Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mochanut Ice Cream

You may or may not know that I work from home part-time as a virtual assistant for bloggers. It just so happens that the majority of my clients are food bloggers. In the course of my work, I often get to drool over scrumptious looking food photos. In the past month or so, I've been drooling over ice cream photos for recipes like this Gingerbread Ice Cream, and this Coffee Coconut Ice Cream. Yummy!

As much as my family loves ice cream, I haven't really purchased it very frequently since we moved here to Virginia. Why? Well, I shop primarily at Trader Joe's and quite honestly, their ice cream prices are higher than I want to pay. So, I don't. Well, after reading so many posts about homemade ice cream, I just couldn't stop thinking about buying an ice cream maker. After obsessing about it for about a week or so, I finally used a gift card and a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream, Yogurt & Sorbet Maker for about $25 out-of-pocket. (You can get it at Amazon for about the same price as with the coupon at BB&B.)

I'm really looking forward to using this machine for lots of reasons. First off, I have such fond memories of making ice cream as a child. I want my girls to have that experience too. So far, so good. They LOVE watching the machine work. On a budgetary level, I'm hoping that we can enjoy ice cream more frequently in a way that is kind to our pocketbook. Lastly, I'm also hoping that I'll be able to develop some "healthier" versions of ice cream by experimenting with different ingredients.

I've seen dairy-free Coconut Ice Cream in the freezer at TJ's and thought that might be interesting to try. Well, since I love coconut and chocolate together, I thought that I'd combine the two. And well, I love coffee so I decided to add some of that too. Guided by Amy's recipe for Chai Coconut Ice Cream and some recipes in the Cuisinart ice cream maker recipe book, I came up with this recipe for Mochanut Ice Cream. You know, mocha (for the Chocolate + Espresso) and nut (for the Coconut). Yum! It actually reminds me a lot of chocolate pudding...a frozen chocolate pudding.

Mochanut Ice Cream

1 can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar*
1/2 cup freshly brewed espresso -- I make it like this
3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder, sifted (I used 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder, 1/4 cup regular)
1 can regular coconut milk (full-fat)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pour the light coconut milk in a small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and let it sit for several minutes to soften. Over medium heat, warm the light coconut milk until the gelatin dissolves. Add the espresso and sugar, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the cocoa powder a little at a time and whisk to combine.

Pour the full fat coconut milk into to a blender. Add the contents of the saucepan and the vanilla extract. Blend until combined. Pour into a glass jar (or jars) and chill overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. It took about 20 minutes in mine. Transfer to storage container and freeze for a couple of hours if you want harder ice cream.

*If you want to make it sugar free, try what Amy does in her Chai Coconut Ice Cream. I plan on trying it one day...I just haven't been able to find liquid stevia around here. It's on my to-do list, though.

Do you have a favorite homemade ice cream recipe? Please share it in the comments!
For other dessert recipes, be sure to check out Ultimate Recipe Swap at LifeasMOM.
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