Written by contributor Stephanie Langford of Keeper of the Home.
This recipe came about when we were first learning to eat dairy-free for the sake of two of my children. I was sorely missing ice cream, but was worried that anything I tried to make would be dismal failure and wouldn’t come close to satisfying. I am so glad that I was wrong!
Coconut milk is our preferred choice for a non-dairy option and its smooth, creamy texture makes it a perfect ice cream base. We’ve served this to friends who eat on the less-healthy side and they still loved it. The fruit flavor comes through much more strongly than the coconut and the finished product is lovely. It does melt a little bit faster than store-bought ice cream, but that aside, this ice cream has no faults that I can find.
The recipe itself whips together in 5 minutes flat. You’ll have to wait the standard 25-30 minutes while it freezes in the ice cream maker, but I like to time it right by putting it in just after we finish dinner so we can eat it shortly after clean up is finished and our stomachs are ready for it.
Additionally, it’s a frugal make-it-yourself option. Coconut milk ice cream at your local health food store is usually about $4-6 per pint (sometimes more!). This recipe makes almost double that amount, and I figure my costs come in at about $3 total.
Which simply means we can make it more often, right? Sounds good to me!
The Recipe: Coconut Blueberry Maple Ice Cream
This particular recipe works with blueberries, since they are delightfully sweet and seasonal and plentiful in many places right now, but as you’ll see below the recipe, I’ve included some other ideas for fruit substitutions.
Serves 4-6, depending on bowl size
- 1 can coconut milk (I prefer Native Forest or Thai Kitchen Organic Canned Coconut Milk. Native Forest is my top pick, as it contains little to no BPA in the can lining).
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh, or you can use thawed blueberries from the freezer)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 egg yolk, raw (optional)
- Substitute honey for maple syrup (see below)
- Use a different fruit (cherry, peach, strawberry, etc.)
- No egg yolk. It adds an extra creaminess and improves the texture, but the recipe turns out just fine without it if using raw eggs isn’t your thing.
Step 1: Toss everything into a blender and mix it up. You can choose whether to blend the fruit completely smooth, or to leave some chunks in it if you like your ice cream better that way.
Step 2: Pour it into your prepared ice cream maker. Make sure that you turn the machine on so that the blade starts churning before you pour the ice cream mix in.
We use a cheap Deni automatic ice cream maker (ours is a slightly older version than this one) that we bought at a garage sale. It works well, so long as I freeze the canister for a minimum of 18-24 hours before using it. The manuals often tell you that 12 hours is sufficient, but in my experience, it isn’t. Just keep your clean canister in the freezer all summer long, so that it’s ready whenever that ice cream urge arises.
Step 3: Let it churn away for 25-30 minutes. The only hard part about this step is the waiting… we’ve been known to have several little people sitting up on the counter, crowding around the machine to watch it solidify. What’s that saying about a watched ice cream canister never freezes?
The finished product. Once it starts to look thoroughly icy and comes up onto the sides a bit, it’s probably ready. Get out a spoon and test it yourself. Several times. Quality control is important, right?
Step 4: Consume and enjoy.
As I mentioned above, the basic recipe can also be adapated, by keeping all amounts the same, and simply substituting a different thawed or fresh fruit for the blueberries. I’ve done this using 1 cup of strawberries instead and it turned out scrumptious. Other delicious varieties would be cherry, peach, raspberry (you might need to up the sweetener for this one), or blackberry.
The sweetener is another area that you can play around with. I wanted more of that deep, rich flavor that comes from the maple syrup. You can easily substitute raw honey, though. If you’re going to use honey (which is slightly sweeter, relatively speaking) you’ll want to use more like a scant 1/2 cup or even a bit less or else you may find it too sweet. The main difference is that the honey has a lighter, almost fruity taste to it, whereas the maple syrup has more of a depth to it. They’re both wonderful, just different.
Nuts would also be a perfect addition. I had just run out of walnuts when I made this, otherwise I would have tried adding walnut pieces to the blender at the very last moment. Pecans would also be divine.
Have you tried making ice cream yet? Which fruit flavor would be your first pick?