VEGAN MALAWI COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, P)

VEGAN MALAWI COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, P)

To me a food blog is not 'just' a place to gather pretty and delicious content. Sure it helps and it's important but I think a food blog can be sooo much more than that. For example it can be a place from which we send out positive energy into the world, a place from which we initiates change, spark an exciting idea, celebrate creativity or ignite a sense of compassion. Big stuff, right?

So with that in mind, I thought the month of December during which we aim to spread love and joy, would be the perfect time to host a virtual blog party entitiled #loveMALAWIcoffee. I am well aware that a virtual blog party might sound like a random event completely unrelated to the message normally associated with December. But rest assured there is a connection... 

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You see, a few months ago I watched this program all about how household incomes vary greatly around the globe. In particular I was left rather unsettled by the shocking poverty affecting families in Malawi as well as eager to help in some way shape or form. My husband is a coffee trader and as we watched the program together he mentioned that the company he works for is very committed to selling coffee from Malawi but that we the consumers tend not to buy Malawian coffee despite the fact it's rather delicious.

So why don't we the consumer buy it?

Essentially, it's because we don't really know much about it. It's not a famous coffee like Kenyan coffee and Malawian coffee producers don't have the marketing budget like those in Colombia or Brazil. Therefore, as there's less demand for the coffee, Malawian coffee producers don't have it easy finding a market place for their gorgeous product :(.

So then I thought: What if I used this little space on the internet to create a platform in which coffee from Malawi could take centre stage in a lovely and delicious recipe? And what if I asked other talented and creative bloggers across the world to do the same in order to give Malawi coffee the exposure it deserves? And so - TADA - the idea for the virtual blog party #loveMALAWIcoffee was born.

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Now the question of course is, how can YOU help Malawi Coffee Producers?

It would be SUPER amazing if you considered buying coffee from Malawi the next time you decide you need some caffeine in your life ;). Or perhaps give some fairtrade Malawi coffee to someone as a gorgeous present this Christmas? To encourage you to do just that, we have teamed up with Coffee Direct who are very generously offering 20% off all orders placed on their Malawian Coffee between December 7th - 31st 2015 inclusively. Please note this offer is only available to those of you living within the EU! Just enter the code #loveMALAWIcoffee when you order your coffee here to claim your discount (btw this is #notsponsored ;))

If you are outside the EU you can try this spectacular coffee and support Malawi Coffee Producers in the process by purchasing the coffee herehere or here (for those of you based in the US) and here or here (for those of you living elsewhere in the world).

Now that all the formalities are out of the way I am SO excited to finally share the fun, creative, beautiful and delicious list of Malawi coffee recipes put together by some insanely talented and generous bloggers! Each and every one of them have created a STUNNING recipe - all vegetarian, some vegan and/or gluten-free. My fellow bloggers have been so positive and enthusiastic about supporting Malawi coffee producers together with me and I am beyond delighted that they agreed to be a part of this initiative. Therefore, I so hope you can take a minute or two to check out all the gorgeous recipes they created using coffee from Malawi and be inspired: 

1. Aimee at Twigg Studios created a stunning Winter Spiced Coffee Cake
2. Maria made some delicious Christmas Coffee and Vanilla Eggnogg
3. Jenny used the coffee for her fabulous sounding Tofu Skewers with Spicy Chocolate Coffee Sauce
4. Carole from Mademoiselle Poirot made fantastic Coffee and Hazelnut Buns with Orange Icing 
5. And Dorota from Plants on the Plate teamed her Malawi coffee with savoury flavours in this Cream of Celeriac with Coffee Drizzle.
6. Valeria over at Life Love Food made Italian inspired Zabaione al Caffé.
7. Sophie at The Green Life made these dreamy sounding Coffee Blondies with Homemade Nutella.
8. Joscelyn from Wife Mama Foodie created these amazing Salted Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes
9. Gena from The Full Helping made yummy Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownies 
10. Ksenia from At the Immigrant's Table made a special Jewish doughnut, Sufganyot with Cardamom Coffee Cream
11. And Bettina created this quick and easy Vegan Coffee Crunch Chocolate Mousse

Last but not least you can find my recipe for Vegan Malawi Coffee Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirl below.

