I don't drink much alcohol, but, in my pre-vegan past, I always enjoyed a little Bailey's when it was offered. I don't know what got me into a tizzy one day about making my own version of homemade vegan "Irish Cream"-style liqueur, but whatever it was, I was obsessed, and worked on it non-stop. (Testing was in very judicious amounts, BTW!) I wanted my recipe to be a.) simple to make, with b.) easily-available ingredients; c.) to NOT involve a can of full-fat coconut milk (too much saturated fat and coconut-y flavor; d.) to be as similar as possible in texture and flavor to Bailey's; and to e.) not separate on standing. As the base for my mixture, I decided to use So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer, which is deliciously creamy without tasting coconut-y, but only 10 calories a tablespoon. (Mimicreme Unsweetened Cream Alternative can be used instead, if you prefer, with the same number of calories.) NOTE: I don't know the non-dairy creams available worldwide, but whatever product you use instead of the ones recommended should have only about 10 calories per tablespoon in order to match the nutritional stats of this recipe. In my final version, I blended raw cashews (softened in the hot espresso) with the rest of the ingredients for just the right amount of creaminess, and I was very sparing with the guar or xanthan gum, which accomplished what I was hoping it would -- keeping the mixture from separating without thickening it too much. The calories in my final version are about the same as the popular coconut-milk based version, but, as you will see from comparing the Nutrition Facts of both (see them below the recipe), my version is quite a bit lower in fat and contains no saturated fat. (The original Bailey's is higher in calories than either one and even higher in fat).
Irish Cream Liqueur [Vegan]
- 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (measure after chopping)
- 1/4 cup HOT freshly-brewed fair trade organic espresso or strong coffee
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) coconut coffee creamer (See NOTE above)
- 3/4 cup Irish whiskey (Jamesons or Bushmills)
- 10 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated unbleached organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons No-Fat Chocolate Sauce (see recipe below)
- 1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/8 teaspoon guar gum OR xanthan gum (use no more than this!)
- 1 pinch salt
- 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 2/3 cup brown sugar or granulated organic unbleached sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened organic fair trade cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoon organic cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Soak the chopped cashews in the hot espresso while you assemble the other ingredients.
- Place the creamer, whiskey, sugar, chocolate sauce, vanilla and almond extracts, guar gum and salt in a blender. Add the cashews and coffee. Cover and blend at high speed until the liquid is absolutely smooth and not grainy at all when rubbed between your fingers. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, bottle and refrigerate.
- In a blender mix the first four ingredients until smooth.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat in a small saucepan until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. (Or cook in the microwave at 100% power in a microwave-safe bowl or pitcher for 1 minute; whisk and microwave 1 minute more; whisk.) Stir in the vanilla.
- Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate in a covered jar for storage. Use cold or reheat in the microwave at low power, or in a double boiler over simmering water on the stovetop.