Sweet Sundays: Amy Green ~ Ice cream without dairy? I wasn’t sure it was worth the effort. The super-creamy smooth concoction was one of my first loves…especially when it sat on the counter for a few minutes and started to melt around the edges. I never could resist running my spoon around the edge so I could enjoy the cold, almost milkshake-like treat. Could all this happen without eggs and heavy cream? It took me some time decide I was even willing to concede that maybe, just maybe, it would work.
I tried hemp milk, almond milk, and rice milk. A little more like sorbet than ice cream – the flavor was ok, but I longed for the rich, velvety smooth texture of a perfectly stir-frozen French base. Enter coconut milk. Yes, coconut milk. It’s the dairy-free version of heavy cream packed with healthier fats. It’s gives ice cream that texture I was missing in other dairy-free milks. It even melts just like dairy ice cream does. And, yes! I let the container sit out so I can run my spoon around the edge.
Of course it has a coconut flavor but you’d be surprised at how subtle it is. When putting together coconut milk ice creams, I like to use flavors that compliment the natural taste. Think chocolate and almond, raspberry and lime, or lemon and vanilla.
Here, I was going for a rich, spicy ice cream that’s perfect for eating on fall nights.
Coconut Chai Spice Ice Cream
Put light coconut milk in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and let it soften for several minutes. Heat the coconut milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves and the milk is very warm. Remove from heat and steep the 3 tea bags for 5 – 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the full fat coconut milk, agave, and stevia to a blender. Once the teas has finished steeping, gently squeeze the bags to extract as much flavor as possible. Strain into the blender then blend on medium until combined. Taste and add more stevia if the ice cream base isn’t sweet enough for your palate.
Pour into a quart mason jar. Cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight. Stir freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
You might also like to give these coconut ice cream recipes a try:
Article, recipe, and photos by Amy Green, M.Ed., author of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, a blog about eating well, eliminating refined sugars and wheat, and maintaining a healthy weight. Over the years she’s learned that eating healthier doesn’t equal deprivation. Look for Amy’s first cookbook, "Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 120 Easy & Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less," which will be released in January 2011.