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Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Ice Cream - Recipe with Delicious Variations!


It's been almost two years since I posted my original Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe, back when my website was just a blog and before the Little Castle Designs clothing business was born! While sewing and life have been keeping me busy (and this poor blog doesn't get the attention it deserves) I think it is long past time we revisit this tasty & tummy-friendly subject in honor of National Ice Cream Day. Since most of the nation is facing record-breaking heat right now, doesn't some homemade ice cream just sound amazing?


And since I have ice cream on the brain, I couldn't resist sewing up this adorable Floral Ice Cream Cone twirl dress, (did I mention the fabric is made with organic cotton?) Because how could you fully enjoy ice cream without an adorable ice cream themed dress to go with it?



Moving back to the theme of the day: how to make this delicious ice cream! I've included the recipe and instructions from the original post here, but I've also included instructions for three variations:

  • Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream with Mix-Ins

  • Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

  • Citrus Coconut Ice Cream


Here’s how to make it:


Ingredients:


*3 ½ cups of full-fat coconut milk (you can use two cans or make your own. Willamette Transplant has good instructions for making your own).


*½ cup sugar (brown or white sugar works fine)


*4 egg yolks (see note below for ways to use up the whites)


*1 tsp vanilla


Equipment:

  • Mixing Bowl

  • Stand Mixer or handheld mixer with the whisk attachment (or a hand-held whisk and a lot of arm power)

  • Mesh Strainer

  • Ice cream maker*

  • A Whisk, stand mixer, or electric hand mixer.


*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make no-churn ice cream with this custard by pressing it into a glass pan, covering, and popping it in the freezer for few hours. It just won’t be as creamy.


A stand mixer or handheld mixer is useful too, though it is absolutely possible to do all of the whisking by hand. Your arm might just be sore afterward!


Instructions:



1. Separate the eggs. Set the whites aside so you can use them for something later. Put the four yolks in a mixing bowl


2. Add ½ cup of sugar to the yolks. Whisk on high using your stand mixer or handheld mixer (or whisk as fast as you can by hand) until the mixture becomes smooth and a bit fluffy (this will take 1-2 minutes depending on your mixer. It may take up to 5 minutes or more if you’re whisking by hand. If whisking by hand, give it all you’ve got). When it’s ready, the consistency will be similar to marshmallow fluff. If you use brown sugar, the mixture will be a light tan color. If you are using white sugar, the mixture will be pale yellow.


3. Transfer to a saucepan and turn the heat to medium/low. Immediately whisk in your 3 ½ cups of coconut milk a bit at a time until the coconut milk and egg mixture are fully incorporated. Once the coconut milk is incorporated, turn the heat up to medium.


*You do not need to whisk constantly but you will want to keep an eye on your coconut milk custard so that it doesn’t burn or start to boil too hard.



4. Bring the coconut milk custard to the point that it is bubbling but not a full boil. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep your custard at this level. I’ve found that making coconut milk ice cream requires a little more heat and a little bit longer cooking time than dairy-based ice cream.


5. Continue to frequently (but not constantly) stir your custard until it begins to thicken. You will know it is ready to take off of the heat when the mixture begins to stick to the edge of the saucepan, and the mixture clings to the back of a wooden spoon...about 10 minutes but it could be more depending on your stove.


6. Once your mixture is ready, turn off the heat and stir in 1 tsp of vanilla. Then very carefully pour the custard through the strainer into a clean bowl. The strainer catches any eggy lumps that may have formed while the saucepan was on the stove.



7. Let the mixture cool on the countertop for a little while, then cover and transfer it to the refrigerator to chill. I usually cover with a kitchen towel or beeswax wrap. It will take at least an hour for the custard to be cold enough to transfer to your ice cream maker.


8. Once your mixture has chilled, transfer it to your ice cream maker and churn it according to the instructions for your particular ice cream maker. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, at this point you would transfer your chilled custard to a freezer-safe container and stick it in the freezer to harden).


9. You’ll know your ice cream is ready when it reaches “soft-serve” consistency and is pulling away from the walls of the ice cream maker.


10. You can eat it soft-serve style at this point, or you can transfer it to a freezer-safe container to harden for a couple of hours to achieve “scoopable” consistency.


Enjoy your ice cream! While from a food safety standpoint you could keep this in the freezer for a couple of months, from a taste standpoint, it’s best to use it up within a week or two. This really is the best ice cream I've ever made. The texture is spot-on!


Variations:

  1. Mix-Ins: Add 1/2-1 Cup of chocolate chips, nuts, or chopped soft fruit such as peaches or berries (or any combination of these items) during the last five minutes of churning. There are no limits here - just add your favorite mix-ins!

  2. Chocolate: Add 1/3 cup of cocoa powder during step two. I recommend mixing the cocoa with the sugar/egg mixture after it's been fluffed up but before transferring it to the saucepan. Increase the vanilla to two teaspoons.

  3. Citrus: Add 1/4 lemon juice or lime juice during step three. Omit the vanilla, but add 1-2 teaspoons of zest just before transferring the custard to cool. Optional: Toss in some crushed-up graham crackers and marshmallows during the last five minutes of churning for a key-lime or lemon-meringue pie-inspired treats.



Notes:


*Don’t waste those egg whites! You can freeze the egg whites for use in a future recipe. You can also use them to make an egg white scramble or some meringue cookies. Or if you happen to be making this ice cream for a “cake & ice cream” scenario, you could make angel food cake or another white cake recipe that incorporates egg whites only.


*You could chill the custard with an ice water bath instead of transferring it to the refrigerator if you are in a hurry.


*To make this recipe vegan, you can substitute 4 TBS of cornstarch instead of the eggs. Instead of whisking egg yolks, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 cup of coconut milk until it is smooth (no lumps). Transfer to the saucepan then add the sugar and remaining coconut milk. Continue with the rest of the recipe as directed above. Your ice cream will be less creamy but still tasty. For the vegan method, I strongly recommend using an ice cream maker instead of trying the no-churn method.



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