Nuts for Coconuts

Coconut was not always a part of my culinary repertoire. In fact, as a child, I don't even think I knew what coconut was since my mother did not like it at all.

But because David loves coconut, I have been reintroduced to it over the years and I've got to say that I really like it now. No, not that overly sweetened, flaky stuff in a bag (though that does make amazing coconut macaroons). I'm specifically referring to the fresh coconuts carefully plucked from a palm tree. 

I particularly learned to love them when we lived in Mexico. We would get fresh coconuts delivered to us. Actually, "delivered" is not exactly how they arrived. Rather, one of our employees would climb a palm tree and, using a machete, hack a coconut or two or three or four. Meanwhile, another employee would catch the coconut(s) as they fell. 

Picture courtesy of McLotorcycle Diaries
who coincidentally, or not, shares the same blog theme as I do.

Then they would crack open the coconut, pour the clear water in a glass full of ice, though sometimes we would just stick a straw in the whole coconut and drink the glorious water. After sipping the water, we would gleefully scoop out the wet coconut flesh. Later we would crack the coconut and break into the hard meat and chew on that, as well. As you can see, it was all a very ceremonial experience.

Our chef, Sabino, would make the most spectacular nieve de coco (coconut ice milk that is like a sorbet) and we were entranced at the first bite. Suffice it to say, I have since become a big fan of coconut water, coconut milk and almost anything coconut. So when I came across this recipe for coconut ice cream, I put it on my list of "things to make."

And I'm glad I did.

In addition to being delicious and lactose-free, coconut milk has immense health benefits. Though keep in mind that it is high in calories and fat, so consume it judiciously.

Truthfully, this ice cream is so satisfying, you'll be completely content with a single scoop. So go and dust off your ice cream maker and make yourself something that will cool you off in more than one way.

Buen provecho!

Coconut-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
The Cowgirl Gourmet found this recipe on one of my favorite gluten-free websites, Elana's Pantry

Print recipe

I was impressed with this ice cream, especially since it has just 2 Tablespoons of sugar and is lactose-free. I used a combination of dark chocolate chips and semi-sweet, as I was a little concerned that it would not be sweet enough and I am glad I did. Adding just 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chips gave it just the right amount of sweetness. The next time I make it, I am going to add a Tablespoon of vodka. Alcohol always makes creamier ice cream...

1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cups dark chocolate chips and/or semi-sweet
1 Tablespoon vodka (to keep it super creamy), optional

Place coconut milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a blender or Vitamix. Blend thoroughly until smooth and well combined.

Add the chocolate chips in and blend briefly so they become smaller pieces. You'll notice that the milk will become more mocha-colored because of the chips. This is the desired effect.

Process according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

When you are ready to serve, allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes so it softens a bit.

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