A couple of weeks back, I was lucky enough to win a copy of a new book, written and published by fellow food blogger, Aimee Ryan, called Coconut Milk Ice Cream.
Aimee blogs over at Wallflower Girl and in my humble opinion, has some of the most interesting and innovative recipes currently out there. Not only is she incredibly creative and experimental with her ingredients, but many of her recipes are developed around gluten free, dairy free, paleo and other specialist diets. If you haven’t visited her site, I urge you to do so. She is a very very talented woman!
Her first book is full of beautiful photographs and very tempting recipes for delicious coconut milk ice cream, all made with natural, healthier ingredients and sweetened with unrefined alternatives to sugar, such as coconut palm sugar and maple syrup. You will also find sections on frozen desserts and other treats as well as home-made cones, toppings and sauces. All the recipes are grain free and vegan (and therefore dairy and gluten free) as well as being free of refined sugars and soya.
I don’t know about you, but although I had made ice creams containing a ratio of coconut milk before, I had never really fully entertained it as a whole ice cream concept, somehow assuming that the ice cream would not be as creamy or luxuriant as its traditional cream/milk-based counterparts. How wrong was I?
I think I may be an instant convert. I have now made two ice creams by Aimee’s wisdom and both are absolutely decadent, creamy and perfectly sweetened. The possibilities are endless (as indeed Aimee has demonstrated in her book) and the ‘guilt’ associated with eating calorie-laden ice cream is now reassuringly contained within a healthier and more natural ‘box’.
I was very excited when I knew the book was on its way and couldn’t wait to get started. The recipe that I most wanted to dive into was for Roasted Plum and Cardamom. But as plums are not quite in season and I had some delicious home-made hazelnut butter left over from the Chocolate & Hazelnut Butter Cookies I recently made, I decided to opt for the Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream recipe.
The recipe worked really well and the resulting ice cream is wonderful. Rich and chocolatey with a slightly chewy, hazelnut bite from the hazelnut butter which runs all the way through. Although you can taste the coconut, it is not in any way overpowering, and compliments the chocolate and hazelnut perfectly. The ice cream is naturally sweetened (but not overly so) with maple syrup, which adds a caramel undertone.
I don’t know whether I would have benefitted from a touch of added alcohol (which Aimee suggests gives a softer ice cream due to the lower freezing temperature), but the very coldness of my ice cream maker resulted in an unexpectedly quick freezing process. This didn’t affect the overall creaminess or texture of the ice cream when eaten, but did make it nye on impossible to scoop straight from the freezer, which resulted in a very impatient wait to eat it on my part and resorting to the microwave defrost button!
Adding alcohol to my second attempt at coconut ice cream (different flavour to be posted soon) has made a difference, I think, so I will stick with this option in the future.
As I especially picked the chocolate hazelnut recipe to use up the home-made hazelnut butter left from my cookies, I am entering the ice cream into this month’s No Waste Food Challenge, being hosted by Utterly Scrummy Food For Families, on behalf of Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. This was a quite unplanned and very delicious way to use up the hazelnut butter, and a recipe that I will most definitely be making again!
Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Milk Ice Cream (recipe from Aimee Ryan – Coconut Milk Ice Cream (2014))
- Make the chocolate hazelnut sauce first – Melt the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl either over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on medium setting (30 second bursts) stirring frequently.
- Stir in the hazelnut butter until well blended. Leave to cool.
- To make the Ice Cream Custard – Mix 60 ml coconut milk in a small bowl or jug with the arrowroot powder. Set aside.
- Combine the rest of the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, hazelnut butter and cocoa powder in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
- When the mixture begins to boil, immediately add the arrowroot-milk mixture and continue to stir until the custard thickens slightly.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the alcohol (if using).
- Chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- Churn the custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and gently swirl in the chocolate sauce mix using a flat-bladed knife or skewer.
- Transfer to the freezer to fully harden.
Gluten free AND Vegan (or thinking of heading that way?) – check out my post on Gluten Free Vegan – Surviving Veganuary and Beyond
Disclaimer : I won the book via a blog give away and was not asked to comment. All views expressed are my own.
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