DIRTY MASALA CHAI AFFOGATO

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This recipe title is a bit of a mouthful, but hear me out! I can’t remember the last time I posted a dessert or a sweet treat (other than in beverage form) here. In case you couldn’t tell from the higher ratio of savouries, I don’t play around with that side of food too often. When I bake or need to make a dessert, it’s usually because I have people coming over (and what even is a get-together without a sweet ending?). From there, I usually just go to a source that I trust, and then proceed to follow a recipe to the letter because I can’t handle the agony of dessert defeat. You’d think it would be the most fun part, but I was a ball of stress/rage when I was working on the dessert section of my cookbook. Also, telling my man that he couldn’t eat whatever sweet treat that was setting up in the refrigerator always felt kinda mean in the moment. Sorta silly, but true.

When I was trying to first establish some kind of consistency with my blog, I felt like I HAD to post vegan desserts to get more people seeing my work. I’d work and work on these sorts of things, but I knew that I was forcing it. Dessert for me most nights is a couple squares of dark chocolate or a tea latte, so why was I forcing myself to come up with this stuff? Just another lesson in listening to your intuition and letting that inner voice guide you.

Have you ever had affogato? It kind of knocks out dessert and coffee in one stylish and simple move (I think Italians may have a knack for this sort of thing in a general sense). It might be the easiest dessert outside of a store-bought option. If you’re baking and pastry stuff-averse like me, you might actually enjoy making this because it’s all assembly and there’s no baking required. You get a nice little serving of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over top. Then, those creamy pools of ice cream melt into the hot coffee… It gets a little soup-y. It’s hot and cold at the same time. You can add liqueur too! I started thinking about making a masala chai-flavoured ice cream to serve with the espresso, kind of referencing one of my favourite coffee house treats: a dirty chai latte.

So I set to work on the ice cream. I’ve been obsessed with nutpods dairy-free creamer lately. They sent me some samples a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. The base of it is coconut and almonds, so you get a whole bunch of richness, but without an overwhelming coconut flavour. Aside from using it in my coffee/tea and as an alternative to cream in savoury recipes (so diverse!), it makes an excellent base for ice cream. Also, it’s the only vegan creamer I’ve tried that isn’t sweetened and that also doesn’t take a super heavy pour to get my coffee the way I like it (ie sort of looking like you added some coffee to a cup of cream hehe).

Anyway, the nutpods makes this ice cream sooo creamy and luscious. I combined the creamer with some frozen bananas so that I could lighten up any additional sweetener, and it totally works! The banana flavour comes in surprisingly light and meshes really well with the spices, tea, maple syrup, vanilla, and coffee. I give a few options in this recipe for churning the ice cream since my ice cream maker seems to be on its way out (surprise!) and I had to get creative ;)

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VEGAN DIRTY MASALA CHAI AFFOGATO RECIPE
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 6
NOTES: If I was serving this for a dinner, I’d pre-scoop the ice cream and lay the scoops out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, I’d slide the baking sheet into the freezer. When dessert time comes, just portion out the pre-made scoops into your serving vessels, brew the coffee, and voila! Also, I note some options in the recipe if you’re working without an ice cream maker. Last thing: start freezing some bananas now if you plan to make this recipe in the next day or two. If you already have some sliced ones in your freezer stash, you’ll need roughly 240 grams-worth.

2 very ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1 1/3 cups unsweetened dairy-free creamer (1 full package of original unsweetened nutpods)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground cardamom
3 orange pekoe or other plain black tea bags
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup freshly brewed espresso, or other strong coffee that you love

First things first! Make sure your bananas are fully frozen and ready to go.

In a small saucepan, combine the creamer, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, cloves, and cardamom. Place the pot over medium heat. Once the spiced creamer is at a simmer, drop in the tea bags and stir. Keep the creamer and tea simmering for 3 full minutes. Take the creamer off the heat, and remove the tea bags. Transfer the spiced creamer to a new bowl, and place it in the freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes.

Retrieve the spiced creamer mixture from the freezer and pour it into a food processor. To the food processor, add the sliced frozen bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, and olive oil. Run the motor on high until you have a creamy and thick consistency.

Ice cream-making method 1: Transfer the masala chai ice cream base to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ice cream-making method 2: Pour the masala chai ice cream base into clean ice cube molds (preferably small ice cubes). Then, freeze the ice cream solid in the molds. Once frozen, let the ice cream “cubes sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then, place the ice cream “cubes” back into the food processor and run the motor on high until you’ve “churned” the ice cream. It should look like soft serve at this point. Serve ice cream immediately or transfer the ice cream to a dish for a hard freeze.

Ice cream-making method 3: Place the masala chai ice cream base into a dish and transfer to the freezer. Set a timer for 1 hour. When the timer beeps, retrieve the ice cream and manually “churn” it up with a spatula, breaking up the hardened chunks at the edges. Return the ice cream to the freezer. Repeat this process 3-4 times. This method almost guarantees you a few ice crystals, but the mixture is still pretty creamy overall. Perfect for “low tech” types that may not be super fussy on texture ;)

To serve: portion the masala chai ice cream out into 6 serving bowls or glasses. Divide the hot coffee amongst the bowls of ice cream, carefully pouring it over top. Serve immediately.

*This post was created in partnership with nutpods dairy-free creamer. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

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