I’m two weeks late for my Father’s Day post. Let’s just say things have been a little hectic around here, but we’re emerging from the storm and it’s time to get cooking again! While my post on Father’s Day is late, our family celebration was right on time! We had a great evening celebrating my dad and Irving with my parents, David, and my sister Gracie. The good thing about having such a big family, and living near home base, aka my parents, is that even when you’re all really spread out—Chicago, New York, California, Seattle—there’s always somebody in town!
Giving gifts to my dad is always tricky. What do you get for the man who funded your every need through college, sent you to said college, taught you 50% of everything you know (Mom gets credit for the other 50%!), and now has added to his role by being Grandpa to your baby boy? Buying a new shirt or tie seems kind of trivial, and frankly, my dad could buy himself anything he really wanted anyway. What’s a girl to do? Two things.
First, remember that book your dad wrote 5 years ago? Yes, 5. Read it. While I have always known that my dad is a pretty smart guy, and have been amazed at his stories of global travels, reading all of his stories and message in one place is pretty impressive. Why did it take my 5 years to read? I have lots of excuses, but the bottom line is that it shouldn’t have! I “gifted” my dad my reading of his book, just in time for his new book
to come out. I promise, it won’t take me 5 years to read this one!
For those of you who don’t know my dad, he’s the president of World Vision US, a relief and development company that works in third world countries, helping to meet the needs of those much less fortunate than anyone who has access to the internet to read this blog post. We’re talking about children who don’t have access to clean water, a reliable food source, and shelter. His book tells the story of The Hole in Our Gospel—how many of us have conveniently looked past the very real needs of our far away neighbors. It’s a challenging book (the message, not the writing), and its message lingers with you long after you’ve finished. It’s hard to look away from the problems of poverty once you know they exist! The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make a very real difference in someone’s life! For more information about how you can help even one person, click here!
The second thing you do for Father’s Day—remember, there were two things—is that you make ice cream! My dad has a serious sweet tooth. My mom is the real baker in our family, and my dad has definitely encouraged this. A few weeks ago I was brainstorming about ice cream flavors and I though of maple bacon. And since my dad loves maple donuts and also loves bacon I thought he’d be the right person to make it for. But this isn’t just any maple bacon ice cream, this is VEGAN maple bacon ice cream! Oh yes! This is what you give to the person who needs nothing!
I made my own “bacon” out of large flake coconut. And while you would never mistake it for the bacon that one might normally see next to eggs at a diner, it definitely has the same smoky taste reminiscent of the bacon I grew up with. I made a small batch of the bacon and swirled it into my made-from-scratch coconut milk maple ice cream base. Delicious! If you love flavors like salted caramel, this sweet and savory combo will be your new favorite!
Maple Bacon Ice Cream
2 cans coconut milk
¾ c maple syrup, grade B preferably, for it’s rich flavor
1 t vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped (if you don’t have a vanilla bean, increase vanilla extract to 1 T)
1-3 T vodka, or light rum (the rum will affect the taste, but is delicious!), optional
¼ t salt
½ c coconut bacon, recipe below
- Commercially made ice cream is churned in an ice cream maker that whips air into the ice cream, leaving it lighter and more “scoopable” after being frozen. To keep your ice cream soft and easy to scoop, you can add vodka, or other alcohol, to your ice cream base. Because the alcohol doesn’t freeze, it is easier to scoop out of the container. Vodka won’t affect the flavor, but you can experiment with other liqueurs that will if desired—have fun!
- I use a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker for this. You have to freeze the work bowl in the freezer overnight (24 hours) before you can make the ice cream, so plan ahead! Alternately, I have heard of people freezing ice cream base into ice cubes and then blending them in a Vitamix. I haven’t tried it this way, but it’s worth a shot. Worst case scenario, drink the ice cream base out of a cup. It’s that delicious!
- Coconut Milk—I like to use one can of Coconut Cream (essentially extra fat coconut milk) and one can of Light Coconut Milk from Trader Joe’s. They are the least inexpensive and they work really well ($1.49 and $.99 respectively). Alternately, use 2 cans of regular full fat coconut milk. Don’t skimp on the fat in this, it’s the key for creamy ice cream. If you go low fat it will taste good, but the ice cream will be hard and icy, and will almost flake out of the container rather than scoop.
Ok, ready for the instructions?
Pour all of the base ingredients except for the coconut bacon into a blender. Blend for a minute to incorporate all ingredients. Chill in the fridge for a few hours to help with the freezing process.
Once chilled, pour the base into your ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions. Mine takes about 20-30 minutes to be soft but frozen. Once frozen, add the bacon and let mix in with the ice cream maker. Alternately, remove the ice cream to a storage container and fold the bacon in by hand.
Allow to set up in the freezer for another 1-2 hours so that it is scoopable and fairly firm. Scoop into bowls and garnish with extra bacon. Store any leftovers in the freezer (obviously!).
1 c dried coconut, large flakes (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 t liquid smoke
1 T maple syrup
1 t soy sauce
1 t water
Mix liquid ingredients together. Toss with the dried coconut. Spread out on a baking pan and toast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes, stirring/turning often to prevent burning. Once toasted and brown, remove from oven. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Makes 1 cup.