So, you have made your own healthy ice cream and want to spruce it up a bit. There are many ideas on the market – take for example the addition of sugar-bomb snickers bites, artificial fruit flavors, sickening neon colors, etc. However, when you took the trouble of making your own ice cream, you certainly want to avoid that kind of additions. Here are 30 ideas for healthy ways to take your homemade ice cream to the next level. If you don't already have a favorite vegan ice cream recipe, try this nut-free vegan ice cream or just use softened, store-bought vegan ice cream as the base.
Add one of the following ingredients to your homemade ice cream after it has been churned or to a softened store-bough ice cream:
Cereal makes a delicious, crunchy addition to ice cream. Anything from fiber-packed granola to airy cheerios to crispy cornflakes will do. Use about 1/2 c. cereal per 1 c. ice cream.
2. Cookie Crumbs
Cookie dough is a popular flavoring for ice cream, but baked cookie crumbs is also delicious. Add 1/2 c. cookie crumbs per 1 c. ice cream for a crunchy treat.
3. Whole or Chopped Nuts
Not a nutty choice, but deliciously nutty, nuts are a healthy and natural choice for a little crunch. Add 1/4 c. nuts, whole or chopped, per 1 c. of ice cream.
4. Nut Butter
Nut butter adds a rich flavor contrast, especially together with fruit sauce. Swirl it in or mix it smooth as you prefer.
5. Whole or Chopped Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is just as delicious and much healthier than MM's or jelly beans. Add 1/4 c. dried berries or diced dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, pineapple, figs, dates, etc., to 1 c. ice cream.
6. Whole Berries or Diced Fruit
Ah, we all know this. Mix summer berries with ice cream and you have a refreshing summer treat. Or stir in tropical fruit and you are transported to a tropical beach paradise. Use 1/2 c. fruit per 1 c. ice cream.
7. Fruit Sauce or Preserves
Fruit sauce swirled in ice cream is a feast to the eyes and a joy to the taste. And unsweetened puree of summer berries makes a refreshingly tart contrast to the sweet ice cream.
8. Lemon Juice
Give your ice cream a refreshing kick with a dose of freshly squeezed lemon juice – your ice-cream lemonade!
This is an all-time favorite. You may use vanilla sugar, alcohol-free vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste to flavor your ice cream base. Use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract or 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar per 1 c. ice cream base.
10. Natural Extracts and Seasonings
Add a few drops of natural extracts for an easy flavor twist – try mint, almond, or something totally different. Spices, such as cinnamon, also go a long way in kicking up your ice cream.
11. Carob or Cocoa Powder
Another everlasting favorite – chocolate ice cream! Add 1 Tbsp. carob powder and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. coffee substitute, or 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder per 1 c. ice cream base.
12. Carob Chips, Cacao Nibs, or Vegan Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chunks in ice cream is always a nice surprise. Use 1/4 c. per 1 c. ice cream. A tablespoon orange or lemon zest, or a fraction of a drop of mint extract makes a nice addition with the chips.
13. Health Candy
No, you do not need to reach for those snickers bars – there are plenty of options for healthy candy you can add to your ice cream. How about this Strawberry Fudge from Chocolate Covered Katie, or these easy Date Balls from Kidspot Kitchen, or something totally else!
14. Vegan Yoghurt
Sir in some vegan yoghurt for a bit of extra tang.
15. Coconut Cream
Mix in some coconut cream for creamy-white, coconut-flavored ice cream. And add a sprinkle of toasted coconut on each serving to take it to the coconut edge.
Ice Cream Toppings
Top your ice cream servings with one of the following toppings:
Cereal makes a great crunchy addition to ice cream. Try granola or crushed cornflakes next time you want a quick topping!
Whole crackers are nice for eating on the side, and crushed crackers are perfect for sprinkling on top. Cookies are even better!
You can go nuts about this. Try chopped almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, or any other nut you like. You can even use whole nuts for beautiful presentation.
19. Desiccated or Shredded Coconut
Sprinkled directly from the bag or quickly toasted in a skillet, coconut can bring your ice cream (and you) to Fiji island. Make sure to choose unsweetened coconut to avoid extra sugar.
