Chai Spiced Coconut Ice Cream

Seems like everybody is free of something these days, except food allergies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, fruit-free (yes, I actually just met someone who is allergic to all fruits)–you name it, and I’m sure there’s someone out there who is allergic to it. I used to think that allergies were tiresome excuses for a person to be a picky eater. And admittedly, I sort of still do. Is all of this free-from-something making us healthier or is it just making us more annoying than we already are?

I personally find my celiac disease very annoying, indeed. Over the last year and a half since my diagnoses, I’ve gone from an extensive interview process of the entire restaurant staff of their food handling practices and gluten-free food making abilities, to saying…eh, if there isn’t anything on the menu I can eat, there is always wine.  Eating safely out of the home is sometimes usually an exhausting prospect. And sometimes, just sometimes I’d rather not be the one who makes the chef roll his eyes. Occasionally, if I’m on a rebellious streak, I’ve even been known to eat chips that have come out of a shared fryer.Gasp!

Before you get your panties in bunch, I’m not suggesting that a cavalier attitude towards my disease is a good thing. But as I’ve relaxed over the year, I think my mental health has improved, if not the health of my intestines. But all kidding aside, I’m still feeling good. Very good.

dairy & refined sugar free

Back to the ever-trending (and yes slightly-annoying-but-totally-necessary-free-from foods), I decided to make chai infused ice cream from coconut milk. Not because it’s dairy free, but because I like coconut milk quite a bit. And I sweetened it with honey not because I’m scared of refined sugar, but because I take my chai tea with honey and I thought they would be complimentary flavors.

Not surprisingly, they are.

It was my first attempt at making coconut milk ice cream and I was pleasantly surprised. It does indeed lack the smooth, creamy mouth-feel of dairy ice cream that I love so much, but it is still rich and wonderful. Happily I can serve it to my friends and family who are dairy free. And I can serve it to my friends who are avoiding refined sugar. But I can’t serve it to my vegan friends. Ah well…you can’t please everyone.

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I think this ice cream would taste smashing over a slice of peach pie or even better, use it to make a ginger-beer float. Yes.

Chai Spiced Coconut Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 13.5 ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2-2/3 cup honey
  • 4 chai teabags (I used Tazo Organic Chai)
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pure (gluten-free) vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat the coconut milk and honey in a medium sauce pan until bubbles form around the edge of the pan and it is about to start simmering. Whisk to make sure the honey is evenly incorporated. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the teabags and allow them to steep in the hot milk for 30 minutes. Gently squeeze the bags to release any extra flavors into the pot and dispose of them.
  3. Grate the ginger (it’s not necessary to peel) on the fine side of the grater over a paper towel. Gather the paper towel around the grated ginger and gently squeeze the ginger into the coconut mixture to release the ginger juice, and add the vanilla & sea salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 2-3 hours.
  5. Remove the coconut milk mixture from the fridge and pour into a blender. Cover and blend, to make sure that any solidified bits of fat are smooth.
  6. Pour into the frozen base of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers directions.

Article Courtesy:  Alison Needham