Coconut Ice Cream with Caramel and Fudge Ribbons

coconut ice cream caramel fudge

As I mentioned yesterday, the pièce de résistance of our Oscar Sunday was this Coconut Ice Cream with Caramel and Fudge Ribbons. It's easily one of the best ice creams I've ever made, and almost makes the lack of dairy in my life completely bearable. Oh, that's right - those three glorious gooey scoops have absolutely zero dairy. I concocted this recipe solely for the purpose of testing the limits of dairy free-dom... could there be such a thing as a dairy free ice cream I'd crave even after my dairy free days are behind me? Well, I'm happy to say I think I've found it. Here's how to make it...

Note that you don't have to make any of this dairy free. Just use regular heavy cream and butter where noted in the sauce ingredients. For the ice cream, make a regular vanilla ice cream base, substituting half the milk with coconut milk.

You'll need to make everything separately - the caramel sauce, the hot fudge sauce, and the coconut ice cream. Yes, it's a lot of steps, but both sauce recipes make way more than you'll need for the ice cream, so you could make the ice cream 3 or 4 more times and only have to make the sauces once. Or you could just grab a spoon and eat the leftover sauce right out of the jar. I won't judge. Either way, you'll need to start by making my faux heavy cream using a couple cans of coconut milk.

Coconut milk heavy cream substitute

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of full fat coconut milk (I recommend Thai Kitchen brand)

Directions:

Open both cans of coconut milk and spoon the coconut fat ONLY (the thick white stuff at the top) into a medium size bowl. Then, add all of the liquid from one can and half of the liquid from the other can into the bowl. Whisk until smooth. Note that this will appear much thicker than regular heavy cream. That's okay. (I tried thinner - and even thinner than that - versions and this thickness worked best.)

Dairy Free Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1¼ cups coconut milk heavy cream substitute (or regular heavy cream if not making it dairy free)
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir. Measure out the coconut milk heavy cream substitute in a liquid measuring cup and set aside. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat. Carefully whisk in half of the coconut milk heavy cream substitute. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.

If you're attempting this recipe, you really must read this post by David Lebovitz on making the perfect caramel. Even following his extremely helpful advice, it took me 3 tries to get the caramel just right. It's tricky, but it's so worth it.

Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Dairy Free Hot Fudge Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut milk heavy cream substitute (or regular heavy cream if not making it dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (if you don't have dark, just use light and add a teaspoon of molasses)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dairy free butter substitute (I like Earth Balance), cut into small pieces (or use regular salted butter if not making it dairy free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Mix the cream, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook stirring frequently, for 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Serve warm.

(This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Rewarm gently in the microwave or by stirring in a saucepan over very low heat)

Alright, with the special ingredients all prepped, you're ready to make the ice cream!

Coconut Ice Cream with Caramel and Hot Fudge Ribbons

Ingredients:

  • 2 14 oz. cans of full fat coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp raw honey
  • Caramel sauce
  • Hot fudge sauce
  • ice cream maker

Directions:

Set up a double boiler by placing a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (be sure it’s simmering and not a full rolling boil, as this will give you better control later). Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stirring fairly frequently, heat until the coconut milk is hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs well in a separate bowl. Once the coconut milk is hot, add a ladleful to the eggs while you’re whisking – you want to bring the eggs up to the temperature of the coconut milk without scrambling them. Add in another ladleful of hot coconut milk to the egg mixture while whisking. Take the now hot egg mixture and whisk it into the bowl of coconut milk on the double boiler.

Now, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard. This may take several minutes. If it’s getting too hot and starting to scramble, remove from the heat immediately but keep whisking, then return it to the double boiler. Once it has thickened to a custard, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool.

Once the custard is cool enough for you to stick your finger in it and hold it there without burning, whisk in the raw honey. Put the custard base in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight). Freeze in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Spoon a small amount of the ice cream into a large, sealable bowl. Then spread a small layer of the fudge sauce onto the ice cream. Spoon more of the ice cream into the bowl, then a layer of caramel, then more ice cream, etc. Keep going, working in layers until all of the ice cream is in the bowl. Now run a butter knife through the ice cream (I found a figure eight worked well, but use whatever motion you'd like - just make sure not to overmix!)

That's it! Okay, I know it seems like a lot of work. But, I promise it's worth it. Especially if you love ice cream but can't have dairy. And it's perfect for kids with dairy allergies who never get to enjoy fun stuff like caramel sauce and hot fudge. My heart aches for their deprived taste buds.