Thank you so much everyone! And here's to coffee from Malawi :)

P.S. Remember to pin our recipes onto your pinterest board if you like them and to use the hastag #loveMALAWIcoffee on social medial should you recreate any of the recipes at home. It would make our day :)

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VEGAN MALAWI COFFEE ICE CREAM WITH SALTED CARAMEL SWIRL (V+, ChF, GrF, GF, P)

Unless someone told you this ice cream were vegan, you wouldn't know! Yup, it's that creamy and delicious. Now, I wish I could claim it was my genius idea to use sweet potato (yes, I know totally random, right) as a base for this ice cream, but it wasn't. It was Izy's from Top With Cinnamon. :)

IMPORTANT: Please read the tips at the end of the recipe for substitutions and suggestions (including thoughts on making this ice cream without an ice cream maker) before you get stuck in. Also note that you may need to prepare your ice cream maker the night before you make this ice cream!

For the ice cream...
Pre-Preparation: Soak the cashews and dates overnight. Prepare your ice cream machine the night before if required.
Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: about 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 4 hours
Serves: 8 – 12 people

Ingredients for the ice cream:

1 cup (150g) cashews
12 medjool dates, pitted
2 cup (500 ml) strong Malawi coffee (as a beverage, not the coffee grains)
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tsps of salt
2 tbsp vanilla extract

For the raw vegan salted caramel swirl...
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients for the raw vegan salted caramel swirl:

1 cup of medjool dates
¼ cup coconut oil
1-2 tsp salt
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs of water 

Ingredients for the decoration:
a handful of whole Malawi coffee beans (optional)
a drizzle of diluted raw vegan salted caramel (optional see below)
a handful of dried cranberries (optional)
a handful of black sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:
The night before making this recipe, soak the cashew nuts and dates you need to make the ice cream (not the salted caramel!) in water and set aside (in the fridge). Also check your ice cream machine; the one I used needed to be prepared the evening before.

The next day, cut the sweet potatoes into 4 pieces each and boil until soft. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel and mash the sweet potatoes so that they are ready to be used. T
Whilst the sweet potato is being cooked, prepare the Malawi coffee, making sure the coffee is strong and full of flavour. Once made, set aside to cool.
Drain the cashew nuts and dates. Pit the dates if you didn't already and place the cashew nuts, dates and half of the coffee in a high speed blender until smooth.
Then add the rest of the coffee, salt, peeled and cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (you should have about 2 cups) and vanilla extract and blend until smooth. 
Place the mixture in your ice cream maker and churn until it takes on the consistency of gelato.

Whilst the ice cream is churning away, start working on your salted caramel swirl by first melting the coconut oil over a very low, gentle heat and then putting it, together with the (pitted) dates, salt, maple syrup, vanilla extract and water in a high speed blender until smooth, with a caramel like consistency. If need be, add more water. 
Once done, set aside.

When the ice cream is ready, transfer about 1/4 into a loaf pan (I lined mine with non-stick baking paper). Use some of the salted caramel to cover this layer, then put some more ice cream on top, then another line of salted caramel etc. so that the salted caramel is like a swirl within the ice cream. NOTE: keep some of the salted caramel aside, to use as a topping later!

Place the ice cream in the freezer for 4 hours and remove 10 minutes or so before serving.

To serve, decorate with dried cranberries, black sesame seeds and whole Malawi coffee beans. I also diluted the left over salted caramel with a fair amount of water to create a salted caramel drizzle. YUM!

Tip 1: This recipe is a tiny bit fiddly but NOT difficult. Because it takes a bit of time to put together I suggest you make the quantity noted above, making it worth your while. But you can of course half the recipe if you prefer.
Tip 2: Do you need a high speed blender and an ice cream machine for this recipe? I haven't tried using a normal blender, but I think it should be fine. I also wondered whether you could mix this in a high speed blender and transfer to the loaf pan straight away, skipping the churning process. I think it might be possible, though I've not tried it. Yet.
Tip 3: The toppings are optional, but SO worth it. The cofee beans and black sesame seeds give it some crunch and the dried cranberries bring out the fruitiness of the Malawi coffee. 
Tip 4: Sadly the salted caramel and the ice cream itself were the same colour so there wasn't that visual contrast I had hoped for. This is why I thought about diluting the salted caramel, to create a lighter coloured caramel drizzle to pour on top. It's of course not necessary, but does add visual interest :)

Looking for more sweet treats? Then click here.

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