Homemade Coconut Milk Ice Cream

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I never thought I’d enjoy ice cream again. During the 4 months I spent volunteering in Costa Rica, I became obsessed with ice cream. It wasn’t my fault; it seemed that the whole population was obsessed. At the end of a long work day, one could spot businessmen nursing a McDonald’s soft-serve cone, leaning their bodies back from the drips that threatened to send their suits to the dry cleaners early.

This obsession with ice cream, which is damp and cold, is probably not the best thing for people of Kapha constituion, but I knew very little about ayurvedic medicine back then. I also had no idea that one could be intolerant to dairy, which I now know that I am. My almost-daily ice cream treat contributed to a 40-pound weight gain in those 4 short months.

Now that dairy is out, ice cream is also gone from the freezer and my snack list. I know that there are non-dairy ice cream options, coconut milk ice cream and the less popular soy ice cream, but now that I am staying away from processed and prepared foods, they haven’t yet caught my interest. I’m also suspicious of the inevitability of added sugar and preservatives that keep these products looking new as they sit in health food store freezer for months on end. Not to mention the price.

Now that the heat wave has rolled onto our Toronto shores, I’ve been craving something soft and creamy. So, I decided to try making my own coconut ice cream. I haven’t perfected the recipe yet – there are a variety of other additives to try such as thickeners like arrowroot, almond or peanut butter, avocado or other fruits and cocoa powder to change the flavours – and it can best be described as “soft-serve”, but the taste is delicious and this recipe provides the perfect backbone for an array of dairy-free ice cream alterations. The sugar content is low and it’s made of coconut, which totes belly-fat-reducing medium chain triglycerides. Topped with fruit, you could even have this ice cream for breakfast, almost guilt-free. You also don’t need an ice cream maker.

Homemade Coconut Milk Ice Cream

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Ingredients: 

1 can full fat coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2-3 bananas (depending on how sweet and thick you want your ice cream. Most recipes call for 3 but I tried my version with only 2).

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for texture, or fresh or frozen berries for added fibre, antioxidants, flavour and colour.

Directions:

Blend the ingredients together until smooth. Mix in the shredded coconut and stir so that the mixture is homogenous. If you have an ice cream maker, add the mixture to that. If you don’t, proceed to do the following (you can also turn this recipe into delicious popsicles, using a popsicle maker, if you have one): Add to a freezer safe container and freeze for 1-2 hours, checking on your mixture at regular intervals, giving it a stir to make sure that it doesn’t freeze into a hard block.

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Once the mixture has obtained an ice-cream-like consistency, solid but still soft, (this could take anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on the state of your freezer and the contents of your mixture), remove from the freezer. Then, using a stand mixer or your hand, whip up the mixture for about 5 minutes to oxygenate the mixture and to give it a light, fluffy texture. (Feel free to taste test as you go; even as a liquid this coconutty goodness is delicious!) You should end up with a creamy, semi solid ice cream or ice milk.

Serve topped with berries or chocolate syrup, or use to garnish fruit crisp, paleo pie, or to complement another dessert.

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To store, pour the ice cream into a small, flat pan, cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer.

Enjoy!

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8 thoughts on “Homemade Coconut Milk Ice Cream

  1. Yum! This is a great idea–I’ve got an ice cream thing, as well. 40 pounds! That must’ve felt awful in the heat–and dairy and sugar and the texture are so addicting, how awful!!! I relate–I was 30 pounds bigger at one point in high school after too much ice cream and nectarines…just. couldn’t stop. and didn’t yet know why. Felt alien in my own body, not to mention lethargic and depressed my clothes wouldn’t fit.

    LOVE coco ice cream–but the additives can be not so good..agree:

    So Delicious left me feeling sick / hungover / kapha the next morning (think I’ve also got a lil kapha going on…admitting it!).

    Coconut Bliss bars have been a treat with no repercussion…but EXPENSIVE.

    Attempted the homemade version and ended up with a frozen block–thanks for the detailed recipe, including on how to get the right texture. May try it with honey.

    1. I know! Weight gain (or loss) can really affect how we see our body. I am actually reading a book on exactly that topic: the mental/emotional aspect of weight gain and weight loss and will be writing a post reviewing it shortly. It’s a topic that fascinates me!
      Yes, I typically don’t trust even “healthy” snacks that come in packages. Oftentimes they contain things that we would never put into our own food. And they have to make them with flawless texture and make them to last on a shelf for an inevitable amount of time. Last on a shelf, maybe, but I don’t want that stuff “lasting” in my body! And it’s so simple to create your own! I think the key is mixing frequently, with an egg beater, which is better, while it freezes to prevent the block. The vanilla extract (in its alcohol base) also prevents it from freezing too quickly.
      There are other methods for making ice cream without an ice cream maker in this blog: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-ice-cream-without-an-ice-cream-machine-171060 But, honestly, I think that I might just invest in one. For these impossibly hot summer days, there’s just nothing like it!

      1. Thanks!

        I’m looking forward to your review on the book about our bodies and mental well-being. Feeling light = alert, flexible, ‘ready’, open for me…heaviness just feels.. well…HEAVY..closed…stuck in the mud. From a few talks with girlfriends they feel the same way.

        p.s. So Delicious Coconut Milk grosses me out! So BAD!

  2. Hey Talia! Great recipe. Finally rounded up all the ingredients and used the Saturday to make it happen. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 It’s so great to eat ice cream again without my stomach rumbling! Take care.

    1. No problem! There’s nothing like sharing the ice cream love and I’m going to assume there’s still no Coco Dream or whatever brand of coconut milk ice cream available in Ca’tagena! There’s (powdered) soy milk, though!

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