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Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

Even since I had an amazingly delicious coconut ice cream in Paris, I’ve wanted to make up a batch of it at home. That ice cream was amazing, creamy and full of shredded coconut. There are lots of coconut ice cream recipes out there to choose from, but since I wanted to maximize the coconut flavor in mine, I wanted to choose a recipe that used coconut milk, either in addition to cream or instead of it. I ended up trying the coconut ice cream from The Vegan Scoop. The cookbook is all vegan/nondairy ice creams and their coconut caught my eye because it only used coconut milk (not soy milk and, being a vegan book, obviously not any cream), as well as shredded coconut.

The ice cream was easy to make and turned out to be delicious. It was creamy and smooth, and seemed to taste a little lighter and more refreshing than some other coconut ice creams I’ve tried. It froze and softened up again (for seconds) nicely, without getting icy or turning into a sorbet-like consistency. The ice cream uses arrowroot starch as a thickener, not eggs. You could get away with using cornstarch as a thickener in its place if you don’t want to buy a batch just to try this recipe. That said, if you’re planning to try others from the book – they all look good – it might be worth picking up a small bag, since all the recipes call for this thickener.

I made a few small changes to the recipe as it was written. I used 800 ml coconut milk instead of the 825 ml called for in the original recipe because my cans of coconut milk each hold 400 ml, and I didn’t want to open another can just for a few tablespoons of liquid. I didn’t add coconut extract, as was suggested to boost the coconut flavor, to see how the natural flavor stood out on its own. I also doubled the amount of shredded coconut that I mixed into the ice cream. I love the chewiness that the coconut adds and you can’t beat the flavor. Unsweetened and sweetened coconut will both work in this recipe. It’s not particularly sweet on its own, and sweetened coconut will not make it too sweet if you choose to use it.

Coconut Ice Cream
(from The Vegan Scoop)
800 ml (approx 3 1/4 cups/2 cans) coconut milk
2 tbsp arrowroot starch
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the coconut milk with arrowroot starch. Whisk well to combine.
In a medium saucepan, combine the rest of the coconut milk with the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in arrowroot starch and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or overnight.
Freeze coconut ice cream base in an ice cream making, following the manufacturers’ directions. Add in shredded coconut (run a knife through it to chop it finely, especially if the strands are big) during the last few minutes of churning. Add in the full 1 1/2 cups if you like coconut, otherwise reduce the amount to just 1 cup.
Serve, or transfer to a freezer-safe container and chill until ready to serve.
Top with chocolate sauce and more shredded coconut to serve, if desired.

Serves 6-8, makes 1-qt.

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  • lana
    June 26, 2009

    Can this be made without an ice cream maker? Would love to try this recipe but I don’t have an ice cream maker.

  • Michele
    June 26, 2009

    This looks so amazing. I love coconut ice cream

  • tracieMoo
    June 26, 2009

    Aww.. I’m craving for ice cream already..

  • pumpkinpie
    June 27, 2009

    I just discovered a new product in my store: sweetened condensed coconut milk. It seems destined for my ice cream machine!

  • Lisa
    June 28, 2009

    WOW, that ice cream looks delicious. I used to freeze Goya cream of coconut mixed with a little milk in ice cube trays for little frozen coconut treats, but now it’s time for some real coconut ice cream, and yours looks perfect! Thank you fo posting the recipe!

  • Laura
    June 28, 2009

    Wow . . . This looks so good. And with chocolate on top–yum–like a frozen Mounds bar!

  • Ashley
    June 28, 2009

    Oh wow wow wow! This is the most perfect sounding coconut ice cream! I love that it uses both shredded coconut and coconut milk.

  • Kushal Kanthil
    March 23, 2010

    That sounds so great. I am fond of eatables made from coconut and a ice cream would definitely be a yes. I am waiting to try this out at home this weekend.

  • jdmk20a
    March 23, 2010

    wow this looks delicious. I have to try it…

  • No Marks Cream
    April 19, 2010

    coconut ice-cream taste yuum..and now i gt the recipe thanks you so very much

  • It looks extremely tasty

  • Lauren (PB&G)
    February 8, 2011

    This looks PERFECT for Valentine’s Day/my anniversary/belated Chinese New Year celebration! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Nicole, What do you think about using agave syrup instead of the sugar? I know that a lot of folks who are eating vegan are also trying to eliminate using refined sugar as well. Thanks!, Kath

  • Nicole
    July 15, 2011

    Kathy – Since agave is liquid, it often cannot be substituted directly for sugar and achieve the same result. Agave can work in this recipe (or other ice cream recipes), but you might need to do a little experimentation and reduce the liquid in the recipe slightly as well as replacing the sugar with agave .

  • Thanks Nicole! It’s worth playing around with… But maybe for this one, we just need to enjoy a little good ol’ fashioned sugar! 🙂 Everything in moderation!


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