Ice cream is serious business in my home. I insist that it must be made with quality ingredients; my kids insist it must be delicious. So when Ben & Jerry's offered to send me some new flavors, I quickly said yes.
But when I found out the new flavors were dairy-free, I was prepared to get pushback from my milk-loving teenage boys when I asked them to try them.
Two things happened with the boys when the package arrived.
For the first time, the boys weren't excited about the dry ice that accompanied the delivery. They've outgrown the excitement of making the entire house fog up and trying various experiments. That made me a little sad.
However, they were excited about the new flavors and didn't care about the dairy-free part because it was Ben & Jerry's. Apparently, they've formed a favorable opinion about the company's products, enough to trust that even though these "ice creams" were worth trying.
These are the three dairy-free flavors we tried, all made with almond milk instead of milk from cows.
- Caramel Almond Brittle: Almond non-dairy frozen dessert with salted caramel swirls and pieces of almond brittle
- Cherry Garcia: Cherry non-dairy frozen dessert with cherries and fudge flakes
- Coconut Seven Layer Bar: Coconut non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge chunks, walnuts, swirls of graham cracker and caramel
What's the verdict?
First of all, I tasted the almond from the almond milk in all the flavors. In the Caramel Almond Brittle, it was expected and worked really well. In the Cherry Garcia, I found it off-putting, like amaretto was one of the ingredients. It was less obvious in the Coconut Seven Layer Bar. In that one, there was just a hint, and there was so much else going on that it didn't matter to me.
The Cherry Garcia is the only one left in the freezer. My youngest and I did not enjoy it. (Then again, I never choose regular Cherry Garcia, either.) My oldest will certainly finish it off now that the others are gone. He liked it, but not as much as the other flavors.
The Caramel Almond Brittle is "super addictive," as one of my sons said. It's particularly enjoyable when there's a chunk or two of almond brittle in each bite, and I found myself making sure there was at least one chunk in each spoonful I ate. And, while my sons don't enjoy my affinity for salted caramel treats, it was subtle enough here that they didn't notice the salt. This was a creamy treat that all three of us would eat again.
The surprise turned out to be the Coconut Seven Layer Bar. It was the last we opened, thinking that anything with coconut as the first word wouldn't be so great. We were definitely wrong. It was so good that I will buy it if I find it in my grocery store. If you've ever had a seven-layer cookie bar, you'll have an idea of the flavor profile of this dessert. Neither the almond milk nor the coconut were overpowering, and there was a perfect ratio of all the ingredients.
Each pint is non-GMO, made with fair trade-sourced ingredients and packaged in paperboard certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The products are also certified vegan. Ben & Jerry's partnered with Vegan Action to make sure that its non-dairy treats don't include animal products of any kind, including eggs, dairy or honey.
These three new flavors have been added to the Ben & Jerry's line of non-dairy desserts on the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the non-dairy line and are rolling into stores this month. They join Ben & Jerry's other vegan flavors: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookies.