Did you know that yesterday was national ice cream day? Ronald Reagan apparently gave this distinction to the the third Sunday in July, so I figured it was time to make ice cream…
I love ice cream as much as the next person, and I’ve gotten delicious results when making it with fresh raw (or at least organic and not ultra-pasteurized) cream and milk, organic sugar and free-range eggs. This is a fabulous treat that isn’t harmful to the body when eaten occasionally, but it’s not exactly health-promoting.
I’ve never attempted to make a dairy, egg, and sugar-free version of ice cream before yesterday because frankly, I doubted it would be worth eating. But then I saw the photos of the 100% raw ice creams made with blended soaked cashews and young coconut meat in Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis.
These looked so good that I decided to give my own coconut milk version a try. While I do sometimes buy the young Thai coconuts at my local natural foods store and deal with the struggle that is opening them, I generally find it is way easier to just open a can of organic coconut milk. Not exactly the same and not raw, but still quite healthy. So I used the recipe in Living Raw Food for inspiration, but my recipe isn’t raw.
A word about coconut milk: despite the fact that it gets tons of good press in the alternative health community, many people continue to be wary of including coconut oil/coconut milk in their diet. Yes coconut milk is high in fat, but it’s a special type of fat known as medium chain triglycerides, and these are easily metabolized by the body. Studies show that coconut oil can actually promote weight loss, and it helps the body ward off all different sorts of infections, as well (it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal; for more information about the health benefits, see organic coconut oil.)
If you want to, you can use coconut milk for all of the liquid in the recipe. I didn’t, because I was just a bit afraid of it being “too coconutty”. So I added in some vanilla hemp milk. Hemp milk is my favorite store-bought non-dairy milk. I don’t love it in hot drinks, but it works very well in smoothies, over cereal, etc. (Packaged hemp milk isn’t raw, but if you want a recipe for a raw version, there is one in Sarma’s book). I also think you could substitute another strained nut milk for the hemp milk (from almonds, for example).
For making ice cream, I use the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment. I like it, but the ice cream never really freezes; it comes out with more of a soft ice cream texture. So I usually spread the soft ice cream into a shallow baking dish and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before scooping and serving, and this works quite well.
This coconut cinnamon ice cream recipe went over well with “my tasters”, both kids and adults. I chose cinnamon because I figured it would go nicely with the coconut but would not preclude adding toppings (see my cherry and almond extravaganza below). The nice thing about this recipe is how easy it is to change- I suggest that as you add the ingredients to your blender, you mix, taste, tailor it, mix again, taste again, etc. You might enjoy it with more vanilla, less cinnamon, a little less or more salt, a little less sweetener, a different sweetener (I think maple syrup would be good)… So add small amounts of the flavorings and taste as you go (remember that you can always add flavors, but once they are added, you can’t take them away).
Recipe for Vegan Coconut Cinnamon Ice Cream
*1 can organic whole coconut milk
*1 cup vanilla hemp milk (I used Living Harvest brand)
*1/2 cup pure maple syrup (organic raw agave syrup)
*2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt
Mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Pour into ice cream maker and chill according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Inspired by Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine by Sarma Melngalis.
I for one am no longer afraid of vegan ice cream (yay for coconut milk!) and I am definitely going to play around with different versions in the future.
If you are interested in the exclusively raw ice cream recipe, click here for info about how to enter my Living Raw Foods giveaway – you might win a copy of the book!