June 7, 2013
CHAI COCONUT ICE CREAM
I made this ice cream for a few different reasons. First, chai is one of my favorite flavors (and my guilty-pleasure drink at Starbucks). Second, I was super curious about dairy-free, egg-free, naturally-sweetened ice cream. Would the consistency be "right?" How would it scoop? Would it taste fatty enough to even pass as ice cream?
But really / thirdly, I made this ice cream because Kathleen wanted me to. She linked me to this recipe months ago, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I wanted to test it out to see if it was worth making when she visits me in Michigan this summer. I have this pretty detailed fantasy of us watching the sun set on the beach after a long day of swimming, sauna-ing, kayaking (or just laying around doing nothing), pigging out on this delicious, vegan-ish, not-terribly-bad-for-you ice cream and reveling in how awesome our lives are. It's an incredibly romantic fantasy, I know.
And guess what? This ice cream turned out (surprisingly?) AMAZING. I used cornstarch instead of arrowroot, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I was worried about the coconut flavor being too strong, but the tea, honey (I used local raw honey that added a nice complexity), and spices came through beautifully. The texture is exactly like "regular" ice cream, it scoops like a dream, and it tastes like... well, ice cream. It was also one of the easiest (and quickest, prep-time-wise) ice creams I've ever made, since you don't have to deal with tempering egg yolks or thickening dairy. I've been making ice cream sandwiches with it ever since this happened - perfect beyond words.
So, obviously, I'll be making this again this summer. It's also made me curious to try other coconut milk-based ice creams – maybe wild blueberry, or lime-basil (everybody!: put the lime in the coconut...).