Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
- 1-1/2 cups boiling hot water or other liquid
- 1-1/2 cups raw (unsalted, unroasted) cashews
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon sweetener (agave syrup is best, but maple syrup or sugar work as well)
- pinch of salt
- Slice vanilla bean open lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape the seeds from the pod. Put the seeds and the pod into a 1-quart or larger container and add hot water, steep for at least 15 minutes. Add cashews and soak overnight, if you have time, or for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove vanilla pod (not seeds), and add vanilla-cashew mixture to a blender with remaining ingredient (sweetener and salt) and blend at high speed until completely smooth when the blended mixture is rubbed between two fingers.
- Pour mixture back into the quart container and refrigerate overnight or until cool.
- Pour into an ice cream maker and proceed according to basic instructions for whatever model you have.
- To make a vanilla base for any other type of ice cream or to make this without vanilla bean, you can save time by just skipping step #1 and putting all of the ingredients (extract, cashews, water, salt and sweetener) in a blender, blending the mixture until completely smooth, cooling and then freezing according to the ice cream machine’s instructions.
- Add chunks or swirls of your favorite add-ins during the last few seconds in the ice cream machine.
- Serve alone, with pie, crumble or another dessert.
- Store in the freezer; cover surface with plastic wrap. Eat within 1-2 weeks to avoid the formation of ice crystals.