I've talked about my closet love affair with dairy before. Take anything that's smooth and creamy and I'm in. Freeze it and add some chocolate and nuts, and i'll likely be stealing your portion also.
I used to consume a lot of dairy, especially when I decided to be fully vegetarian. Back then I thought I needed it for protein and calcium, and of course I was a big fan of the taste having been brought up in dairy-crazed New Zealand. After some research though, I realised that the dairy industry is not that great a place for cows to hang out. You see in order to produce milk, dairy cows need to be kept continually pregnant and give birth every year. However once their calves are born there is no further use for the vast majority of them. These ‘bobby calves’, which include all male calves born and around three quarters of female calves born, are separated from their mothers within as little as 12 hours after birth. A few of them are raised for a couple of months, then slaughtered to be sold as veal (baby calf meat). However the remainder are transported, completely bewildered, to be killed as unwanted 'waste products' of the dairy industry.
Because there is little money in bobby calves, they are normally transported in terrible overcrowded conditions without food, water or room to lie down. Understandably they arrive at the slaughterhouse fragile, weak and absolutely terrified without their mothers. There is often additional abuse by farm workers that takes place. Mother cows also grieve for their lost babies, and it is common on dairy farms to hear the sad howling of mothers calling for their lost babies for weeks. I've read about a number of instances where a mother cow has broken out of the paddock and run for hours trying to find her lost baby calf.
In the New Zealand dairy industry alone (a country of only 4 million people), over 1,700,000 bobby calves are killed every single year. In Australia more than 700,000 are killed each year. The global dairy industry is one of the least understood animal industries, and has long operated under a veil of secrecy. What they want us to see is rolling meadows of happy cows milling about. Understandably, we're never shown footage of what happens once they're inside closed walls. The industry knows that many consumers of milk would find the callous treatment of bobby calves completely unacceptable and rethink their consumption of dairy and financial support of the industry.
Another shocking practice in the dairy industry is the induction of healthy, pregnant cows, who are forced to abort their calves prematurely simply to fit in with the farmers' milking schedules. This is so the whole herd can be brought into line with each other and begin producing milk at the same time, rather than inconveniencing farmers until they have all given birth naturally. Many of these calves die during the abortion process, while some are born alive and killed not long after birth.
In the US it gets worse, where dairy cow mothers are confined in factory style concrete sheds, unable to roam pastures as they naturally would, and fed artificial hormones and low quality grains instead of their natural diet of grass. Their baby calves earmarked to be sold as veal are kept in tiny steel metal crates for the few short months of their lives, where they can't move their muscles, and are kept weak and anaemic (no iron) so as to achieve the apparent 'delicacy' that is a lighter coloured more tender piece of flesh.
It's a pretty nasty industry, all in the name of a slice of cheese, a tub of greek yoghurt, or a creamy ice cream. It's also generally the reason why most people who've chosen to be vegetarian for ethical reasons, end up veering towards being 'vegan'. If you'd like to learn more (no nasty videos I promise), SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) in NZ provides some great information here, as does Animals Australia here.
It was therefore with great excitement that I spotted my friend Insa Haidn making these gorgeous homemade Magnum Ice Creams one day. Magnums have long been my all time favourite icecream, and truth be told I've struggled to replace them with an equally delicious creamy frozen treat that's cruelty free too. So these tasty treats have been my saviour. Creamy, indulgent and delicious, yet healthy, dairy free and refined sugar free.
They also don't contain palm oil which I was horrified to learn was also an ingredient in my beloved Magnums. Palm oil plantations are one of the main causes of mass deforestation in subtropical Asia, as well as the cause of a number of endangered species such as Orangutans, Rhinos, Pygmy Elephants, Sun Bears and Snow Leopards reaching near extinction (many of these animals now have less than 50 of their kind left in the world - truly shocking stuff).
So here's to the bobby calves, their dear mums, the orangs, rhinos, elephants, sun bears and snow leopards. And here's to my wonderful friend Insa for sharing this delightful recipe with us, helping us save the world one cruelty free ice cream at a time.
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c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
*The chocolate can also be made with coconut oil. I have made it both ways: cacao butter gives a nicer texture and taste (and won’t melt as quickly), but coconut oil is also lovely.
To remove the ice creams run water over the mould. They should pull out easily (if not, repeat this step). Lay the popsicles onto a tray lined with baking paper and return to the freezer while you make the chocolate.
To make the chocolate: stir the cacao butter over low heat until melted. Add the cacao powder and maple syrup and stir until smooth.
Dip the popsicles in the chocolate. Place back on your paper lined tray and return to the freezer while you make the caramel.
To make the caramel: blend the dates, almond butter and a splash of water in your blender, food processor or Thermomix. You will need to stop and scrape the sides of your machine a few times, and add small amounts of water as you go, to get a smooth thick caramel consistency.
Spread the caramel on one side of each ice cream, being careful to smooth the edges and top as much as possible. Return to the freezer for another 1-2 hours until the caramel has firmed up to the touch and is no longer sticky.
Gently re-melt the chocolate over low heat if necessary and dip the popsicles in the chocolate one last time. Return to freezer for another 30 minutes or so. Allow to thaw for a few minutes before devouring!
Note this recipe recreates the classic "Magnum Ego" otherwise known as a "Magnum Double Caramel". You can however also use the recipe to recreate many of the others in the range eg:
The possibilities are endless. You could also add half a cup of berries to your ice cream base for a berry version. I'm contemplating trialling a White Magnum (one of my favourite flavours) soon, using the basic recipe but swapping the cacao powder for raw soaked and blended cashews!
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*If you want to find out more about my incredible new Thermomix do-it-all food processor/blender/grinder/mixer/cooker/kitchen-hand/husband/part time sous chef, I'm now a certified consultant (hooray!) so can provide you with all the information you need. If you're interested in more info or a free demo (including a healthy tasty meal cooked for you and some friends), contact me here. I absolutely love mine so know you'll love it too.
Insa Haidn is a Brisbane based librarian, crafter, cat mama and organic gardener who is studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) at Endeavour College of Natural Health in Australia. She has a passion for creating delicious vegan treats using only wholesome ingredients, and is a whizz at making homemade dairy free ice creams. You can catch her delicious treats on Instagram here.
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