No Need to Live Without

Food allergies. They are all the rage. More and more people these days are living without. Without gluten. Fat. Dairy. Wheat. Salt. Meat. Corn. Soy. Things with faces. Grains. Nuts. Sugar. Whether by choice or by diagnosis.

Considering I wasn't able to drink milk or eat chocolate until I was 12 years old without breaking out in a lovely rash on my arms, I am quite sensitive to the realities of food allergies and food sensitivities. I guess those daily allergy shots I took throughout my childhood were good for something...or not.

As I get wiser (as opposed to older), I am aware that different foods have vastly different affects on me. Which is why I have recently opted to go dairy-free.

Fortunately, I am no longer forced to consider carob ice cream my "special treat." For years my mother made this and all I remember is while everyone else was eating chocolate or ice cream, I suffered through this frozen brown substance that looked and tasted like chalk.

Today, however, the options are immense. And while I am not a big fan of soy milk or rice milk, and hemp milk is definitely a "no thanks" (although the Tempt ice cream is a whole different story!), almond milk has been my go to dairy-free milk of choice. Until now.

Now, I am a coconut milk fan! Loaded with MFCA's (medium chained fatty acids fight off harmful parasites), this is a good-for-you-non-dairy-milk that won't make you feel like you've been drinking milk, but will serve as a great creamer in your coffee, milk for your cereal or Cowgirl Granola and even milk for making ice cream!!

Last week, I made chocolate ice cream using coconut milk and a little organic half and half and whole milk. The ice cream was dreamy...but it did have a touch of dairy and yummy, creamy 70% dark chocolate. As you can imagine, it got rave reviews from my testers—and they are a tough crew, let me tell you!

So this week, I decided to go all out and use only coconut milk and coconut milk creamer. To challenge myself even more, I made plain ole' vanilla. I mean really, if vanilla can be good, chocolate will be even better, right?

And the vanilla is good, but clearly not great. And definitely not as good as the chocolate was, but you can't win them all. So, if you can enjoy a bit of dairy, the recipe that follows is my recommendation for a perfectly delicious and mostly dairy-free treat. 

I'm guessing if you make this no one will even know it's not 100% super premium ice cream. Shhh...if you don't tell them it's good for them, I won't either!!

Buen provecho!

While this picture and the ones below are obviously the vanilla frozen dessert,
let's just pretend it's chocolate. The chocolate frozen dessert I made last week
was so darn good it disappeared before I could take pictures!

Totally Chocolate Mostly Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from the June 2006 issue of Bon Appetit

Print recipe

Makes about 1 quart

I have been making this recipe in various forms for years and I just love it. I think mostly because it calls for no eggs, which makes me feel less guilty about eating it.

You can add a bit of espresso powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, crushed toffee bits, marshmallows, nuts, more chocolate chips, whatever you want. I've used raw milk, whole milk, fat free and almond milk and now coconut milk. I've also eliminated the cocoa powder and used 5 ounces of dark chocolate. Play around with it and see what ingredients you like best.

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, optional
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups coconut milk (whole milk or raw milk)
Pinch of salt
3-4 ounces 70% dark chocolate, chopped or broken into pieces
1/2 cup organic half and half or heavy whipping cream

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon and espresso powder, if using, in a heavy medium saucepan until blended. Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in remaining 1 3/4 cups milk.

Over medium-high heat, continue whisking until mixture thickens and comes to boil, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute longer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Transfer gelato base to medium bowl. Mix in cream. Place bowl over larger bowl filled with ice and water and cool, stirring often, about 30 minutes. At this point, you may choose to refrigerate the cream mixture for a few hours to thoroughly chill it or make ice cream right away.
Process gelato base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding anything like toffee bits, marshmallows, nuts or chocolate chips during last minute of churning.
Transfer to container and cover. Freeze at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

The trick to eating homemade ice cream is to let is soften a bit before eating. This brings out the rich flavors and significantly improves the consistency.
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