When you give up dairy and sugar, there is a hole in your heart where ice cream used to live. Since ice cream is basically made of cream and sugar, it is on the 'no no' list. Luckily, there is a brilliant workaround to cheat the system. Coconut milk is a well-known vegan option for dairy free ice cream. It usually requires powdered sugar so I figured out how to make my own with coconut sugar, an unrefined but still very classy sweetener that is low on the glycemic index. Saved by the coconut! (I am channeling Jessie Spano circa her addiction to caffeine pills on Saved by the Bell, singing 'I'm So Excited' - anyone??).
Words cannot express how amazing this dairy free ice cream is. Seriously. Dave typically enjoys some Ben & Jerry's when his sweet tooth strikes but that has been (voluntarily!) replaced by this deliciousness. Believe it or not, the taste of this ice cream is somehow better than regular, old, boring vanilla ice cream.
The topping of this ice cream was inspired by the most amazing ice cream I've ever had in my life. Anyone who knows me has heard about it at some point because I cannot move on from how ridiculously good it was. Years ago, I went to a Greek restaurant on the Baltimore waterfront. I sadly cannot remember the name but they served baklava ice cream with pomegranate seeds for dessert. Prior to my fill-in-the-blank-free days, baklava was hands down my favorite dessert. This topping lets me still enjoy the taste of baklava without the gluten filled phyllo dough. The honey, walnuts and cinnamon recreate the sweetness with an unexpected tart explosion from the seeds. Heaven. In. A. Dish. You are really doing yourself a disservice if you don't try this dessert at least once... #feelinglikeakidagain
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 4 to 6 hours (I am serious. But please keep reading. It is so worth it!)
Fresh From the Market:
- 4 tbsp. Pomegranate Seeds
From the Pantry:
- 1 can Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 3/4 c. Coconut Sugar
- 4 tbsp. Chopped Walnuts
- 1 3/4 tsp. Arrowroot (or Corn Starch)
- 2 tsp. Raw Honey
From the Spice Rack:
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- Food Processor or Blender
Note: Pop the can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes. If you are planning ahead, just put it in the fridge!
- First thing is first. In order to make the ice cream, we need powdered sugar. Since we are outsmarting the system, we need to make our own unrefined powdered sugar.
- Mix the 3/4 c. coconut sugar and the 1 3/4 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch together in a food processor or blender. Grind together for 15 seconds or until it looks like a little powder tornado.
- Fabulous. Now add the entire can of full fat coconut milk. The top usually hardens but don't plunge the spoon too hard, as the rest will be milky. Next, add the vanilla extract. Tip: you can also use a 14 oz. can of coconut cream, mixed with 2 tbsp. of light unsweetened coconut milk if you want an even creamier dairy free ice cream.
- Blend the mixture in your food processor or blender. If you don't have an ice cream maker (like me), pour it into a jar or stainless steel container and freeze for several hours. Check on it periodically and stir. Once it has the consistency of ice cream, it is ready to be served! Tip: it helps to pop this in the freezer the night before or in the morning so you can enjoy your dairy free ice cream without the wait!
- Now hold on, you're not done. Now it's time to prepare the toppings! This will take less than 5 minutes so hop to it once your ice cream is frozen.
- Either zap the 4 tbsp. walnuts in the food processor or chop them with a mallet.
- Since the dairy free ice cream serves 4, the toppings are meant to top each of the four ice cream servings. Cut the measurements down accordingly, if you are making less than 4 half-cup servings.
- Mix the chopped walnuts, honey and cinnamon together to make your baklava topping. I mean, it is seriously just as good, sans phyllo dough. I am beyond excited that I can still enjoy this treat, guilt and bloat free.
- Spoon the pomegranate seeds, followed by the baklava topping, onto the dairy free ice cream.
Enjoy this as an evening dessert or even serve after the main course as a weekend brunch recipe. And please tell me what you think. I hope you love it. I love it so much that I don't even mind doing the dishes. That is a bigger deal than you realize. For reasons unknown, my least favorite thing to do in the world is the dishes. I am lucky enough to have Dave, a wonderful man who does them in exchange for food. Even the dishes are a labor of love around this dessert <3
Looking for more gluten free and dairy free dessert recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check these out!