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Vegan Cinnamon Dolce Gelato

This vegan gelato is unlike anything I’ve ever made before. It has flavors of cinnamon and caramel, like a sweet cinnamon bun, with a rich soft-serve texture that melts in your mouth. But in contrast with virtually every other vegan ice cream recipe I’ve seen, there’s no coconut milk and no banana. It’s actually made from almond butter. Stay with me…

Back in my Cheesy Vegan eBook (which you all have, right?), there’s a recipe for ricotta ice cream, and I think that’s one of my favorite vegan ice creams of all time. The almond-based cheese makes the ice cream so creamy, with a slight cheesy/dairy flavor from the nutritional yeast, it’s so good!

That gave me the idea of making an ice cream with almond butter and almond milk, blended until smooth, with maple syrup and dates for sweetener, with a pinch of nutritional yeast to kick up the dairy-like flavors (trust me), and some cinnamon to give this gelato a beautiful, warm sweet cinnamon flavor. OMG it’s delicious. So delicious.

Best of all, it’s really easy to make ā€“ you don’t even need an ice cream maker. Just blend all the ingredients together, pour into a loaf pan or something, and freeze. The almond butter doesn’t take to freezing easily, which is a good thing ā€“ the end product never becomes overly icy or hard, it just freezes into the perfect rich consistency you’d expect from gelato.

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 5 large dates (pitted)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or more)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (see note)

Step One

In a blender, simply combine all the ingredients and blend until totally smooth. A high-powered blender is recommended, just to be sure there are no chunks of almond butter or dates in the final mixture. You can drizzle in a little more syrup too, if you’d like it to be sweeter.

Note: You can also add a pinch of salt if your almond butter is unsalted, but it’s probably not necessary if using salted almond butter.

Idea: I’ve never tried it, but the Cinnamon Dolce latte is a Starbucks thing, which got me thinking how great this would be with coffee as well. Throw in a shot of espresso or a packet of instant coffee to make some cinnamon dolce latte gelato (which is quite a mouthful to say, but would be mighty delicious).

Step Two

Pour into some kind of container, a metal loaf pan works well, but a tupperware container would also work. Cover and freeze. This is the tricky part ā€“ waiting. It took mine over 12 hours to fully freeze, which was surprising, but as I mentioned, it ends up with the perfect texture right out of the freezer.

Use an ice cream scooper to spoon into dishes, top with a sprinkling of cinnamon, and serve immediately.

26 Comments

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  1. Hi,
    Can i use wow butter instead? Its a soy butter that tastes exactly like peanut butter. Almond butter tastes bitter to me.
    Thanks

  2. Looking forward to trying this recipe Andrew! It combines 3 of my most favourite dessert ingredients – cinnamon, dates and maple syrup! Thanks for posting

  3. Hi Andrew,

    I am having trouble waiting to try this gelato. It is a chilly winters day here, but I still want to make it. Sounds like it might taste a bit like a frozen cheesecake with the nutritional yeast in it? And I am wondering if it could make a good chocolate gelato?

    Thanks heaps for this one Andrew.

    • Ah, you must be on the other end of the world, it’s about as hot as it can get here (hence, I made ice cream!). Yes, it does have a very slight cheesecake kind of flavor. It might be really good with chocolate. I actually first tried this with matcha and it was great, but I feel like the almond butter base does better with certain flavors, cinnamon definitely works and chocolate might be great too.

  4. This looks brilliant! I’m so glad to have a frozen dessert recipe without a coconut or banana base. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Nope. This was bad. I followed the directions to the letter. While the flavors weren’t…horrible, the texture was icy and hard and nothing like a smooth gelato. Even if I thawed it in the microwave until it was “scoopable”, the mixture had separated in layers and it was full of ice, not smooth at all.

    It is possible that my blender was to blame, or perhaps you meant for the recipe to call specifically for Medjool dates? I used the regular pitted dates I can get at the grocery store.

    • Bummer. Well, if it separated, that’s the problem. If fat and water separate in ice cream, the water will obviously just freeze solid (to say nothing about how that would taste).

      I’m not sure why that would happen, unless like you said, it was the blender. If the mixture isn’t totally smooth, bits might just fall to the bottom and leave the liquid on top. I used a Vitamix and it didn’t separate at all.

  6. Mine froze like a solid brick. A tasty brick, but a brick nonetheless. I followed the directions to a “T” and it was thoroughly blended.

  7. I agree with Liat – Wow! So good. I followed the recipe with a couple of exceptions…I added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon instead of 1 teaspoon. I added also 1 tablespoon of Mt. Hagen Freeze-dried coffee crystals.

    Regarding method…since I have a regular blender I took extra care to make sure everything got well blended. I started with dates and some of the almond milk and made sure the dates were thoroughly blended with no little chunks. I then added the almond butter and just a little more milk to make sure the almond butter was “emulsified” into the milk. Then added milk gradually in a stream and got that thoroughly and smoothly blended before adding the rest of the ingredients.

    Also I used popsicle molds instead of a container. This was great because it froze in less time and the creaminess of the mixture worked well.

    • Thank you, Deb! I’m so glad it worked well for you and I appreciate you sharing your steps.I think it’s really key to make sure everything is fully blended and the almond butter is emulsified, definitely. I love the idea of adding coffee crystals!

  8. Absolutely sensational! I’m addicted! Easy to make and turned out perfect. Best gelato ever, I’m off to make some more. Thanks Andrew!

    • The first time I made this, I tried it in an ice cream maker and it didn’t freeze at all. Give it a shot if you’d like, but you might also have to finish it in the freezer as described here.

  9. Is the almond milk you use in this recipe sweetened or unsweetened? I noticed you said you added the dates and maple syrup for sweetener, so I assume you are using unsweetened, but thought Iā€™d ask just to make sure before trying. Thanks in advance!

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