Saturday, July 18, 2015

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ... #dairyfree

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ...  #dairyfree

Personally, ice cream is not my favorite dessert.  But apparently it is for lots of other people, including my severely lactose-intolerant son.  Hence, when he became lactose intolerant years ago, ice cream became one of those forbidden things he missed the most.

We've tried varying dairy-free versions in the stores, but many come with funky textures and off flavors. He's found a few that are "Okay", but nothing that really makes him happy like the real thing.

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ...  #dairyfree
Today though, we've come darn close with this dreamy coconut concoction!!  Silky smooth with the texture of traditional heavy cream, coconut milk brings a lovely tropical flavor to the mix.  Vanilla beans as well as extract lend a double dose of fragrant vanilla flavors, and mixed with the coconut milk become a dynamic duo of flavor perfection.

Garnering a rare "8" on his happy scale his only complaint was "It's too rich... I can't eat a big bowl of it".  Apparently his years away from heavy cream has changed his preference.  Next up we're going to give a lower fat version a go, but I'm afraid we may lose some of the silky, ultra cream texture that makes this one so special.
With a little planning ahead, you can be true ice cream hero to your ice cream lover!  While my son may have found slightly rich for his taste, Liv and her friends as well as my son's own girlfriend had no issues polishing off big bowls of their own.  Girls, apparently can handle rich :)

Dairy-free ice cream that tastes real??  We've got you covered.  Enjoy!

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ...  #dairyfree

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Ice Cream with an ultra silky texture, a bowl of this coconut concoction brings pure pleasure!

Searching recipes for vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, version after version of this recipe came up, but I believe I've traced the base recipe back to Ashley McLaughlin from a post on Food52.  She describes how many coconut milk ice creams churn to a lovely, soft serve texture in the ice cream maker but then freeze to solid rocks and form ice crystals when placed into the freezer.

Her trick to maintain a decent (softer) texture even when frozen is to incorporate the use of arrowroot, liquid sweetener and vodka.  I took her arrowroot advice and used the only liquid sweetener I had in my pantry, agave (she also suggests brown rice syrup or coconut nectar, and in other recipes I've seen light corn syrup used), and subbed vanilla extract for the vodka (my homemade vanilla is simply vanilla flavored vodka).

And I'd call this recipe a total success!!  Silky and creamy right out of the maker, it also freezes nicely, but not rock solid.  
Notes for success:  
  • Ice cream canister MUST be frozen for at least 24 hours
  • cream MUST be fully chilled before churned
Adapted from Food52 
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Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ...  #dairyfree
2 cans full fat coconut milk
1 Tbs arrowroot starch
1/4 cup agave
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 tsp vanilla extract

Open cans of coconut milk and pour into a medium-sized pot.  Remove 2-3 Tbs into a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot starch.  Whisk until smooth.

Return the arrowroot mixture to the pot, add the agave and sugar.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the coconut milk.  Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until simmering.  Simmer for about a minute - whisking constantly - then remove from heat.  Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Pour cream into a covered container and place into the refrigerator until completely chilled.  (Don't be tempted to churn warm cream... I can say from impatient experience that this will result in your canister unfreezing too quickly and cream that never becomes ice cream.)

When chilled, remove frozen ice cream maker canister from the freezer and pour in cream.  Proceed according to your manufacturer instructions until ice cream is churned into a lovely soft serve texture.  

Serve immediately, or alternatively, place into a covered freezer-safe container and freeze.  When ready to serve frozen ice cream, allow to sit on the counter a few minutes, then scoop and serve.  

Coconut Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ...  #dairyfree

Liv Life Note:  We've used this Cuisinart Ice Ice Cream Maker for over 10 years!!  Do be careful not to drop the bowl on the garage floor though... I can attest that it won't end well...



  1. I too thoroughly enjoyed coconut milk ice cream when I made it last Summer. :-) So glad your son loves it!

  2. Diary-free or not, I think I would love the flavor of this. I love cooking with coconut milk and almond milk and substituting them for dairy.


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