Day weekend.

  3. Pingback: Sunflower Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! | CompostableLifeBlog

  4. I am glad to have found this recipe, thanks for posting such an informative piece! You gave a caveat about raw eggs; I am wondering, why are eggs necessary in he he first place? To achieve the right consistency?
    Thanks,
    Derek the Zen Chef

    • Hi Derek,
      Eggs are not absolutely necessary, but I like to use them because they improve the texture. Part of the reason I use them is that with our own flock of chickens, we have a lot of eggs to use up! When I use them raw, I am usually using eggs that are no more than a few days old, and I wash the eggs before using them, because some of the egg contents usually touch the shell when you break them. But before we kept chickens, I did use raw eggs from the grocery store from time to time. From what I have read, I think the risk is extremely low. I’m a raw cookie dough eating, runny egg loving kind of person, anyway!
      Janet

  5. Pingback: Sunflower Chocolate Chip Ice Cream! – The Dor Whey

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