Mint is an herb that wears many hats. I love it in sweets like candies and ice cream, but it also adds great flavor to savory soups and sauces. Last night, I made a couple batches of coconut milk-based ice cream to show off the versatility of mint. One is a classic mint chocolate chunk that delivers a strong blast of peppermint flavor. The other is a virgin mojito flavor that marries the tartness of lime zest and subtleness of muddled fresh mint leaves.
1 14-oz can coconut milk (full-fat)
1 1/2 c So Delicious Coconut Unsweetened Beverage
3/4 c agave nectar (or you can make simple syrup for a cheaper alternative)
1/4 c raw coconut oil, melted if necessary
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp guar gum
3 tbsp peppermint flavor
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
Zest of 3 limes
Handful of fresh mint leaves (I used both peppermint and spearmint)
Blend first 7 ingredients until smooth, pour half of mixture into separate container.
For the mint chocolate chip ice cream:
Add peppermint flavor the second container and stir. Chill in refrigerator for a couple hours.
Freeze ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and stir in chocolate chunks. Place in freezer to set for at least 2 hours before serving.
For the mojito ice cream:
Rub mint leaves in your hands for a few seconds to release oils and add to blender mixture with lime zest. Blend until mint leaves are finely chopped. Chill in refrigerator for a couple hours.
Freeze ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and place in freezer to set for at least 2 hours before serving.
3 tbsp tapioca starch (can use arrowroot or cornstarch instead)
1 15 oz can light coconut milk, divided
2 15 oz cans regular coconut milk
2/3 cup light agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 tbsp almond extract
2 cups shelled raw unsalted pistachios
In a small bowl, make a slurry with the starch and 1/4 cup light coconut milk, removing as many lumps as possible. Add all remaining ingredients (except pistachios) to a medium saucepan. Pour starch mixture through a strainer to remove any remaining lumps and add to pot. Simmer over medium-low heat until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Transfer the coconut milk mixture to a large mixing bowl. Cool to room temperature then place bowl in fridge overnight to chill.
In a food processor, grind pistachios to a fine powder. Skim top layer of coconut milk batter with a large spoon and discard. Whisk pistachios into batter and freeze according to your ice cream maker manufacturer instructions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
This is the recipe that I use as a base for many different ice cream flavors. It’s simple and delicious.
Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe
2 15 oz cans coconut milk (you can use regular or light, I use one of each)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2/3 cup light agave nectar
3 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will also work)
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Use a small amount of coconut milk to dissolve arrowroot powder. Add the mixture and all remaining ingredients to a medium sized saucepan and simmer over low heat until it thickens. Pour the custard into a glass bowl and refrigerate until chilled, preferably overnight.
A thin layer of “skin” will form when the custard chills, this can be skimmed off with a spoon. Another trick is to place plastic wrap on the surface of the custard before it cools, but I prefer not to use plastic wrap, especially when it will be in direct contact with hot food.
Freeze the custard according to manufacturers instructions for you particular ice cream maker. The ice cream will be too soft and runny to serve immediately so it should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the freezer for at least a couple hours first.