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.