Ice cream for ultramarathons

Question: Why would you want to spend an hour making ice cream when you can buy it at the store?

Answer: First, you don't need an hour. You only need fifteen minutes. Second, the store-bought stuff is going to make you fat and slow. This ice cream will help make you fit and fast.

I have had this recipe in the lab for quite some time, and let me tell you, it has been hard work. Ice cream scoop after ice cream scoop, oh the torture. It is still not perfect, but it is pretty awesome and waiting for your tips on how to make it even more awesome.

The credit for the basic idea of this recipe - like many of those that I like to share - goes again to Brendan Brazier of Thrive fame. I used his idea for a base (cashews, water, protein powder) to try to recreate a supercharged version of my favorite ice cream - Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. I have decided to name this Cherry Potter, both as a gesture toward the original and as a way to hook into our kids night-time reading. Unlike the original, this one can be totally vegan.

Speaking of kids, let me say that both of my solid-food eating kids are crazy for it. And considering that it is basically a protein shake, I do not feel bad giving it to them a couple of times a week. I have made three batches in the last ten days.

Cherry Potter Ultra Ice Cream

Ingredients: 1 cup cashews, 1 cup water, 1 cup cherries (pitted and chopped), 1 banana, 1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder (whatever you like), 1/2 bar (about 50 grams) of dark chocolate (70% cocoa is what I used, but feel free to use carob or something similar if you want this to be vegan), 2 tablespoons sweetener (optional; I used agave, but use whatever you like, or use nothing if your protein powder is already sweet).

Directions - In a blender, blend cashews, water, protein powder, sweetener and banana until very smooth. Pour mixture into air-tight container and place in freezer. One the mixture begins to set, add the chocolate and cherries and stir. Freeze until solid. Thaw for about 15 minutes before serving. Mash it up a bit if you want it more like soft serve, or just go at it if you want it like hard ice cream.

This recipe can be adapted to make pretty much any flavor you want. I made a batch of mango ice cream by using unflavored protein powder and mixing in a ripe mango. It tasted great.

If the idea of blended cashews does not do much for you, give it a try anyway. You will be pleasantly surprised how creamy they become once blended well. If you still do not like it, well, we will have to figure out something else for you.

Credits - would like to thank Chad Lykins for the permission to reprint his article "Ultrarunning Lab: Ice Cream for Ultramarathons" originally published on

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