20. Dried Fruit
Sprinkle your ice cream with chopped-up dried fruit for some extra sweet chewiness!
21. Fresh or Canned Fruit
Ah, this is where it gets easy! Chop up you fruit bowl or dig out that can of fruit and pour it on your ice cream (or put the ice cream on the fruit). It cannot get simpler or fruitier!
22. Fruit Sauce or Preserves
This is the better alternative to jams and jellies. Puree some fresh or frozen berries in a blender, sweetening the sauce if needed, or get a low-sugar, all-natural preserves to top your ice cream for a fruity addition.
23. Citrus Peel
You do not need to use sugar-laden candied citrus peel – fresh works perfectly and looks beautiful too! Just sprinkle on some newly grated orange or lemon peel to give your ice cream some zing!
24. Fresh Edible Flowers
Flowers is a beautiful decoration for ice cream, and they need not be candied! Just be sure to select edible flowers, and you will have a dessert fit for a princess.
25. Honey or Maple Syrup
This is a healthy alternative to caramel sauce. When the honey hits the frozen ice cream, it instantly transforms into a thick, gooey sauce. If your are not comfortable using honey, just substitute maple syrup or another liquid sweetener.
26. Homemade Chocolate Sauce
You do not need to pick up that Hershey sauce – try a healthy homemade version instead! Or try something totally different but totally delicious -- homemade healthy chocolate spread.
27. Carob Chips, Cacao Nibs, or Vegan Chocolate Chips
This is about the easiest topping you get. Whole Foods carries some pretty decent carob chips that are unsweetened. If you choose chocolate chips, make sure they are vegan.
28. Health Candy
Homemade candy looks beautiful when perched on top of a mound of ice cream, and it makes the ice cream look beautiful too! You can easily make your own chocolate clusters by melting carob or chocolate chips, and stirring in nuts, dried fruit, or cereal as you please. Drop the mixture onto parchment paper and let it harden. Unsweetened carob chips melt better than the sweetened ones, but the addition of a little oil helps to thin the chocolate if needed.
29. Vegan Whipped Cream
Banana split is a perfect example of the beauty of whipped cream on ice cream. Try a healthy, vegan alternative like this Coconut Cream.
30. Sparkling Beverages
Surprised? Think of root-beer floats. If you wish to avoid sugary drinks, you can easily make your own fruit soda by mixing fruit-juice concentrate with carbonated water (unsweetened).
Here is a bonus for you because you read to the end of this post – 7 ways to naturally color ice cream!
Add the following when making your ice-cream base to color it. Many of these colorings must be blended in a blender together with the base.
Blue, purple, or black berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, add a nice bluish-purple color to ice cream when pureed. Cooked purple sweet potato can also be used in moderate amounts, as it is relatively mild in flavor.
Carob or cocoa powder yields a full brown color while adding a nice chocolate flavor.
Fresh greens add a fresh, verdant color when pureed with some of the ice-cream base and then mixed with the remaining base. Spinach juice can be used instead of some of the liquid in the ice-cream base for the same effect. A pinch of dried spirulina will add a mint-green color instead of a verdant color.
The red color is easy, as there are many red berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, which can be pureed and added to the ice cream. Red beet juice can be used instead of some of the liquid in the ice cream for a purplish-red color.
A pinch of turmeric can add a light golden tinge to the ice cream, but it has a strong flavor and should not be used in large amounts; it cannot color the ice cream yellow. Saffron is a seasoning that also adds a rich yellow color together with a spicy saffron flavor. Cooked carrots, pumpkin, or orange sweet potato can be pureed and added for an orange color, as they have a mild, sweet flavor.
White might be an odd color to mention, but sometimes an off-white ice-cream base needs a little boost. Coconut cream is a fantastic color lightener, as it is snow-white, and the fat lightens many muddy colors.
I SEE YOU! Do not try to eat up all that ice cream sundae BY YOURSELF! The least you can do is to SHARE this list with your friends, so they have a chance to join you! And if you feel like it, tell me in the comments how you make your favorite ice cream.