Ice cream, butter and Paula Deen – three things you don’t associate with low fat. It’s one of my favorite ice creams and I just had to give it a try, but I wasn’t prepared to buy a bigger swimsuit for the pool parties, either! I came up with this reinvention to enjoy it without all the fat and sugar. My addition of the vanilla bean paste adds a gourmet touch to the dish, but vanilla extract will work fine.

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BUTTER PECAN ICE CREAM – Anthony J. Caruso

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon light butter spread (recommended: Smart Balance Light)

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 (13-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk

1 (1-ounce) package instant sugar free French vanilla pudding mix

1 cup sugar substitute with fiber (recommended: Splenda)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (recommended) or vanilla extract

3 cups fat free half and half

1/4 teaspoon guar gum (added slowly)

DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter spread in a small saucepan. Cook the pecans over low heat until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Place on a paper towel to drain and cool. In an 8-cup measuring cup with a spout, combine the remaining ingredients. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers’ instructions. Add the pecans 10 minutes into the freezing.

Anthony’s note: This ice cream, when frozen, will be harder than typical ice creams. Allow extra time to thaw before serving or a quick microwave will also work. 

Here’s the skinny:

I used a light butter spread instead of real butter, saving about 75% of the saturated fat.

I also used fat free evaporated milk instead of regular, saving 100% of the fat.

Also, I used fat free half and half instead of whole milk, which will still give it a creamy texture without any fat.

Instead of sugar, I used a sugar substitute with fiber, cutting out all the sugar and calories, but still adding fiber.

I also used sugar free pudding, saving more sugar.

Lastly, I added guar gum, a natural thickener, to help with the consistency of the ice cream.