There’s a local ice cream shop here in Seattle—Bluebird Creamery—that makes some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. They always carry two vegan flavors—Horchata and Coconut Mint Chip. They also make a vanilla and it comes with the vegan molten lava chocolate cake at Hotcakes—a fun little dessert spot in Ballard that also always features at least one vegan dessert. I love the vanilla flavor, but they don’t carry it at the regular ice cream shop, it’s just available for wholesale. I once asked the guy at the store why this was and he said that because it has a coconut milk base it has a bit of a coconut taste and it confused people. I don’t even know where to start with that. How is it confusing to eat ice cream? None the less, I set off on a mission to create my own coconut vanilla ice cream at home!
Now here’s where it gets really good—I’ve made this ice cream with no added sugar! It’s sweetened only with dates, which have their own naturally occurring sugar. I know some people are really strict about any sugar at all, but for my purposes dates are a healthy choice for a sweetener!
This ice cream comes together with just 4 ingredients. FOUR! Because the ingredient list is so short, the ingredients matter! I like using a regular full fat coconut milk (Whole Foods brand and Thai Kitchen are both good, so is Native Forrest). I am starting to back away from using the heavier coconut cream from Trader Joe’s because sometimes I think the taste is a little too strong. For the vanilla, I have been using a jar of vanilla bean scraping—sometimes called vanilla “caviar.” It’s really convenient if you like to bake a lot, and gives such a yummy vanilla flavor! More so than from a bottle of vanilla extract. If you don’t have it, or don’t want to buy a bottle of it simply slice a vanilla bean pod down the middle and scrape it out.
This vanilla ice cream is the perfect thing to top your favorite pie, brownie, or birthday cake, and is absolutely delicious topped with chocolate chips and caramel sauce (yep, Hotcakes makes a vegan caramel sauce too—seriously—Seattle’s the best!). Go ahead and make up a quick batch! Be sure to take a picture, post it on Instagram, and tag it with #frieddandelions! You’re going to love it!
Need more ice cream?
Salted Caramel Pretzel Chunk Ice Cream
Candy Cane Ice Cream
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream
Apple Pie Ice Cream
Almond Joy Ice Cream
Banana Peach Nice Cream
Cherry Garcia Ice Cream
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
Coconilla Ice Cream, makes 1 pint
1 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk
6 medjool dates, pitted (if yours seem dry you can soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes)
1/4 t vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean scraped out (see notes above)
pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and all chunks of the dates have been broken down (you’ll still see little flecks of the skin, but that’s ok). Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions. I’ve been really happy with my little Cuisinart ice cream maker. Once the ice cream has frozen (will be a soft serve consistency), transfer it to an airtight container. Place a piece of parchment right on the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn, and cover it with it’s lid. Allow it to firm up in the freezer for about 3 hours and then enjoy!