There are a few things that always remind me of summer. Striped red paper straws, marshmallows roasting on a stick, fresh squeezed lemonade and more than anything…hand cranked ice cream. When we were kids, making ice cream was a production with bags of ice and rock salt and lots of elbow grease. Now, homemade ice cream is as easy as the flip of a switch.
It’s a bit of an investment, but if you crave this quintessential creamy, summer treat, an ice cream/frozen yogurt maker is a great addition to your kitchen. They can be had for about $60; less if you have a coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond.
Believe it or not, coconut milk is a brilliant substitute for cream and milk. Yes, it imparts a coconut flavor, but the good news is that coconut blends beautifully not only with chocolate, but many fruits, especially berries. However, a cautionary note about coconut milk: After recipe testing at least half a dozen times (yes, someone had to do it), I’ve discovered that not all coconut milks are created equal. Because it’s not a heavily-in-demand item, I’ve found that the milk can be old and grainy. Dump it, because it will ruin your entire recipe. You want to open the can and see a big plume of thick, white cream. Beneath that is the “water.” Both are integral ingredients to coconut milk ice cream. Be sure to use whole coconut milk – not the “light” version.
Into a large bowl, add 2 cans of coconut milk, about 6 T agave syrup and whatever other flavorings you like. Experiment with 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract and 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa, blended well with the milk and agave, then poured into the machine for about 22 minutes…trust me, you’ll love it, especially with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in just before serving.
But if you want the quickest of the quick, simply spoon 1/2 c. of strawberry jam in the final seconds of blending which produces thick streaks of fruit, resulting in Coconut Strawberry Ice Cream. Just make sure you don’t throw fresh fruit in at the beginning of processing because it will freeze quickly and you’ll have little nibs of fruit capable of chipping your teeth!
Coconut ice cream is best when eaten right after it’s made. It can, however, be stored in a container and frozen. When it’s time to eat, it must sit out for about 10 minutes to thaw enough so that it can be scooped. If you want to produce a milk shake, let it sit even longer and scoop it into a blender with a few tablespoons of almond milk and give it a whir. Serve with a straw and some chocolate shavings and you’ve got yourself a wonderful, dairy-free shake.
But the great thing about this ice cream is that it’s a blank slate for whatever it is you want to create. I’ve got to think mango puree paired with coconut ice cream is nothing short of a winner. Maybe next batch. Or you can give it a try. I know your family won’t mind being taste testers. Let me know what you come up with!
Amy Waczek writes a gluten-free, casein and soy optional blog featuring a recipe index and resource guide at www.amysglutenfreepantry.com.
Amy’s Coconut Strawberry Ice Cream
Prep time: 5 minutesTotal time: 30 minutes
Yield: about 1 quart
Special equipment: ice cream maker
2 (13.5 oz) cans whole coconut milk
6 T agave nectar
2/3 – 3/4 c. strawberry jam (you can make this on the stove with 1 c. of fresh strawberries, cooked down with 4 T agave nectar, then pureed)
1. Pour coconut milk into deep bowl and whisk for a moment until smooth. (Sometimes, coconut milk isn’t fresh and there are large lumps or graininess. Toss it and try a new can). Add agave and mix.
2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, pour coconut mixture into frozen bowl and process for 20–25 minutes.
3. When ice cream has been processed for 20-22 minutes, add strawberry jam and continue processing for additional 10 seconds. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer.