Coconut Mint Ice Cream, Dairy Free with Banana Base

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I continue to experiment with the banana-based ice cream genre so well described at That Clean Life. With summer looming, I highly recommend this technique to anyone who has a blender or food processor and can tolerate bananas. This fruit has an opposite reaction to freezing compared to grapes, whose flavor amplifies with dropping temperature. Frozen pureed bananas have a neutral flavor that fades into the other ingredients mixed with it. Its pectin and fructose can lend the muscle of sugar and fat to an ice cream, and its masquerade is convincing. Deeply frozen, it melts like a full-fat ice cream on the tongue.

In this recipe, I found a tasty purpose for my leftover mint and shredded coconut.

Coconut Mint Ice Cream, Dairy Free with Banana Base

Makes 2 servings

2 medium sliced bananas, frozen

1/3 cup fresh mint

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Put bananas, mint, and vanilla extract in blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides of container periodically. Empty into freezer container and stir in coconut. Harden in the freezer for an hour, scoop into bowls, and enjoy.

Coconut Ice Cream

coconut ice cream

I could have titled this post ice cream experiment number four. Attempts two and three were valuable solely in teaching me firsthand what not to include in an ice cream recipe. Number two proved to me that fat free half and half produces a treat akin to the low budget ice milk of the 70’s that no one missed when it disappeared from grocery stores for good. Trial three taught me that ice cream does need some fat and natural sweetener, unless one has access to industrial strength churning facilities. I so wish I could report that I’d created a decent recipe for 30 calorie ice cream, but my daughter assured me that my mixture of unsweetened almond milk, espresso powder, and sucralose tasted like misery. That combo was so awful that I deleted my pictures of it because the memory of its flavor made me shudder.

This evening’s attempt was free of such calorie conscious nonsense.

Coconut Ice Cream

makes 10 servings

1 cup canned coconut milk

2 cups half and half

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 t coconut extract

1/4 t salt

Stir together all ingredients with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. At this point, the mixture can be poured directly into an ice cream maker, but I recommend pouring it first into a blender and pulsing a few times to make it smoother and easier to churn. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. This ice cream may be enjoyed freshly churned with a soft serve style consistency, or it may be hardened in the freezer before serving.

Coconut Frosting

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A traditional coconut cake should have a chiffon-style base, but I lack the patience to deal with separating eggs and folding whipped egg whites into the batter. Actually, I cook with eggs only when omitting them would destabilize a recipe. I just don’t like eggs at all. This evening I found an easy recipe for coconut cake on Pilsbury.com that did not require any egg separating. I skipped the frosting portion and made some of my own.

Coconut Frosting

Frosts a 2 layer cake generously

1 stick salted butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 lb powdered sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/2 t coconut extract

1 T half and half

14 oz bag sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Whip butter, cream cheese, half and half, and extracts with a mixer until well combined. Add powdered sugar. Mix on low until sugar is all moistened then whip on medium until fluffy.  Fold in 2 cups shredded coconut. Sprinkle the rest of the coconut on finished cake, pressing gently into surface of the icing.

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