Whenever people talk about why they could never give up dairy, normally you hear reasons like “but I’ll miss the cheeeese!” or “but I love ice cream so much!” and while I do love a good sharp cheddar and a nice bowl of pistachio ice cream, my dairy sticking point came from unusual suspects—half and half for my coffee and sour cream for my chili. These two items were what kept me from going dairy-free for years (even though I knew dairy made me feel not-so-great—it was worth it for a good cup of coffee!).
I literally couldn’t picture a world where I didn’t put a big glug of half and half in my coffee each morning or eat a bowl of chili without a dollop of sour cream. I’d tried all the plant-based alternatives in the supermarket, and, quite honestly, hated them all. I had decided that I was just going to have to be mostly dairy-free, except for my daily half and half and occasional sour cream. Life is too short to drink my coffee black.
And then, one day, I was out of half and half, and I did a desperate Google search for a plant-based coffee creamer recipe that I could make using pantry staples. A lot of recipes called for coconut milk or coconut oil (love coconut, but I’m a coffee purist, so no go) or almond milk (which I know from experience has some separation issues). And then I stumbled onto Cashew Coffee Creamer on Kitchen Treaty, and I thought, “Well, that’s something I’ve never tried before!” and went for it.
Dude. Life changed.
It looks like half and half. It’s thick, fatty, and creamy like half and half. It doesn’t separate or curdle. It doesn’t taste like coconut. It. Was. Perfect. Better than any of those $5 a pint plant-based coffee creamers on the market. With that first blitz in my blender, a love affair with cashews was born.
In the months since, I’ve turned cashews into sour cream (yup, it works!), ice cream (so gloriously buttery!), creamy salad dressings (best. ranch. ever.), queso (so spicy and yum!), alfredo sauce (much easier than making a bechamel sauce), and so many other things I’ve lost count. I have a whole other post coming up in a few weeks about cashew cheeses (ricotta, parmesan, feta, oh my!), but for now, we’ll stick to creamy uses.