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Ice Cream For The Rest Of Us

For those of us who can’t/won’t eat dairy products, ice cream has been a treat relegated to childhood memories.  Now we can enjoy a cold, creamy treat that is not only dairy-free, but refined sugar-free as well.  And with such an easy recipe, the possibilities are endless (not to mention that taste testing is awfully fun!).

Either full fat or the lite coconut milk work fine, although I’m loving the lite coconut milk I can get at Trader Joe’s. I am using dates as a sweetener because I have no tolerance for typical sweeteners.  Dates are so naturally sweet you don’t need to use a lot. I use anywhere between 12-18 per batch, depending on other ingredients.  It’s sweet enough for me, and I can have a small scoop without feeling that “sugar rush” or get any hot flashes, so that’s good enough for me!

  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk or lite coconut milk
  • Approximately 15 dates, more if you like your ice cream sweeter, less if you are adding fruit, chocolate, etc.
  • 1/2 tsp. flavorings/extract (vanilla, coconut, almond)

That’s it!  This is simple to prepare, although best results require a food processor and an ice cream maker.

First, put your dates into the food processor, pulse a few times, then turn on until they are as smooshed as possible.  Not sure that’s a true culinary term, but you need to keep processing the dates until they first get broken up, then they form a ball, then they smear all around the sides of the food processor bowl.  So…. smeared or smooshed, you get the idea.  You can add your bit of vanilla extract or whatever flavoring you like to the dates and it makes it a bit easier to get to the smeared stage.

Scrape all that down and add a bit of your coconut milk, and process so that the dates get incorporated into the coconut milk.  Continue scraping, adding coconut milk and processing until it is as smooth as possible.

Pour into ice cream maker and continue as directed by your machine’s manual.  With mine, it takes about 15-18 minutes, then put in containers and freeze.  Because homemade ice cream is really pure, it freezes very hard, so remove from freezer and either refrigerate for about 15 minutes or just set out on the counter for a few minutes before serving.  Just don’t forget it, or else you’ll be so disappointed that it’s melted!

This is a basic recipe, and it just begs for experimentation.  I’ve added chopped peaches, chopped bananas, pureed mangoes, had it just plain with a bit of vanilla and almond flavoring, and made a wonderful coconut version using coconut extract and pulverized unsweetened coconut (about 1/4 cup worked fine).  If anyone experiments, let me know what you come up with.  Or if you have any suggestions on flavors I should try, you can always suggest…!