When it comes to dessert my soft spot is ice cream. So much so that I have little, if any, restraint when it comes to portion size. And there’s no question about it – my last meal would almost certainly be a big tub of ice cream. In recent years, in my quest to avoid added sugar, I’ve become very aware of the scary amount of sugar in ice cream. Not wanting to give up my favourite treat has led me to experiment with making home-made ice cream (without the need for a fancy machine).
Most recently I’ve made coconut milk ice cream. Yes the coconut craze has moved into the ice cream category. First there was coconut oil and butter, then coconut water, and now coconut milk ice cream is popping up everywhere. The only problem is that coconut milk ice cream typically comes with a relatively expensive price tag – and this is what led me to making my own.
This recipe is so simple and quick and also boasts being lactose free and paleo. For the fruit and flavour you can use either ripe bananas or fresh strawberries. The end result is so tasty you’ll wish you had discovered it years ago. So arm yourself with a tin of coconut milk and some fruit give it a go….
- 1 cup / 250ml good quality full fat coconut milk (see tips)
- 2 medium bananas or 3 small bananas (or you could use 250g fresh strawberries)
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Steps to prepare
- Add the coconut milk and bananas (or strawberries) to a large bowl and mix until you have a smooth even consistency. Add the optional cinnamon too.
- If you’re using high quality coconut milk (that’s over 80% coconut on the ingredients) then you can probably add 2 tbsp water as well.
- Transfer the mixture into a glass or ceramic bowl and transfer to the freeze.
- Every 30 minutes or so, for three hours, churn the ice cream using a fork to avoid ice crystals forming.
- Consume after five to six hours or allow to chill overnight for a firmer result.
A can of coconut milk is a can of coconut milk right? Wrong. I checked the labels on four or five brands at different price points and quickly realised that the cheaper brands are typically 50% coconut milk (or less). The remainder is water and often added emulsifiers, gum and thickeners. I found the best brand to be Ayam – although more expensive it has 82% coconut kernel extract and no added nasties. So don’t buy the first tin you see (or the cheapest) – check the labels first.
Don’t be tempted to be ‘healthier’ by buying ‘light’ or ‘low fat’ coconut milk. Nutritionally the type fat in coconut milk is so good for you – hence the coconut craze I spoke of earlier. Removing fat removes some of the nutritional benefits so choose full fat coconut milk and enjoy a home-made ice cream that avoids all of the added sugar that comes in standard ice cream.
Coconut milk – nutritional information
Coconut milk is low carb, and rich in vitamins and minerals. A 100ml serving contains 154 calories, 15g fat and 3.4g carbohydrates. The fat is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids and is thought to be used quickly by the liver for energy – and so is less likely to be store as fat. Unlike cow’s milk coconut milk is also lactose free.
You can read more on coconut in this article from BBC Good Food.
By Feast Wisely
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