This high-protein, sugar-free ice cream is the perfect treat when you’re craving a healthier cookie dough ice cream.
Chocolate chip cookie dough is one of the most popular flavors of ice cream — Ben and Jerry’s recently ranked it as their top 3 flavor of 2022. And why not, it’s two treats in one: ice cream and cookie dough. Throw in a third treat (peanut butter!) and what’s not to love?
But there is something more to love. This cookie dough ice cream is low in
calories, high in protein (10.5 grams of protein, which is 36% protein by
calories) and is low in carbs and keto-friendly since it’s only 1 gram of net
Plus, it’s simple to make high-protein cookie dough at home. We use this Protein Cookie Dough recipe from our sister site LowCarbSimplified. This cookie dough is ideal since it’s tasty, quick to make, and has no eggs so there’s no salmonella risk like there would be in traditional cookie dough.
That being said, if you want to skip making the cookie dough you can substitute it with cookie pieces from a ready-made high protein or low carb cookie. Low Carb Simplified has a thorough review of low carb cookies that can help you select a cookie for this purpose but note that only two of them are in high protein.
If you’re allergic to peanut butter, you could remove the peanut butter powder from the base and use cookie pieces from a store-bought high protein cookie, like Quest.
Recipe Experiments & Results
During recipe development, I found that using a typical high protein vanilla base had a jarring flavor contrast with the peanut butter in the cookie dough. This made the peanut butter flavor stand out more than the cookie dough. Ironically, mixing just the right amount (and I tried different amounts) of powdered peanut butter to the base created a more balanced taste that let the cookie dough and peanut butter complement each other.
Additionally, I found the mix-in function on the Creami too harsh on the soft cookie dough since it resulted in very small pieces of cookie dough in the ice cream. Because our household preferred having some larger pieces of cookie dough in the ice cream, I limited the use of the mix-in function to half of the cookie dough. Therefore, in the final recipe, I recommend mixing half of the dough using the mix-in function and the other half of the remaining dough by hand.
- Protein cookie dough: This recipe uses the Protein Cookie Dough recipe from LowCarbSimplified. While it may seem daunting to do a recipe within a recipe, these only take 10 minutes to make and are egg-free so it’s safe to eat “raw”. Alternatively you could use pieces from a store bought low carb cookie such as those in this review of low carb cookies but it will reduce the protein percentage of the recipe.
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk: As usual, we’re using unsweetened almond milk to keep the carbs, fat, and calories low. However, you can substitute another type of low-carb milk like unsweetened macadamia milk or coconut milk.
- Low-carb vanilla protein powder: This recipe uses low-carb vanilla protein powder to increase the protein in the ice cream and give the ice cream body. My typical vanilla protein power is Quest Vanilla Milkshake since it is widely available but you may use another brand of low-carb vanilla protein powder if you prefer.
- Peanut Butter Powder: Peanut butter powder (sometimes also referred to as peanut butter flour) is made from peanuts that have been crushed into a flour and the fat removed. The result is a powder that’s lower in calories and fat and high in protein. I use PBFit Pure Peanut, which has no added sugar.
- Powdered low calorie sweetener: I use Swerve Confectioners Sweetener which generally has a 1:1 swap with sugar. If you use a pure erythritol or allulose sweetener you’ll need to use about 50% more than listed in the recipe since these are 70% as sweet as sugar. Also be aware that in my experience allulose results in a less dense and more airy texture in Creami ice creams than erythritol.
- Guar Gum: Guar gum is thickening agent that helps create a creamy texturein ice creams and sorbets. You may substitute with xanthan gum, but the texture may not turn out as the same.
- Salt: Salt not only brings out flavors in general, but it is an ingredient that makes up the flavor of both cookies and peanut butter so made sense to add to this recipe.
How to make
Step 1: Place all the dry ingredients except the cookie dough (i.e. protein powder, peanut butter powder, sweetener, guar gum, salt) in a bowl and combine until evenly mixed. This step is helpful to mix the guar gum evenly in the ingredients and prevent it from clumping when mixed with the liquid ingredients.
Step 2: Pour the almond milk into a blender or food processor. Then add the dry ingredients from Step 1 and blend until fully mixed (about 30 seconds). Pour the blended mixture into a Creami pint and place it in your freezer for 24 hours.
Step 3: While you’re waiting for the Creami pint to freeze, make the Protein Cookie Dough recipe. Then cut the cookie dough into pieces and place in the freezer. They only need a few hours to freeze.
Step 4: Remove the Creami pint from your freezer and place it into the outer bowl. If there is a bump in the middle, slice it down to create a flat surface (so Ninja Creami can mix better). Install the Creami paddle into the outer bowl lid, place the lid on the outer bowl and lock into place according to the instructions in the Creami manual.
Step 5: If you are using a Deluxe Creami, select the Top, Full, or Bottom processing mode, rotate the main dial to the “Lite Ice Cream” program, and press the dial to start processing. If you are using the original Creami, then simply press the “Lite Ice Cream” program button.
Step 6: When the Creami program finishes, open the outer bowl and observe the results. If it’s powdery as shown in picture 6, then add a teaspoon of almond milk and proceed to step 7.
Step 7: If the ice cream was powdery in step 6, place the container back into the Creami and select the re-spin program. Note that you may need to repeat steps 6 and 7 multiple times until it has the appropriate texture.
Step 8: Once ice cream is at the right texture, make a hole and place about half the cookie dough in ice cream. Then select the Mix-in program. Mix the remainder of the cookie dough pieces by hand. If you prefer larger cookie dough pieces, then skip the mix-in program and mix all the cookie dough pieces by hand.