Almond milk ice cream could be the next indulgence. Almond milk ice cream, from Ben & Jerry’s, promises to please the lactose intolerant, the vegan, and the health conscious hipster in everyone. But it’s likely to convert a few of the dairy tolerant with exclusive almond milk flavors. The company swears that the four new non-dairy flavors will be as enjoyable as their fatty, milky originals.
Early attempts at making dairy-free ice cream haven’t always been successful. Early on they tasted like cardboard. Tofutti has improved the way it makes its own line of tofu ice cream over the years, but major ice cream players haven’t been as eager to get into non-dairy ice cream production. But Ben & Jerry’s announcement that in four to six weeks, milk-hating ice cream fiends can pick up a pint of almond milk ice cream has certainly set Tofutti’s hopes to capture a larger market back a bit.
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But it still depends on how it will actually taste. The people in Tofutti have been in their ice cream workshops for years, working to perfect a milk-free brand of ice cream since their inception. But Ben & Jerry’s has outrageous flavors. They’re not starting with plain vanilla or boring chocolate, they’re pushing some of their notoriously creative flavors out in almond milk form. Expect to find those craveable classics like Chunky Monkey and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, along with new designs just for the almond milk lineup, P.B. & Cookies and Coffee Caramel Fudge.
To invent this new kind of frozen dessert, technically not ice cream, it took the brains, effort, and taste buds of Ben & Jerry’s food scientist Kristen Schimoler. She told Yahoo! Food about the long process.
“We had to make it look like our ice cream, feel like our ice cream, and melt like our ice cream. The first 15 rounds was like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing what sticks. There was a lot of gross stuff at the beginning.”
But all that gross stuff at the beginning is likely forgotten now that the company has settled on what they believe is a winning formula. It took 60 different attempts to finally find non-dairy satisfaction.
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The almond milk flavors comes about as Ben & Jerry’s faces pressure from fans seeking alternative ice cream choices. As USA Today reports, an online petition had over 28,000 people calling for milk-free ice cream options. Ben & Jerry’s spent nearly three years testing all sorts of potential dairy replacements. They settled on almond milk, but before you go out and try to make almond milk ice cream, know that this isn’t the type of watery almond milk available in supermarkets. It’s more of a custom concoction that works well for crafting ice cream.
If the new almond milk efforts are indeed as delicious as their milky counterparts, they are only slightly more healthy and less fattening. The dairy version of Chocolate Fudge Brownie has 260 calories and 13 grams of fat in a serving, compared with 210 calories and 11 grams of fat for the almond milk edition. But the fact that it’s made with almond milk is still likely to give the perception of a less fattening experience.
Whether in people’s minds or in reality, Ben & Jerry’s may have just invented a new era of ice cream bliss. Pints could fly off the shelves. But there is one catch. The almond milk variety will be a bit more expensive than standard Ben & Jerry’s. And only one of those flavors, the P.B. & Cookies, will be available for scoops in Ben & Jerry’s shops.
Ben & Jerry’s plans to release more varieties of almond milk flavors. Hopefully it will be comparable to the countless list of ice cream flavors Ben & Jerry’s has released over the years. And hopefully it encourages Haagen-Dazs, Baskin-Robbins, and other ice cream heavyweights to do some almond milk ice cream magic of their own.
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