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Dark Chocolate-Tahini Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

sccops of ice cream in bowl
sccops of ice cream in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

It's a common scenario: After a day of eating perfectly balanced salads, nourishing grain bowls, and low-cal protein shakes, we find ourselves reaching into the freezer for a few too many scoops of ice cream. It's one of the most loved treats (right behind potato chips), and too often the reason our diets aren't going the way we planned. The truth is, there's nothing wrong with ice cream every now and again — since after all, a good diet is one you can maintain — but what if even your ice cream could be just a little bit healthier, too? In that spirit, we suggest swapping the sugary tubs of store-bought dessert for a homemade alternative with a secret ingredient: cottage cheese.

High in protein and low in carbs, the breakfast-friendly curd is perfect for sweet desserts, acting as a thick version of heavy cream. Cottage cheese ice cream is easy to make, too, only requiring a food processor and a freezer. Shared by recipe developer and nutritionist coach Michelle McGlinn, this dessert is flavored with rich dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, and tahini for a creamy ice cream that is both sweet and nutty. It may not be your typical Häagen-Dazs, but for a several spare grams of protein right before bed, we'll take the tradeoff — it's worth it for the extra scoop.

Read more: 25 Best Ice Cream Brands Ranked

Gather The Ingredients For Dark Chocolate-Tahini Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

cottage cheese chocolate ice cream ingredients on a table
cottage cheese chocolate ice cream ingredients on a table - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

The first ingredient you'll need for this ice cream is, of course, cottage cheese. It's not as weird as it sounds; cottage cheese is simply a slightly curdled milk product, mild in flavor and thick in consistency. For the best ice cream, look for full-fat cottage cheese, which will act most similarly to milk and produce a creamy texture when frozen.

Beyond the cheese, you'll need cocoa powder, tahini, vanilla extract, honey, and dark chocolate. Use any dark chocolate you prefer as long as it's easy to melt (we prefer the squares made for baking). If you don't have tahini on hand, simply swap for peanut butter.

Step 1: Combine The Ice Cream Ingredients

ice cream ingredients in food processor
ice cream ingredients in food processor - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Step 2: Blend Or Pulse Until Smooth

blended chocolate ice cream in food processor
blended chocolate ice cream in food processor - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Pulse until completely smooth.

Step 3: Freeze

chocolate ice cream in loaf pan
chocolate ice cream in loaf pan - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan, smooth over with a spatula, and cover. Freeze until solid, about 5-8 hours.

Step 4: Let It Soften A Bit

scooping ice cream with spoon
scooping ice cream with spoon - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and thaw until soft enough to scoop.

Step 5: Serve

scoops of ice cream in bowl
scoops of ice cream in bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.

What Are The Nutritional Benefits Of Cottage Cheese Ice Cream?

scooping frozen ice cream on table
scooping frozen ice cream on table - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Cottage cheese is a known nutritional powerhouse, usually eaten with breakfast as an energizing meal for the rest of the day. For bodybuilders and athletes in particular, cottage cheese is a valuable source of protein that can help hit protein goals without overloading calories. What's more is that cottage cheese is made with salt and can be used in savory applications, unlike its nutritional cousin, yogurt, which is more often used for sweeter dishes. In fact, cottage cheese ice cream is even better than fro-yo because it is high in protein, reaching up to 28 grams per 1-cup serving.

One serving of plain cottage cheese ice cream contains 220 calories, compared to regular ice cream that can contain almost double that. What's also significant about cottage cheese is how low in both fats and carbs it is, containing almost a third of regular ice cream's totals per serving. Though the added chocolate in this particular recipe skews these numbers slightly, cottage cheese ice cream is still a great alternative for anyone looking for a high-protein, low carb frozen dessert.

How Do I Make My Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Sweeter?

cottage cheese ice cream in cone
cottage cheese ice cream in cone - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Cottage cheese is made with an acid, like vinegar, to separate the milk solids from the whey, resulting in a slightly tangy, chunky cheese that's similar to yogurt and ricotta. Unlike yogurt, cottage cheese contains a great deal of sodium, which gives it a more savory flavor that typically goes well with salt and pepper. To use cottage cheese for sweet applications, you need to add sweeteners like honey, agave, or simple syrup.

This recipe suggests a baseline amount of honey, which sweetens the dessert without undoing the nutritional benefits. If you'd rather the ice cream be sweeter, add more honey, or use a sweeter variety of chocolate, like semi-sweet, instead of dark. You can also add whole chocolate chips into the ice cream after blending for bursts of sweet chocolate flavor. We advise against adding pure sugar, which will give your ice cream a grainy consistency, and instead suggest using simple syrup if honey just isn't satisfying your sweet tooth. Really want to get close to real ice cream? Try blending ½ cup sweetened condensed milk into the mixture before freezing.

Dark Chocolate-Tahini Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

scoop of ice cream
scoop of ice cream - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 5h 5mCook Time:Yield: 4 servingsIngredients

  • 2 cups cottage cheese

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 3 ½ ounces 70% cacao dark chocolate, melted

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons honey, or to taste

Optional Ingredients

  • Sesame seeds, for topping

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

  2. Pulse until completely smooth.

  3. Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan, smooth over with a spatula, and cover. Freeze until solid, about 5-8 hours.

  4. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and thaw until soft enough to scoop.

  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.