Please, please let me know if you make this or if you're thinking about attempting it and have any questions!

coconut cookies & cream ice cream

I know this combination of flavors might seem a little strange - coconut and Oreos? But I promise you, it's delicious. This is one of the best ice creams I've ever made, and easily the best dairy free ice cream I've ever made (I've only made two, but the first one was pretty bleh.) If you like coconut (or if you're a nursing mama whose baby still can't tolerate real milk and have learned to embrace coconut), you really need to try this...

Ingredients:

  • 2 14 oz. cans of Thai Kitchen full fat coconut milk (brand matters here... I've tried other brands and they're not nearly as good)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp raw honey
  • Oreos (I used about 15, but I like a lot of cookie in my cookies and cream)
  • ice cream maker

Directions:

Set up a double boiler by placing a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (be sure it's simmering and not a full rolling boil, as this will give you better control later). Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. Stirring fairly frequently, heat until the coconut milk is hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs well in a separate bowl. Once the coconut milk is hot, add a ladleful to the eggs while you're whisking - you want to bring the eggs up to the temperature of the coconut milk without scrambling them. Add in another ladleful of hot coconut milk to the egg mixture while whisking. Take the now hot egg mixture and whisk it into the bowl of coconut milk on the double boiler.

Now, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard. This may take several minutes. If it's getting too hot and starting to scramble, remove from the heat immediately but keep whisking, then return it to the double boiler. Once it has thickened to a custard, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool.

Once the custard is cool enough for you to stick your finger in it and hold it there without burning, whisk in the raw honey. Put the custard base in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight). Freeze in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer's instructions, adding in the Oreo cookie chunks once the mixture has started to freeze a bit.

Straight out of the machine this ice cream has a creamy soft serve texture. If you store it in the freezer for later, just let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before eating to let it soften up a little bit.

Recipe adapted from Caveman Food

no moo for me

I mentioned in my Link Love post a couple weeks ago that I had to give up dairy for a while because Emma is super sensitive to milk protein. We thought we just had a really fussy baby on our hands, but after describing her symptoms (I'll spare you the details) my lactation consultant suggested cutting out dairy to see if they improve. A life without dairy sounded truly awful. Just look at my bio... cheese and ice cream are among my favorite things in the whole world! BUT, this is my baby we're talking about - and if cutting out dairy meant a happier, less gassy, etc. (trust me you don't want me to elaborate) baby, then it was worth it. So off I went, kicking and screaming (okay, mostly just whining and pouting) into the land of the dairy-free. And within 48 hours, Emma was like a whole new baby. She slept better during the day, she fussed WAY less, and her diapers were far more pleasant to change - well, as pleasant as that sort of thing can be. As much as I hated cutting out dairy, I found myself wishing we'd known to try it much sooner than 2 months in.

So what can't I eat? More than you'd think... milk, butter, cheese, ice cream... the list goes on and on and on. My biggest challenges so far have been eating out and traveling. I now have to be that person who asks what stuff was cooked in, does it have this, does it have that. It's not the asking I mind so much, it's the having to make sure all the things I really want to be included are left off the plate. It's amazing how much stuff includes dairy. Stuff you wouldn't think - like BBQ potato chips. I will say that the FDA has done a fantastic job of updating the labeling requirements for packaged foods. It very clearly states on most foods "CONTAINS MILK." Very helpful.

Where does that leave me? Well, wouldn't you know it - Emma's also sensitive to soy (which is fairly common among babies with a milk protein intolerance), which is unfortunate because there seems to be a soy substitute for almost every dairy thing you can think of. So, I replaced regular milk for almond milk in my cereal. My favorite brand I've tried is Almond Breeze (Original.) I replaced coconut ice cream for the real thing (a poor substitute, but it helps partially fill a gaping void.) If we absolutely have to use butter in something we use these Earth Balance vegan "buttery sticks." I've found myself pulling Elie Krieger's book The Food You Crave off the shelf quite a bit because healthier recipes often get that way because they exclude dairy.

I'm nearly 2 months in, and while it has gotten easier, I still have to fight the urge to start gnawing on the big block of Tillamook cheddar that's currently in our fridge. I thought an upside to all this would be that the rest of my pregnancy weight would fall off, but I've been hitting the coconut milk ice cream pretty hard in an effort to curb my dairy cravings, so I've only lost another pound or 2. I really am going to have to start working out again. Depressing.

I've read that a lot of babies grow out of their milk protein intolerance around 6 months, which would be just in time for the holidays. I've already let Santa know that all this girl wants for Christmas is a pint of Haagen Dazs in one hand, some baked brie in the other, and a gigantic chocolate milkshake to wash it all down with. Yep, definitely going to have to start working out again.

PS... did you know that Oreos are completely dairy free??! It's sort of frightening that a chocolate wafer and cream cookie has zero dairy in it... but not so frightening that I won't eat them. Let's not get crazy here, folks.