I leave for Hawaii in exactly 6 days! Eeee! I was lost in thought about the trip the other day and thinking about the flight. You know, stuff like the logistics of packing my curling iron at 3 in the morning while it's still hot, am I really gonna bother with mascara that early?, googling the closest Starbucks in SeaTac to our terminal. Real important stuff. But I realized this will be the longest flight I've ever been on. I know, right?! It's only like 5ish (maybe 6?) hours from Seattle to Hawaii. It'll also be the first time I'll be flying over the ocean. Whoa. I really need to get on that whole "world traveler thing". Where should I go next? I vote Italy.
I've lined up a ton of podcasts to listen to and two books. I have this vision of myself all cozy by the window, sipping on coffee and editing photos on my MacBook but let's be real... Our flight leaves real early so in all reality I'll probably be sleeping for most of it or fighting my sister for the arm rest. We'll see.
Ok, so this soft serve. I thought for sure this was one of those recipes that was more conceptual than realistic when it came to execution. But I was pleasantly surprised! This is my take on Pressed Juicery's Freeze, where they turn their various juices and almond milks into a soft-serve style treat! It's very easy and the only equipment you really need is a blender and a nut milk bag to strain the milk. I like this one a lot. I chose cashews to use as the base because I like their creamy consistency but any nut you like would be great or even coconut meat. You may be thinking "can't I just use store-bought almond milk or something?". You could, but since this is such a minimal recipe, I highly encourage you to make your own. It's not as fussy as it seems and it's really the star of the recipe so you want it to taste good. Plus, your homemade milk with have more body and flavor that store-bought. Save your store bought for cereal or smoothies.
Other than making the milk, it doesn't require much more work than making some of it into ice cubes and blending it all up in a blender until you get a slushy, soft consistency. And piping it into little swirls is completely optional, I was just going for optimal cuteness here. Though, I will say they sort of look like everyone's favorite emoji, too 💩 but I don't mind. I tried using a wide star tip first but the consistency just didn't quite work so I went with a plain round tip and I kinda like how they turned out. But feel free to do plain old scoops, if you'd rather.
And let's not forget the sauce. THIS. SAUCE. Even if you don't make the soft serve, please please make this hot fudge sauce. It is magic. It tastes so decadent and luxurious but it comes together in like 5 minutes on the stove and all the ingredients are completely clean and wholesome. Yass. Use it to dip strawberries in, drizzle over waffles, or even harden it in the fridge and make it into truffles. You'll never buy that jarred hot fudge sauce crap again.
Cashew Milk Soft Serve + Coconut Oil Hot Fudge Sauce
makes about 4 cups
for the soft serve
2 c raw cashews, unsalted
4 c filtered water, plus more for soaking
pinch sea salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
cacao nibs, to serve (optional)
for the hot fudge
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c almond butter*
2 T raw cacao powder (cocoa powder works, too)
1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
make the cashew milk
Add the cashews to a large bowl, cover with water completely to soak overnight on the counter, or at least 8 hours. The cashews will expand as they soak so use a bowl large enough to accommodate this.
Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a blender along with the dates and 4 cups of water. Blend on high for about 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Pour milk back into blender and add salt and vanilla and blend for another 30 seconds or so until fully combined. Reserve 1 cup of the milk and set aside in the fridge.
Pour the remaining milk into two ice cube trays (you should have about 3 cups worth of milk for this). I was able to fill 2 16-ice cube trays perfectly. No sweat if you don't, this isn't an exact science. :)
make the soft serve
If you're making this for a crowd, add all the ice cubes to a blender along with about 3/4 c of the reserved milk to start. Blend until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. Add more milk as needed. If you want to just make a single serving, just blend as many ice cubes as you'd like and start with just a splash of reserved milk, adding more as needed until you reach the desired consistency. I wouldn't recommend making more than you're planning on consuming in one sitting as any leftovers you have will freeze into a large block and it'll lose that soft consistency unless you feel like blending again.
make the hot fudge
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil, almond butter, and maple syrup together until just starting to bubble. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Whisk in the salt, vanilla extract, and cacao powder. Drizzle over soft serve and top with a sprinkle of cacao nibs. The longer the sauce sits and cools, the thicker it becomes so heat up if necessary. Store any leftovers in the fridge. I'm guessing you probably won't, though.
other topping ideas:
chopped salted almonds
fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
*A note on almond butter: I used Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter which has cocoa butter in it which makes the sauce even fudgier but any ole almond butter will do.