Fortunately, most of our baked good recipes can be easily modified. Instead of cow’s milk, we substitute soy milk. Almond milk can also work some places, but soy is more similar to dairy in terms of fat and protein. For butter, we are using Earth Balance spread. It’s not cheap, but neither is the organic butter we buy. Fortunately, we’re going for dairy-free, not vegan, so we are free to use eggs.
To make sure Matthew would not be deprived for the trial period, we made up dairy-free versions of some of favorite baked goods, including a sweet biscuit (great topped with fresh fruit and ice cream), date-oatmeal cookies, and one of our go-to chocolate chip cookie recipes, along with some bread and English muffins.
Hold the Cheese
I’ve never really experimented with “vegan cheese,” and the opinions on taste seem to be mixed. The ingredient lists of many tend to read like a foreign language, which is a red flag, so cheese-like-substances are off the menu.
Avoiding Hidden Dairy
Dairy hides in many products in the form of casein and whey. It could also lurk in products with ingredients that include “flavoring” or “natural flavoring.” Since our normal diet contains minimal processed foods, lurking dairy isn’t a big issue, but we did check a few items in our pantry, including the breakfast cereal. For us, the main issue here is that it makes any meals we don’t prepare (i.e., restaurants or dinner at parents) tricky.
Finally, we get to the important part 😉 About a year ago, we bought a new-to-us Donvier ice cream maker, and other than occasional Ted Drewes (St. Louis’ iconic frozen custard) and gelato, we mostly make our own ice cream.
We modified the basic vanilla ice cream recipe in the Donvier booklet with great success.
Dairy-free Vanilla Ice Cream
7 oz. unsweetened soy milk
7 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 c. sugar
1 – 14 oz. can of coconut milk (use full fat, NOT low fat)
2 t. vanilla
Beat eggs with soy milk and almond milk in a saucepan. Add the sugar. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly, gradually adding the coconut milk as the mixture heats. Cook for about 10 minutes, until mixture reaches 170° F. It should start to thicken at this point. Remove from heat. Let cool, then add vanilla. Chill completely before pouring into ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers’ instructions.
This recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream (which is what our ice cream maker holds). You can easily double it and freeze it in two batches.
Note: For best texture/consistency, enjoy some immediately after freezing in the ice cream maker. If the ice cream has been in the freezer, let your serving sit at room temperature for a few minutes, until it just starts getting melty, then stir well and enjoy!
With so many more people developing allergies and sensitivities to dairy products, finding tasty and cheap alternatives to milk can be a challenge. One tasty alternative that can be used in cooking and everyday use is almond milk. But honestly, almond milk can get pricey. Instead try making your own almond milk for a quick and easy project that is fun to do with the kids.:
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